The initial release was from a pipe rupture 10” long by 7” wide on the bottom of the 10&' diameter (60oF - 475 psig) main process line. The cause of the failure was long-term localized external corrosion at a pipe support contact area. A loose steel quarter-sleeve was found under the pipe at the support location, with the dimensions of the sleeve being almost identical to the size of the localized thin area. This sleeve trapped moisture creating crevice corrosion between the sleeve and outside of the pipe. This sleeve also obscured the corrosion such that visual pipe inspections failed to detect the degradation. There was essentially no corrosion or thinning of the line outside of this sleeve crevice area during the 48-year service life.
The investigation identified the physical causes of the failure as well as design, inspection, maintenance, and operational work practice areas for improvement to prevent a similar failure in the future.
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