Ethylene Cracked Gas Compressor Drum Corrosion Mitigation

Cracked Gas Compressor Drum Corrosion

A Middle East petrochemical plant with an ethylene production capacity of 1 million tpy approached Integrated Global Services (IGS) with the challenge of mitigating cracked gas compressor drums corrosion. The reliability group had indicated pitting corrosion and the issue needed to be addressed.

Cracked Gas Compressor Drum Pitting Corrosion

The Solution: High Velocity Thermal Spray

IGS recommended upgrading the compressor suction drum’s (stage #1 and stage #3) shell metallurgy with IGS’s high nobility alloy High Velocity Thermal Spray (HVTS) cladding to mitigate corrosion and prevent further pressure vessel internal deterioration efficiently. Further inspection results showed perfect performance after four years of operation.

Sour Environment Corrosion Protection

Sour environment corrosion propagates fast once it starts. When it comes to ethylene plants, the cracked gas compressor stage corrosion process is accelerated by high pressure. Typically, corrosion starts at the seam welding and spreads out to the shell body.
Modern ethylene facilities set a goal to operate 4-6 years between major maintenance shutdowns. Once pitting corrosion is defined, an instant response is required to mitigate the risks of an unexpected outage.

Pitting corrosion (2mm deep) was observed on longitudinal seam welds.
Pitting corrosion (2mm deep) was observed on 1.5”- L3-Nozzle

On-Site Alloy Upgrade for the Cracked Gas Compressor Drum

The scope included four pressurized compressor drums with a 250m2 area of alloy upgrade. IGS protected all drums in parallel to minimize the turnaround critical path.

IGS HVTS Solution Benefits

HVTS cladding doesn’t require any further treatment (PWHT, curing etc.) before equipment startup, and is ready-to-go straight after installation. It enables a fast and efficient response for the most challenging corrosion circumstances.

HVTS solutions have a vast proven performance list in sour environment application for energy and petrochemical industries. HVTS alloys stay efficient under high temperatures.

Expected Lifetime of HVTS Cladding

Sour environment corrosion mitigation using HVTS is an efficient way to completely stop corrosion and prevent further corrosion propagation.

After four years of operation, inspection results showed this solution to be intact across the whole scope area.
HVTS cladding has proven to be a long-term corrosion mitigation solution for high-pressure sour environments.

How can IGS’ HVTS Services deliver value?


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JanAlbert Schutte

IGS Subject Matter Expert


Thermal spray