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Reynold's Wrap Up: Highlights from the API Subcommittee on Inspection and Mechanical Integrity (SCIMI) Meetings at the Spring 2017 API Standards Meeting

By John Reynolds at Intertek. June 19, 2017

Inspection Summit Planning Meeting

  • The next API Inspection Summit will once again be held the week of January 28 – 31, 2019 at the Galveston Convention Center; initial planning meetings occurred during this meeting in May.
  • The Sixth Inspection Summit held last January was attended by over 1400 people (another record).  The feedback forms indicated that it was once again a big success and highly appreciated by attendees. 
  • The exhibit hall was fully subscribed and we had another record number of presentations (nearly 200) on a wide variety of technical topics with regard to fixed equipment mechanical integrity, corrosion and inspection for all three industry segments (downstream/ midstream/ upstream). 
  • Twelve panel discussions on various “hot topics” were conducted including Q&A with the audience.  Fourteen optional FEMI training courses were conducted on the Monday preceding the Summit.  They were also well attended.
  • Inspectioneering Journal will once again be your primary source for advance information on the 2019 Inspection Summit.  Stay tuned.

API SCIMI Activities

Here’s a summary of the status of all the codes and standards currently in progress in the API SCIMI.  Please be sure you are using the latest editions of each of these documents, as the new editions are considerably updated.  Typically, 40-50 SCIMI SME’s are working continuously to improve and update these standards with what we believe are industry best practices.  If you would like to join us in our efforts, please feel free to attend our semi-annual API SCIMI meetings held in May and November of each year at the API Refining Standards Meeting.  You do not have to be an API member to participate.  We welcome all contributors who can help us maintain and improve our standards. Our next meeting is November 13-15, 2017 at the Dallas Hyatt Regency Reunion in Dallas, TX.  If you cannot attend, but have suggestions for changes you would like to have considered for the next editions of any of our codes/standards, please send them to me or your own SCIMI member.

