Oil and Gas Metallurgy and Corrosion Expert

Technical Consultant #2146


Expertise

  • Over forty-three years corrosion control and metallurgical engineering experience in the upstream and downstream petroleum industry.
  • Corrosion control risk-based inspection, and failure analysis.
  • Critical thinking in resolving component failures and selecting materials for new projects in fluid services that are highly corrosive and/or cause environmental cracking.
  • Refinery water treating
  • Educator: Upstream Processes and Engineering.

Experience

Independent Consultant, (M&C), Senior Technical Consultant and Technical Advisor, 1994 - 2012

Upstream Projects: Exxon Mobile, BP, Shell and Chevron

  • Control programs for fixed equipment integrity and corrosion of global upstream operations in thirteen countries that employ over 100 corrosion engineers. Involved with every major incident investigation.
  • Prevent unscheduled shutdowns in several instances, for a sour gas treating facility in CA that was experiencing wet H2S cracking in a dehydration tower.
  • Resolved through; coordinating and interpreting crack inspections using UT-shear wave, directing the fitness for service assessments of these cracks in hydrogen-saturated steel, and requiring repeated on-stream inspections, we were able to avoid shutdown until a new stainless steel clad tower was ordered, fabricated and brought on-site.
  • Critical decisions implemented to continue operation, on-stream repairs or shut down of damaged equipment, utilizing extensive knowledge of damage mechanisms, operations risk assessments, safety, integrity, and profitability.
  • Operating and on-stream inspection of three heavy-wall, high pressure, low alloy steel amine absorber towers in Germany that contained wet H2S cracks until towers could be repaired or replaced, avoiding months of shutdown and lost production.
  • Enabled continued operation of a buried pipeline transporting dehydrated sour gas.
  • Regulatory authority recognized defects found were original manufacturing defects, not in-service stress corrosion cracks, as they claimed, and were dormant, not growing. Inspection and repair of a stainless steel quench tower that experienced external chloride stress corrosion cracking.
  • Report outs of significant safety incidents and concerns to President and VP level management, with rectification plans and schedules.
  • Recognized authority on corrosion control, risk-based inspection, failure analysis. Developed the risk-based inspection
  • (RBI) plans for onshore and offshore operations in Norway, Chad, US California, and Russia, and several new projects prior to start-up. Reduced inspection costs by $10 million annually in a large Middle East LNG operation by maximizing external crack detection inspection in wet H2S service rather than the partner's practice of repeated shutdowns for internal inspection.
  • Resolve component failures and select materials for new projects in fluid services that are highly corrosive and/or cause environmental cracking.
  • Extensive involvement with BP Exploration Alaska (BPXA) on pipeline corrosion failures in determining the cause of leakage (MIC), improving the corrosion control program, improving the inspection and pigging programs, developing a probability model to prioritize pipelines for inspection, and supporting BP's reporting to DOJ, DOT, and ADEC on the incident.
  • Stewardship of six years for BPXA's mechanical integrity program.
  • Worked with Chevron to select and specify materials for a unique, severe sour gas injection facility at the TenghizChevroil operation in Kazakhstan.
  • Project-specific qualification of heavy wall sour gas injection pipeline, rotor for the HP gas injection compressor, and qualifying casing and tubing for the sour gas injection wells.
  • For Shell; materials specification for water injection pipeline for Ursa Princess subsea project, and in remedying several failures of duplex stainless steel piping and pressure vessels on the Shearwater platform caused by internal and external chloride stress corrosion cracking.
  • Contributed to remediation of repeated flare tips failures occurring at this platform.
  • For RasGas; Qatar, identified causes of significant problems in heat exchangers in recirculating, closed cooling water system, which were leading to LNG train shutdowns.
  • Classified need for increased nitrite inhibitor concentration, more accurate testing for nitrifying bacteria, and the need for online surveillance of air-intrusion into the cooling system.
  • Assessed causes of extensive internal pipeline corrosion in Nigeria EDOP to QIT full wellstream oil pipeline (CO2) corrosion and MIC), and the Mobile Bay produced liquids pipeline (H2S) corrosion accelerated by under-deposit corrosion from iron sulfide). Pipeline failures led to extended shutdowns and lost production. Mitigation included changes to maintenance pigging cleaning frequency, qualifying improved corrosion inhibitors, and biocides, as well as repair clamping and section replacement.
  • Assessed the cause of $300 million failure to subsea flexible pipe. The inner layer of tensile wires experienced sulfide stress cracking as a result of H2S build-up caused by reservoir souring. The replacement flexible pipe was qualified for sour service.
  • Assessed the corrosion control and surveillance plans of several ExxonMobil-operated facilities against the Production Co.'s internal Facilities Integrity Management System.
  • During these assessments, vulnerabilities to corrosion under insulation (CUI) and other degradation mechanisms were identified and risk-assessed, thereby mitigating potential failures in higher risk equipment.
  • Lead M&C engineer for the Balder FPSO Project in Norwegian North Sea, responsible for assessing and repairing marine piping welding quality problems, hull plate toughness concerns (low Crack Tip Opening ~Displacement values), marine thruster failure, and coatings-related problems. These problems were a result of only using industry standards for construction.
  • Developed RBI plans for topsides fixed equipment.
  • Mentor staff in three upstream EM companies and help with career planning and development of early and mid-career engineers.

Downstream Projects, TAP - Trans-Alaska Pipeline

  • Developed a solution to reduced functionality of heat pipes used in the vertical support members of the Alyeska's ammonia-containing heat pipes to support the aboveground sections of the TAP and prevent frost heave.
  • Reduced functionality was assessed to be caused by the build-up of non-condensable hydrogen gas from an internal corrosion reaction, which prevented ammonia from reaching the condensing section of the heat pipes.
  • Tested several types of devices in a lab, in small scale heat pipes, and eventually in the TAP itself. Devices included hydrogen getters such as zirconium manganese.
  • Palladium-silver diffusion membranes were also evaluated. The idea was to tap into the heat pipe without losing ammonia, add a device without requiring welding in the remote field locations, adsorb or diffuse hydrogen out of the heat pipe without adversely affecting the ammonia refrigerant.
  • Developed expertise in boiler water and open, recirculating cooling water systems.
  • Water treating of 17 refineries in Europe.
  • Developed uniform approaches to water treatment, avoiding shutdown during major upset conditions.
  • Emergencies included: On-stream restoration of heat transfer in coolers caused by scaling resulting from using an unapproved all-organic treatment program. Prior to chemical plant shutdown, to water blast heat exchanger bundles, and in another emergency included restoring heat transfer loss resulting from an oil leak into the cooling water system.
  • On-stream treatment using surfactants, phosphate and blow down avoided the need to shut down.
  • Conducted failure investigations of HP boiler tubes which led to recommendations to improve boiler water chemistry and treatment.

EXXON, 1969 - 2012

  • Senior Technical Consultant, 2004 - 2012
  • Technical Advisor, 1994 - 2004
  • Senior Engineering Associate, 1986 - 1994
  • Engineering Associate, U.S. and England, 1969 - 1981

Honors & Publications

Credentials

  • Registered (NJ, PA, CA) Engineer specializing in corrosion control risk-based inspection and failure analysis for upstream oil and gas operations.

Awards

  • Awarded Outstanding Instructor - five times

Publications and Patents

  • Author of several publications
  • Holds US patent for in-field corrosion mechanism that improved heat pipe functionality

Education

  • M.S. Metallurgical Engineering, Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, NJ
  • B.S. Metallurgical Engineering, (magna cum laude), Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, NY
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