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Hot hydrogen attack (HHA) is a form of degradation caused by carbides reacting in steel, thereby forming methane (CH4). The probability of HHA damage in industrial plants is dependent on its partial hydrogen pressure and operating temperature. In the worst cases, HHA may lead to damages which can have catastrophic results for people and the environment. Since even a minor failure could cause unacceptable downtime and a substantial loss of money, conducting regular hot hydrogen attack inspections is indispensable for detecting failures and discontinuities at the earliest stage possible.

In order to assess the condition of the piping and heat exchanger in the refinery in Batangas, Philipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation looked for a reliable inspection, verification and testing company.

On October 21, 2011, SGS was awarded a contract, scheduled from October 24-28, 2011, to provide a comprehensive hot hydrogen attack (HHA) inspection due to its first-rate experience and competence in projects of this kind.

Throughout the hot hydrogen attack inspection, SGS’s team of highly skilled experts inspected the piping and heat exchanger for the possible occurrence of hot hydrogen attack by applying advanced non-destructive testing (NDT) techniques.

Drawing on its extensive expertise, SGS used a combination of various inspection methods to ensure the highest probability of detection of HHA. In order to inspect the parent material of the piping and heat exchanger, SGS’s experts utilized manual backscatter and velocity ratio techniques.

Furthermore, SGS inspected the weld for cracks by means of manual ultrasonic testing (UT). In case of any indication of HHA cracking, SGS carried out time of flight diffraction (TOFD) and manual pulse echo on welds for verification. Tofd inspections were conducted in combination with a high-frequency shear wave to improve the reliability of the weld inspection.

With SGS’s assistance, hot hydrogen attack was detected and further analyses utilizing time of flight diffraction were performed to the full satisfaction of the client.

About SGS

As the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company, SGS has accreditations to all major standards and is recognized as a leading global benchmark in the field of inspection, verification, certification and testing. With an experienced and qualified staff, SGS operates an extensive network of offices and laboratories in various fields, which offer a wide range of product certification services.

For further information, please contact:

Julian M. Bernardo
Business Manager

SGS Philippines, Inc.
2nd Floor Alegria Building,
2229 Chino Roces Ave.,
Makati City, PO Box 2174,

t: +63 2 817-5656
f: +63 2 818-2971
Email SGS

SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 67,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 1,250 offices and laboratories around the world.