  • Work has begun on the 11th edition of API 510, which is not due for next publication until 2019; but several ballot items were discussed and passed at this meeting.  We anticipate going back to publishing interim addenda with new and revised items before the next full edition is available.  API 510 and API 572 are sister documents and will be worked in tandem from now in order to keep them consistent with each other and to minimize duplication.
  • The 4th edition of API 570 was published in February, 2016.  There are a very large number of changes and improvements in technology and methodology in this new edition.  At the Fall Meeting, we reviewed several more ballot items for a proposed first addendum to the 4th edition.  The wording of the inspection deferral section 7.13 had intense discussion again and will be the subject of another ballot over the summer months.
  • A task group (TG) has been formed within the SCIMI to update and improve the inspection section of each damage mechanism section in API RP 571 on Damage Mechanisms.  The format will remain the same, but the inspection guidance will be significantly updated relative to many new NDE techniques and methodologies in use today for each specific DM.  About 90% of the inspection sections have been drafted at this point.  Several ballots are anticipated this summer for members to review and comment at the next meeting in November.  A master editor has been contracted to pull them all together into a consistent format. The next edition of 571 is due for publication in 2018, but it will likely be delayed at least a year.
  • The 4th edition of API RP 572 on Inspection of Pressure Vessels has just been published (December, 2016).  From now on it will be updated in sync with 510, so that we can easily move material back and forth between these two sister documents (i.e. putting the more informational PV inspection issues in 572 and focus 510 more on requirements and expectations for what shall and should be done).  Major changes in organization and content are anticipated in the next edition.
  • The 3rd edition of API RP 573 was published in October, 2013.  At this meeting, a TG met to continue planning updates for the 2018 edition.  Forty potential improvements were discussed and assigned to volunteers.  Considerable interaction and input from the API SC on Heaters is being sought for the next edition.  If you have someone in your company who is a heater MI specialist, please let them know that we want and need more participation from anyone interested in improving API 573 on Heater/Boiler Inspection.  An RFP will be issued to hire a master editor for the next edition.  Efforts will be made this summer to make progress on drafting all the changes for review and discussion at the next meeting in November.
  • The 4th edition of API RP 574 on Inspection of Piping was published in November, 2016.  As with API 572 & 510, from now on API 574 will be updated in synch with 570, so that we can put the more informational piping inspection issues in 574 and continue to focus 570 more on requirements and expectations.  Currently there is no activity scheduled for these two documents.
  • The 3rd edition of API RP 575 on Tank Inspection was published in 2014, so it’s due for a new edition in 2019.  A TG met to discuss at this spring meeting, but does not have any issues on the agenda that need to be worked.  If that situation remains the case, then this standard will be reaffirmed as is, with no changes in 2019.
  • The 4th edition of API RP 576 on Inspection of Pressure Relieving Devices has been published in April, 2017.  The TG on 576 is currently inactive.
  • The 3rd edition of API RP 577 on Welding Inspection and Metallurgy was published December, 2013.  A newly formed TG for the 4th edition met at this API SCIMI meeting to continue work on updating it for its due date in 2018.  Volunteers have been recruited to edit each section this summer for discussion at the fall meeting in anticipation of the first ballot after the fall meeting.  Numerous potential improvements/changes to the document were discussed.
  • The TG on API RP 578 completed the second ballot resolution for the 3rd edition at our spring 2017 meeting.  A third ballot is expected this summer with a target for publication by 4Q/17.  Final ballot resolution is expected to occur at the fall meeting in Dallas.  The document is being expanded beyond just alloy piping to all types of fixed equipment, including some non-alloy piping e.g. carbon steel for residual elements.  A new title has been balloted and accepted: Guidelines for a Material Verification Program for New and Existing Assets.  A few emerging PMI technologies will be added as well as a section on radiation safety for XRF analyzers. 
  • The 3rd edition of API/ASME 579 on FFS was published in June, 2016.  Work on the 4th edition is now underway.
  • The 3rd edition of API RP 580 on RBI was published in February, 2016.  The major change in this edition is that some 45+ “shoulds” have been changed to “shalls”, such that for those sites using RBI, there is now a number of issues in the RBI work process that are mandatory.  This TG is currently inactive but will be resurrected at the fall meeting in Dallas to begin planning for the 4th edition.
  • API RP 581 on RBI Methodology - 3rd edition was published in April, 2016.  This document also has a large number of changes included after going through 9 ballots.   This TG is very active and work is now underway on 200+ more suggested revisions for the 4th edition.  An addendum is anticipated to be published this year.
  • API RP 582 3rd edition on Specialty Welding Guidelines was published in May, 2016, but work is already underway on new additions for the 4th edition.  Two of those additions will be Controlled Deposition Welding (CDW) which will be removed from 510 & 570 and placed in 582; and a new section on seal welding threaded connections.  An effort will be made going forward to coordinate the contents of 577 and 582, which are handled by two different API Subcommittees.
  • API RP 583 1st edition on CUI is due for revision in 2019.  A TG has formed to consider updating it with commercial NDE technologies and inspection methods that are being used for CUI & CUF.  Eleven new items have been tabled so far.  A track changes copy will be circulated to the TG this summer for review at the next meeting in anticipation of the first ballot for the 2nd edition soon afterwards.
  • API RP 584 3rd edition on IOW’s will have a major appendix added in the next edition in 2019.  It will provide a template for several major types of refining units that will suggest operating parameters that the TG believes that owner-users may want to consider for establishing IOW’s.
  • API RP 585 2nd edition on Investigation of Fixed Equipment Failures and Near Misses.  Four changes were tabled and discussed for the next edition.  Currently this new standard is not widely referenced in operating site process safety investigation procedures. Please review a copy and encourage your site/company to reference it in your procedure, as it has a lot of very useful information that will help identify root and contributing causes of fixed equipment failures and near-misses.
  • A new standard API RP 586 on NDE Techniques is being created.  It will provide the inspector with information on which NDE techniques are best suited to find the different kinds of damage the inspector expects in different types of equipment and different locations.  The TG anticipates that it will eventually be a fairly large document that other API standards will refer to for information on NDE techniques for inspection planning.  It will cover what each NDE technique can and cannot do, and the various advantages and limitations of each technique.  We anticipate that each section will be somewhat of a Reader’s Digest summary of each NDE technique.   One of the first priorities is going to be the section on heat exchanger tubular inspection techniques to help inspectors understand the various pros and cons of the multitude of techniques available for inspection for corrosion and cracking in exchanger tubes.  At the spring 2017 meeting, we reviewed a draft covering the advantages and limitations of the nine most commonly used HX tubular inspection methods. The first ballot of that section is expected this summer.
  • A new API Publication 587 – Guidance for the development of UT Examiner Qualification Program is in the works.  The purpose of this publication is to outline the performance testing program that would be necessary for owner-users to create their own program for angle beam examiners if they choose not to use API qualified industry examiners i.e. QUTE/QUSE.  Ballot resolution was completed at the fall meeting.  Expecting to be able to publish this new document in 4Q/17.
  • Work is now underway on a new API RP 588 – Source Inspection for Fixed Equipment.   The study guide for the existing API Inspector Certification Program (ICP) for Fixed Equipment Source Inspection will serve as the base document from where to start putting together API 588.   We hope to have the first ballot ready for this document soon after the fall standards meeting in Dallas.
  • Another new document is underway in the Subcommittee on Corrosion/Materials - API RP 970 on Corrosion Control Documents (CCD’s).  It will describe the work process to create a comprehensive CCD if and where a site wants to create them.  CCD’s will not be mandatory – just a recommended practice.  Many sites have already created them or are in process of doing so.  Ballot resolution was completed at this meeting.  A final ballot is anticipated this summer for review at our next API meeting in November.  Publication of the first edition could occur by 2Q/18.
  • Section 3 of API RP 751 on Safe Operation of HF Alky Process Units which covers inspection, materials, corrosion and fabrication of HF handling equipment (among other things) will  undergo a significant rewrite in preparation for publication of the 5th edition in 2018.  Progress is very slow at this stage.     

