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Chapter 8 : Microbial Corrosion in the Oil Industry: A Corrosionist's View

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Abstract:

In view of the scientific and technical challenges as well as the considerable economic stakes (amounting to millions of U.S. dollars), this chapter focuses on the recent developments on the corrosion of steel by sulfidogenic anaerobes. The corrosion layer is an active membrane where a looped interaction between the corrosion electrochemistry and the chemistry and transport of reactants and reaction products may significantly alter the composition of the local electrolyte at the corroding metal surface. A conductive layer is thus a corrosion layer containing a continuous network of an inert electronic conductor galvanically coupled to the metallic substratum. In the case of FeS and microbial corrosion, this merely electric effect is not thought to be decisive, since (i) all iron sulfides are more or less conductive and (ii) the most conductive one, pyrite, is also commonly associated with the best level of protectiveness, whereas corrosive layers usually contain mackinawite (formerly kansite), which is one of the less conductive sulfides. The mechanism of pitting corrosion has been widely documented for stainless steels in chloride media or other passive metals like Al or Ti alloys. However, since the protectiveness of corrosion layers is sensitive to an applied polarization, an equivalent process also exists for carbon and low-alloyed steels. A widespread ecological niche also includes all the low-temperature oil reservoirs where indigenous bacteria have survived, possibly since the original deposition of the biomass. Sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) thrive in many deaerated and sulfate-bearing environments, and in a latent state under aerated conditions.

Citation: Crolet J. 2005. Microbial Corrosion in the Oil Industry: A Corrosionist's View, p 143-170. In Ollivier B, Magot M (ed), Petroleum Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817589.ch8

Key Concept Ranking

Hydrogen Sulfide
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Chemicals
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Bacterial Growth
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Scanning Electron Microscopy
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Figures

Image of FIGURE 1
FIGURE 1

Physical structure of metals and aqueous solutions and illustration of anodic and cathodic reactions. (a) Transfer of metallic cations; (b) transfer of electrons.

Citation: Crolet J. 2005. Microbial Corrosion in the Oil Industry: A Corrosionist's View, p 143-170. In Ollivier B, Magot M (ed), Petroleum Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817589.ch8
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Image of FIGURE 2
FIGURE 2

Distribution of electric charge ρ (a) and electric potential U (b) across the metal-solution interface.

Citation: Crolet J. 2005. Microbial Corrosion in the Oil Industry: A Corrosionist's View, p 143-170. In Ollivier B, Magot M (ed), Petroleum Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817589.ch8
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Image of FIGURE 3
FIGURE 3

(a) Individual polarization curves; (b) notion of oxidizing power.

Citation: Crolet J. 2005. Microbial Corrosion in the Oil Industry: A Corrosionist's View, p 143-170. In Ollivier B, Magot M (ed), Petroleum Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817589.ch8
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Image of FIGURE 4
FIGURE 4

Experimental polarization curves for activation polarization (black curves) or diffusion polarization (grey curves) at OCP.

Citation: Crolet J. 2005. Microbial Corrosion in the Oil Industry: A Corrosionist's View, p 143-170. In Ollivier B, Magot M (ed), Petroleum Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817589.ch8
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Image of FIGURE 5
FIGURE 5

Sketch of the three families of corrosion layers: soluble (a), IC (b), and IA (c). In panel a, arrows indicate that corrosion products are transported mainly in the solid state. The dotted arrow in panel c indicates the precipitatable anion HS.

Citation: Crolet J. 2005. Microbial Corrosion in the Oil Industry: A Corrosionist's View, p 143-170. In Ollivier B, Magot M (ed), Petroleum Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817589.ch8
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Image of FIGURE 6
FIGURE 6

Pitting mechanism on carbon and low-alloy steels by a self-amplified protectiveness contrast between anodic and cathodic areas (a), with, respectively, an increase of the Fe and HS release on anodic (b) and cathodic (c) areas (as an example of a cathodic reaction fed by HS only).

Citation: Crolet J. 2005. Microbial Corrosion in the Oil Industry: A Corrosionist's View, p 143-170. In Ollivier B, Magot M (ed), Petroleum Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817589.ch8
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Image of FIGURE 7
FIGURE 7

Field morphologies of pits (a) and pit nucleation (b).

Citation: Crolet J. 2005. Microbial Corrosion in the Oil Industry: A Corrosionist's View, p 143-170. In Ollivier B, Magot M (ed), Petroleum Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817589.ch8
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Image of FIGURE 8
FIGURE 8

Illustration of the full sequence of pit initiation (A), pit nucleation (B), and final pit growth (C). The shadowing geometry is very similar on convex and concave surfaces, which may give an initial false impression of protruding hemispheres instead of hemispherical pits.

Citation: Crolet J. 2005. Microbial Corrosion in the Oil Industry: A Corrosionist's View, p 143-170. In Ollivier B, Magot M (ed), Petroleum Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817589.ch8
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Image of FIGURE 9
FIGURE 9

Electrochemical models of pit nuclei using coplanar (a) and face-to-face (b) electrodes.

Citation: Crolet J. 2005. Microbial Corrosion in the Oil Industry: A Corrosionist's View, p 143-170. In Ollivier B, Magot M (ed), Petroleum Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817589.ch8
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Tables

Generic image for table
TABLE 1

Relevant orders of magnitude for steel corrosion in various units

Citation: Crolet J. 2005. Microbial Corrosion in the Oil Industry: A Corrosionist's View, p 143-170. In Ollivier B, Magot M (ed), Petroleum Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817589.ch8

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