The effect of H_2S on the corrosion behavior of 316 L stainless steel was investigated using electrochemical methods by changing the gas condition from CO_2 to H_2S and then back to CO_2. The presence of H_2S showed an acceleration effect on the corrosion of 316 L stainless steel in comparison with CO_2. The acceleration effect remained even after the complete removal of H_2S by CO_2, indicating that the passive film was irreversibly damaged. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy(XPS) analysis indicated that the passive film was composed of Cr_2O_3, Fe_2O_3, and FeS_2 after being immersed in H_2S-containing solutions. The semiconducting property of the passive film was then investigated by using the Mott–Schottky approach. The presence of sulfides resulted in higher acceptor and donor densities and thus was responsible for the deterioration of passive films.