Certain oilfield polymers exposed to fluids containing hydrogen sulfide (H2S) will age chemically, with the rate of deterioration determined by H2S concentration and temperature. The resulting irreversible alteration in material property levels can have significant detrimental consequences for the functional performance of the part in an application (e.g., a seal). Element’s dedicated sour service teams can evaluate the performance of elastomers, thermoplastics and composites in sour fluids in accordance with standards such as NORSOK (M-710), ISO (23936, 10423), API (6A, 16C) and NACE (TM0187, TM0296).

Element has more than 25 years of experience of delivering testing solutions for polymeric materials used in a huge range of Oil & Gas sector upstream and downstream applications. 

H2S is a toxic gas present in many fields throughout the world, sometimes at very high levels. Seals and other polymeric components must be specified and qualified appropriately to established international standards. In addition, Element can offer significant experience in designing and executing custom sour fluid exposure programs to meet demanding client requirements for both material evaluation/qualification, and functional testing.

Our Engaged Experts can evaluate non-metallic materials used in your offshore, renewable, and oil & gas applications. Our staff have contributed to both ISO and NORSOK standards development and are members of the relevant ISO Working Group committee. Element has run two internationally supported JIPs in the area of oilfield polymers: SOUR and SOUR2.

Our sour fluid exposure capabilities

 – World-class scale sour fluid exposure facilities in the UK and the US.

 – Routine exposure to 340 bar and 250 °C with mixtures containing up to 30% H2S.

 – Exposure temperatures to 320 °C in special vessels.

 – Customer-specific services; consultancy, material and functional testing programs.

 – Rapid Gas Decompression (RGD) tests with sour gas mixtures.

Our experts can work with you to advise on the most suitable testing methods for your materials, develop and review test protocols, build custom R&D programs, and evaluate components and systems to meet your project requirements.


For more information about our sour service capabilities, or to request a quote, contact us today.
In this Fracture and Fatigue video we explain how, through exposure, we analyze engineering components to determine their structural integrity.

Material qualification tests involving sour fluids are described in the following standards:

 – ISO 23936-1: Thermoplastics

 – ISO 23936-2: Elastomers

 – NORSOK M-710: Elastomers and Thermoplastics

Fixture and immersion test to class DD/EE and FF/HH including:

 – The high pressure, 1-week sour portion of the fixture test is performed in a dedicated sealed area with a fast extraction system. This ensures that (i) no personnel are near the vessel and (ii) any H2S is safely contained and neutralized.

 – The sub-ambient portion of the fixture test is performed in a large dedicated chiller unit.

Evaluating Elastomer Materials in Sour Gas Environments as per NACE TM0187.

Our team of over 9,000 Engaged Experts in North America, Europe, The Middle East, Australia, Asia and Africa are ready to help you.