The occurrence of localized corrosion in carbon steel pipelines, even when the uniform corrosion rate remains low, is a major concern in the hydrocarbon production and transmission industry. The propagation of these pits, caused by the galvanic coupling between the inhibited surface and the active pit, can lead to serious consequences such as financial loss, environmental damage, production interruption, and even loss of life. To better understand this phenomenon, this work focuses on using the potentiostatic technique to evaluate the tendency of localized corrosion propagation. The experiments were conducted using a primarily imidazolinium-based corrosion inhibitor in produced water conditions (5 wt% NaCl, pH 4.5, CO2-saturated) at 55°C and 80°C. The baseline results were obtained through linear polarization resistance and potentiodynamic polarization tests. The potentiostatic experiments were then conducted to artificially simulate different levels of galvanic coupling that could exist in case of active localized corrosion. The results showed that, at certain anodic potentials, increased inhibitor dosage was necessary to significantly decrease the current. However, at high current levels, further injections were insufficient, indicating that substrate dissolution may affect the adsorption of the inhibitor. This work provides insights into the role of inhibitors and important factors in stopping the propagation of localized corrosion of carbon steel. Further research, such as designing a proper zero-resistance ammeter setup, will be necessary to fully understand this complex phenomenon. The results show that the potentiostatic methodology can be a rapid and easy alternative to obtain electrochemical information and improve understanding of localized corrosion propagation.

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