API Steel Grade Category and Color

API-5CT NUE Tubing
API-5CT NUE Tubing

API standardized several grades of steel that have different chemical content, manufacture processes, and heat treatments and, therefore, different mechanical properties. API organized these tubing grades into three groups.

Group 1 is for all tubing in grades H40, J55, and N80. Group 2 is for restricted-yield tubing grades L80, C90, and T95. Group 3 is for high-strength tubing in seamless grade P110. The API grade letter designation was selected arbitrarily to provide a unique name for various steels.

Numbers in the grade designation indicate the minimum yield strength of the steel in thousand psi. API defines the yield strength as the tensile stress required to produce a specific total elongation per unit length on a standard test specimen. The following guidelines apply to the use of API tubing grades.

  • H40—Although an API grade, H40 is generally not used in tubing sizes because the yield strength is relatively low and the cost saving over J55 is minimal. Suppliers do not commonly stock this grade.
  • J55—A commonly used grade for most wells when it meets the design criteria. Some operators recommend it be full-length normalized or normalized and tempered after upsetting when used in carbon dioxide or sour service (ring-worm corrosion problems); however, such heat treatments increase costs. J55 has been the "standard" grade for tubing in most relatively shallow (< 9,000 ft) and low-pressure (< 4,000 psi) wells on land.
  • C75—No longer an official API grade and generally not available. It was developed as a higher-strength material for sour service but was replaced by L80 tubing.
  • N80—A relatively old grade with essentially open chemical requirements. It is susceptible to H2S-induced SSC (acronym). It is acceptable for sweet oil and gas wells when it meets design conditions. The quenched-and-tempered heat treatment is preferred. The N80 grade is normally less expensive than L80 grades.
  • L80—A restricted yield-tubing grade that is available in Type 1, 9 Cr, or 13 Cr. Type 1 is less expensive than 9 Cr and 13 Cr but more subject to weight-loss corrosion. L80 Type 1 is used commonly in many oil and gas fields because of higher strength than J55. L80 is satisfactory for SSC resistance in all conditions but may incur weight-loss corrosion. Though popular in the past for CO2- and mild H2S-contaminated wells, Type 9 Cr largely has been replaced by Type 13 Cr. L80 13 Cr tubing has gained popularity because it has good CO2 -induced weight-loss corrosion resistance properties; however, it is more costly. Type 13 Cr may not be suitable in sour service environments. Typically, the H2S partial pressure should be less than 1.5 psi for safe use of L80 Type 13 Cr. The user should consult National Assn. of Corrosion Engineers (NACE) MR-01-75.[5]
  • C90—A relatively new API grade with two different chemical requirements: Type 1 and Type 2. Only Type 1 is recommended for use in sour service. Typically, this grade must be special ordered; its use has been generally supplanted by T95.
  • T95—A high-strength tubular grade that has different chemical requirements: Type 1 and Type 2. Only Type 1 is recommended for sour service. T95 is SSC resistant but not weight-loss resistant.
  • P110—The old P105 tubing grade, which allowed a normalized and tempered heat treatment, was discontinued, and the casing P110 grade, which is restricted to quench-and-tempered heat treatment, was adopted. This high-strength tubing typically is used in deep sweet oil and gas wells with high pressures. This grade is sensitive to SSC failures unless the temperatures are relatively high (> 175°F). The P110 grade is slightly more expensive than L80 Type 1 but usually less expensive than the C90 and T95 API restricted-yield grades.
  • Q125—Although not a specific API tubing grade, users can order Q125 API tubing. Type 1 chemistry is preferred.

Oilfield Steel Grade Color Marking

GRADE 5CT SPECIFICATION COLOR SPECIFICATION
H-40 GROUP ONE UNPAINTED OR BLACK
J-55, K-55 GROUP ONE GREEN
N-80 GROUP ONE RED
L-80 GROUP TWO RED WITH BROWN BAND
C-90 GROUP TWO PURPLE
C-95 GROUP TWO BROWN
P110 GROUP THREE WHITE
Q-125 GROUP FOUR ORANGE

 

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