Materials and corrosion trends in offshore and subsea oil and gas production
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The ever-growing energy demand requires the exploration and the safe, profitable exploitation of unconventional reserves. The extreme environments of some of these unique prospects challenge the boundaries of traditional engineering alloys, as well as our understanding of the underlying degradation mechanisms that could lead to a failure. Despite their complexity, high-pressure and high-temperature, deep and ultra-deep, pre-salt, and Arctic reservoirs represent the most important source of innovation regarding materials technology, design methodologies, and corrosion control strategies. This paper provides an overview of trends in materials and corrosion research and development, with focus on subsea production but applicable to the entire industry. Emphasis is given to environmentally assisted cracking of high strength alloys and advanced characterization techniques based on in situ electrochemical nanoindentation and cantilever bending testing for the study of microstructure-environment interactions.