Corrosion Control MS: Proactive Control, Inspection Input, Planning, and Water/Chemical Treatment

By John Reynolds, Principal Consultant at Intertek. July 1, 2013

Last week, I covered how CM&C fits into a broader Pressure Equipment Integrity & Reliability (PEI&R) Management System (MS). Building on my introduction from last week’s blog, I want to lay out the elements associated with Corrosion Management and Control (CM&C) over the next few weeks. As I have said previously, this information is based off a series of articles I did on PEI&R MS, which you can reference here. I will emphasize the systems, work processes and procedures for identifying and controlling the rate and types of deterioration in pressure equipment. These are not in any particular order, as they are meant to operate interdependently.

#1 Proactive Corrosion Control

First of all the C/M engineer/specialist must have sufficient time in their work schedules, not only to respond reactively to all the C/M issues that arise from time-to-time at an operating site, but also to proactively determine what issues might become a problem and to be able to prevent or minimize them before they lead to breaches of containment. Those operating sites where the C/M engineer/specialist does not have time for proactive CM&C activities will likely have more incidents caused by breaches of containment than those operating sites that have the benefit of proactive corrosion control.

#2 Input to Inspection and Maintenance Plans

Corrosion Control Documents and Corrosion Mitigation. One of the more important proactive CM&C activities is the creation and implementation of what I call Corrosion Control Documents (CCDs) or Manuals (CCMs). These CCDs basically outline all the potential and historic corrosion and damage issues in each process unit. CCDs provide guidance to inspectors, process engineers and other users on corrosion control mitigation and monitoring strategies needed to avoid accelerated corrosion and/or breaches of containment from any and all potential deterioration mechanisms.

The information contained in these manuals is a vital input to RBI, IOW’s, PHA’s, and most every other activity. When CCDs are thorough and complete, they become the corrosion control “encyclopedia” for each process unit. When the C/M engineer/specialist gets involved in a deterioration/damage issue reactively and the corrosion control strategy devised for corrective action may have general application in the future, that specific corrosion control strategy should be genericized and entered into the CCDs for future applications.

#3 Inspection and Maintenance Planning

Another important aspect of the C/M engineer/specialist in the plant is input to inspection and maintenance plans. This requires a close working relationship with inspectors and inspection engineers. Since the C/M engineer/specialist typically knows the most about what kind of corrosion/damage mechanisms to expect and where they would be expected to occur, it’s vital that he/she be involved in establishing condition monitoring locations (CML) and recommending ways to monitor for each damage mechanism, i.e. input to inspection strategies for pressure vessels and piping. Additionally, when inspection reveals some type of damage that may be a bit different or a bit more than expected, requiring unscheduled repairs or replacement, the C/M engineer/specialist needs to be involved to make recommendations on cost effective repair/replacement strategies and future mitigation.

#4 Water and Chemical Treatment

Some site managements are fooled into thinking that their chemical treatment vendor is all they need for corrosion control. Nothing could be further from the truth unless that site is one of the very few remaining small operating sites that still has a long established steady sweet crude diet (an almost extinct beast). As important as these chemical treatment services are, they are but one small aspect of the entire CM&C MS, but I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir. I believe the C/M engineer/specialist needs to have a clearly defined role of working with and over- viewing the activities and results of the water and chemical treatment vendors. After all, they are primarily in business to sell chemicals and chemical treatment services, and if a knowledgeable C/M engineer/specialist is not over viewing their services, the program can get costly and inefficient, let alone ineffective.

Next week’s post will cover the next four elements of Corrosion Control Management Systems.

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