"JIP" for HTHA for oil and petrochemical industry making progress

October 9, 2013

A JIP (Joint Industry Project) to improve the understanding of HTHA (High Temperature Hydrogen Attack) for the Oil and Petrochemical Industry has been formed and is progressing on schedule. The kick-off of this important industry project was first announced in the July/August 2012 issue. Under the JIP format, multiple Oil and Chemical Companies have “pooled” their technical and financial resources for many types of investigations such as for safety or environmental improvements without being subject to the anti-trust umbrella. This effort was proposed at the spring 2012 API and NACE meetings. To date, nine major owner-user companies have joined as sponsors.

HTHA is a damage mechanism that adversely affects carbon steel at temperatures above 450°F in hydrogen-containing environments found in certain refining and chemical processes. This degradation has led to catastrophic equipment failures, some involving multiple fatalities such as the incident that occurred in a Pacific Northwest refinery in 2010 when a heat exchanger shell burst open during operation (see photo below from the CSB Anacortes NHT Investigation Report July 21, 2011).

In addition to various materials and corrosion engineering and NDE assessments, the project will involve FFS and RBI methodologies as the work unfolds. The Materials Properties Council (MPC) is also assisting in this project by supplying their historical experience on HTHA.

The HTHA JIP has 5 major parts, one of which includes acquisition of 25 actual samples from HTHA affected piping and equipment from owner-users, both sponsors and non-sponsors of the JIP. These samples were examined using a “round robin” test format by six different international non-destructive testing companies to evaluate the results for detection capability, accuracy, repeatability, and sizing. The examinations were conducted in a proctored setting under superior field type conditions for maximum effectiveness and inspection quality. The results of this work will feed into FFS/RBI protocols and Mechanistic modeling. At the end of the project, a sample “archive” is envisioned where vendors could qualify on actual damage samples for sponsor companies. It is the intention of the JIP to publish and share the results at the completion of the project, but the project scope is 2 years and there may be a 2-3 year window after that before the results are distilled into technical literature.

This project is receiving new samples and sponsors as it progresses. It will provide crucial information and assist the industry in developing inspection/run/replace scenarios for piping and equipment in the future. To find out if your company is a sponsor or for further information, contact Mike Nugent, The Equity Engineering Group (Project Manager), at mjnugent@ or visit

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