API Individual Certification Program (ICP) Task Group

  • From its original startup in 1989, the API ICP has enjoyed a steady growth of over 14% annual average, at first mostly in the USA, but now most the growth is in the world outside of the USA.  Twenty years ago there were only about 3000 certifications worldwide.
  • Today, nearly 26,000 certified inspectors exist in 127 different countries.  Those 26,500 individuals hold over 45,000 certificates.  There are now more than half (55%) of those certified from countries outside of the USA.  74% of those certified are non-API members at this stage.  Nearly 75% of those certified are non-owner users (i.e. contract inspectors).  Last year, over 11,500 candidates took examinations at over 300 different exam sites worldwide and judging from 1Q/17 results 2017 this year will set another record in exams administered.  By far, the most candidates are tested in the USA, followed by Canada, Saudi Arabia, UAE, South Korea, and India.   
  • Over the last two years the numbers of individuals passing the exams are in the range of: 55-62% for API 510; 49-57% for API 570; 47-60 % for API 653; 42% for API 571; 42-55% for API 577; and 47-55% for API 580.  As you can see, these exams are not easy to pass and considerable study is needed before sitting for the exams.
  • A Code of Ethics for certified inspectors has been approved by the API SCIMI and is now posted on the API ICP website.  Please log-in and read it.
  • The idea of having a senior inspector certification program (something with more detail and more difficulty than the current entry level exams) was tabled at a previous meeting.  Instead, the ICP TG has decided to focus its attention on creating new professional certifications like we have already for API 571, 577 and 580.  These programs have proven to be very popular with engineers as well as inspectors who want to show they have gained considerable expertise in each of the subject matters.  The 580 RBI certification is now held by over 2200 individuals and is the fasted growing professional certification.  Consideration is now being given to creating the next program for API 573 on Inspection of Heaters and Boilers.  Like the three in existence so far, all programs will continue to be entirely optional. 
  • Over 1000 source (i.e. shop) surveillance inspectors have now been certified to the new Fixed Equipment Source Inspector Certification Program.  Two new modules have been added for rotating equipment and electrical gear source inspection.
  • About 1000 API certified inspectors have not yet switched their old paper-based certification account to the new portal website which is being constantly improved.  Over 49,000 have registered so far.  If you have not yet switched, you must do so soon or you will not be able to recertify when your certifications expire – it will only take 10 minutes to register.  Your account has already been loaded on the new portal – just log in and confirm it.  The old paper system will be shut down shortly and when that happens, those that have not acknowledged their new accounts will lose their certifications when it comes time for renewal.  API has tried numerous times to contact all those who have not switched to the new portal.

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