Failure Analysis of a Gas Cooler System


Confidential (An Offshore Service Provider).


South East Asia.


Premature failure of several gas compressor coolers resulted in production loss. The client, an offshore service provider, required urgent support to minimise production disruption and to prepare a strategy for loss recovery. Oil & Gas Corrosion expertise in seawater systems helped the offshore service provider to resume production.


An offshore service provider operating an FPSO identified a series of failures in production critical gas compressor coolers. The coolers were tube and shell heat exchangers using seawater as cooling medium. The failures were premature and extensive requiring immediate replacement. An assessment of the damage mechanisms was urgently required to determine suitable materials of construction followed up by a full failure analysis. The outcome of the failure analysis would have financial implications for all parties given that a loss recovery strategy was to be developed.

How Our Expertise Helped The Client

Oil & Gas Corrosion carried out an in-depth review of operation data as well as design and fabrication records in order to confirm that the materials selection for the heat exchanger was adequate and replacement would be of the same materials of construction.

The Oil & Gas Corrosion team carried out a failure analysis, instructing third party offshore inspectors to retrieve failed material. Oil & Gas Corrosion prepared a forensic analysis scope of work and managed a Singapore based laboratory for the metallographic analysis.

Oil & Gas Corrosion has a wealth of knowledge and experience in topside seawater systems including materials selection, chemical treatment and integrity management. The team, led by Ivan Gutierrez, identified that during fabrication of the original heat exchangers, a series of practices resulted an increased risk of pitting and crevice corrosion. This assertion was backed up with evidence found by the laboratory. An updated specification for welding and fabrication was prepared for the replacement heat exchangers. No failures have been reported in the replacement gas compressor coolers.

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