To establish flaw acceptance criteria for carbon steel pipeline girth welds that are intended to transport sour crude, wet sour gas and condensate it is important to assess the effect of operating environment and strain levels by performing the fracture toughness/ resistance testing as per DNV-OS-F101: 2013 in a representative simulated service environment or under more severe test conditions. None the less many oil and gas field operators still believe that using workmanship criteria and radiographic inspection will be adequate to ensure a safe future operation of the pipeline meeting the design life requirements under sour or severely sour operating environments. Unfortunately, experience shows that this is a dangerous practice as radiography tends to miss out in detecting the most severe planar defects such a lack of fusion, hydrogen induced cracking and weld root centerline cracks, this is specifically so for narrow J-bevel welds. Hence, DNV GL based on experience from many projects advocates inspection of all sour service pipelines using inspection methods such as AUT with a high probability of detection for planar flaws. Further, the AUT acceptance criteria shall be chosen appropriately with due considerations as workmanship type of acceptance criteria without proper verification may result in non-conservatism in the pipeline girth weld inspection and weld sentencing. This present paper presents some recent project experiences from typical sour service subsea pipeline projects and provide advices representing what is considered current best practice for testing and qualification of AUT systems for sour service projects.

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