ExxonMobil requires experimental verification of fatigue performance of fracture-critical risers designed for sour environments. Interaction between the sour environment and cracks in welded risers affects the crack-growth rate and, thus, the fatigue performance of the risers. Therefore, when conducting tests on riser welds in a sour environment, the frequency at which cyclicloads are applied during testing is critical to properly capturing the physio-chemical reactions and diffusion processes at the crack tip. Unfortunately, the load frequencies required to properly capture these effects are much lower than those currently used in cost-effective, resonant fatigue testing in air. Depending on the material, sour environment composition, and loading regime, testing at too high a frequency can eliminate the potential deleterious effects of the environment acting on the riser. Yet, testing at too low a frequency may not be practical. In order to determine the most efficient but technically valid load frequency to be used in a fatigue qualification testing program, a novel experimental screening methodology has been devised and implemented. In this paper, the proposed methodology is discussed and the results of a pilot test program conducted with C-Mn steel in a mildly sour environment are presented. For the particular sour brine, C-Mn steel and loading regime, it was found that the loading frequency could be increased up to about 1Hz, thereby making the fatigue verification tests more practical and cost-effective than the 1/3Hz currently used.

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