Pressure Cut Well Head Flange
(Connection Seal Failure)
An undetected leak in a well head flange connection
can lead to complete loss of pressure
control. Even a very small leak between flanges can grow into a great
disaster during well operations.
A flange joint that leaks on test will become a failed
joint if it is sent to the field without correction. A leaking joint
does not mean a leaking gasket, as the joint consists of the gasket, two
flanges and a set of bolts. The gasket condition, the flange sealing
groove condition, the bolt and nut condition along with lubrication, the
cleanliness of all the parts mentioned, and finally the correct tension
in the tightened bolts will determine the success of the flange
connection, over time, in the field.
sealed connections, every precaution should be taken to assure that the
ring grooves are clean and free of damage and corrosion, and
gaskets are new and undamaged.
Every made-up connection should be tightened in
compliance with API specifications and tested before use. Special care
should be taken to observe any leak. Any leak must be stopped by
retightening or if necessary, by complete disassembly, making necessary
corrections, and reassembly of that connection, followed by a successful
The photograph below illustrates the destructive power
of high pressure fluid flowing against steel. A small leak will grow as
the steel washes away,
allowing uncontrolled release of the pressurized fluid.
Pressure Cut Flange Face
Flange face erosion due to leak in ring
groove seal area during fracturing operations.
The links below will provide information as to how flange connections
work, and how to select ring gaskets and appraise ring groove condition in the field.
These linked pages will have additional links to more detailed