Reflecting on Asset Integrity Management in 2013 and Looking Forward to 2014

By Greg Alvarado, Chief Editor at Inspectioneering. January 27, 2014

I remember an analogy given at a time management course presented by Stephen Covey (the author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and Principle Centered Leadership) of someone building an excellent ladder.  The problem was that this huge elaborate ladder was installed on the wrong building.  2013 was a year of introspection and progress for the process industries, largely motivated by recent (within the last 10 years) equipment failures and their consequences, some highly publicized.  Obviously the process industries (and regulators) are still struggling to respond to regulatory and legal actions from those events.  Sometimes looking inside and being honest with ourselves is not an easy task. There has been progress though! For example, the global industry has produced or improved upon effective technologies like risk-based inspection (RBI), fitness for service (FFS), integrated data management systems, and integrity operating windows (IOWs), and operators are implementing them in their plants around the world.

Are Our Ladders Leaning Against the Right Buildings?

Certainly, providing fact- and experiential-based information about new technologies and how to effectively implement, sustain and obtain value from them in your work environments is a high priority for Inspectioneering.  Current challenges include sustainability of effective safety, reliability, and risk-based programs built around these relatively young best practices.  We consider it our responsibility to help readers understand how to get the most value from new best practices, in whatever form they exist. Success and failures are almost always based on interdependencies.  We help readers understand these interdependencies in light of information and practices, most often within the frame of actual case histories.  This is done to help readers "wrap their brains around" (understand) how to best implement and derive value from technology and practices, whether an integrated software platform, a fitness for service practice, RBI technology, etc., so that your ladders are leaning against the right buildings at the end of the day, with minimum wasted effort or finances.

In 2013 we kept readers up to date on the creation of new industry practices.  Watch out for the release of new recommended practices in 2014, covering important areas like corrosion under insulation, creation of integrity operating windows, and pressure equipment incident reporting.  Just as any good asset integrity management program is interdependent and varied, we brought articles on topics covering the gamut, from auto-refrigeration of pressure equipment to inspection of small bore piping, to regulatory issues, to RBI, AIM, KPIs, to non-intrusive inspection of tanks, to fitness for service, to failure analysis, to common legal issues affecting refineries as related to pressure equipment integrity management, just to name a few.

Asset Integrity Management Benchmarking

In 2013, in order to increase our understanding of industry direction and value achieved from inspection program related practices, we launched the Inspectioneering Facilities Asset Integrity Management Benchmarking Survey. This was an extensive undertaking for both the IJ and participants, covering topics such as:

  • Facility and Corporate Resources, including manpower versus equipment counts for staffing
  • Inspector Certifications, Training, Experience, and Qualifications
  • Documentation, Databases, Digital Platforms, and Record Keeping
  • Turnarounds, Shutdowns, and Unplanned Outages
  • Risk Based Inspection (RBI)
  • Fitness for Service (FFS)
  • Corrosion/Materials/Metallurgical Engineering
  • NDE/NDT Practices and Confidence
  • NDE Operator Qualification Demonstration Testing
  • Fixed Equipment Reliability Inspection Practices/Applications
  • Issues and Challenges
  • On-Stream Inspection (OSI) Program
  • Plant Inspection Program Metrics/KPIs
  • Pressure Relieving Devices (PRD)

FYI - It is not too late to participate in the Survey.  Preliminary results were provided to participants in December 2013; however, due to a late flurry of additional responses, the deadline has been extended into 2014.  We appreciate the feedback and participation from our participants and the extra effort put forth by several individuals in the IJ community.  The survey is important for many reasons, not the least of which includes the direction of the industry as it tries to deal with various AIM challenges, especially those related to operational integrity as part of process safety management.

Don’t forget to contact us if you are an owner operator* and interested in participating in the survey.

In 2014, look for Inspectioneering to continue its dynamic coverage of topics vital to asset integrity management.

Thank you for being a part of the Inspectioneering Community!

* Participation in the survey has some restrictions; participants must be employed at owner operator facilities of companies that have Corporate License subscriptions with Inspectioneering. To learn more about setting up a Corporate License for your organization, send us an inquiry.

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