Reynolds Wrap Up: Highlights from the API Subcommittee on Inspection and Mechanical Integrity (SCIMI) Meetings at the Spring 2018 API Standards Meeting

By John Reynolds at Intertek. June 25, 2018

API Inspection and Mechanical Integrity Summit Planning Meeting

  • The seventh API Inspection and Mechanical Integrity (IMI) Summit will be held the week of January 28 – 31, 2019 at the Galveston Convention Center (mark your calendars now); planning meetings are well underway.
  • The name of the Summit has changed to include Mechanical Integrity  which better reflects the scope of the Summit and will once again cover the three main industry business sectors:
    • Downstream (Refining and Petrochemical),
    • Midstream (Terminals, Gas Plants, and Pipelines),
    • Upstream (Exploration and Production).
  • Each business sector will again cover three main Inspection and Mechanical Integrity Tracks:
    • Corrosion and Damage Mechanism Management,
    • Inspection and NDE,
    • MI Engineering and Asset Integrity Programs.
  • 30 minute presentations (instead of the previous 45 minutes), will be the norm next time, allowing more presentations to be included in the Summit.
  • Two calls for Summit Presentations have been issued so far. Visit the webpage listed below to submit and abstract before the deadline at the end of June 2018 -
  • Panel discussions will once again be a featured format to share information on a focused, current topic of interest. Preliminary panel topics include HTHA, Permanently Mounted Monitoring Systems, Surface/Subsurface Integrity, ILI Tools and Data Analysis, Big Data, Tank Mechanical Integrity Management, RP 1171 on Storage of NG in Underground Caverns, Source Inspection, CML Optimization, NDE Qualification Solutions, and UAS/Drones Case Studies.
  • We are looking into the possibility of having 15 minute rotating emerging technology presentations by vendors somewhere near the exhibition hall to show off technologies that are not yet commercial but may be in the near future.
  • The Summit will kick off with IMI training courses provided by known industry SME’s on Monday and attendees can sign up to attend any of the offered courses that may be of interest.  Preliminary list of courses includes those on RBI, FFS, damage mechanisms, welding, advanced NDE, tubular inspection techniques, ASME PCC-2, creating CCD’s and IOW’s, inspection of buried pipelines, PRV management, design and inspection of AST’s, Inspection for CUI/CUF, bolted flange joint assembly, modern inspection planning, QA/QC for inspectors, characteristics of the most effective inspectors, technical writing for inspectors and more.  
  • Inspectioneering Journal will once again be our media partner and a primary source for advance information for the 2019 IMI Summit. Stay tuned.
  • Registration will open in June.

API SCIMI Activities

Here’s a summary of the status of all the codes and standards currently in progress within the API SCIMI.  Please use the latest editions of each document, as the new editions are considerably improved and updated over previous versions.  There are anywhere from 40-50 SCIMI SME’s, from as many different companies and consultants, working continuously to improve and update these standards with what are believed to be industry best practices.  If you would like to join these efforts, please feel free to attend our semi-annual API SCIMI meetings held in the spring and fall timeframes of each year at the API Refining Standards Meeting.  You do not have to be an API member to participate. All contributors who can help maintain and improve the standards are welcome. Our next API Standards meeting is November 12-14, 2018 at the Orlando Hyatt Regency.  If you cannot attend, but have suggestions for changes that you would like to have considered for the next editions of any of the listed standards, please send them to me or your own SCIMI member.

  • Work has begun on a draft on the 11th edition of API 510 Pressure Vessel Inspection Code which is not due for next publication until 2019; but several ballot items were discussed and passed at this meeting.  A significant update to the section on inspection deferrals passed at this meeting and will be in the next addenda. Addenda no. 1 of the 10th edition was issued in May, 2017.  
  • The 4th edition of API 570 Piping Inspection Code was published in February, 2016.  The edition contains a significant number of changes and improvements in technology and methodology.   There are several pending action items in the backlog some of which are expected to be balloted this year.
  • A task group (TG) has been very active to improve the inspection portion 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 newer inspection and NDE techniques and methodologies in use today for each specific DM.  All three ballots have been resolved so the next edition of API 571 is expected to publish in 2019. It is anticipated that the new and updated guidance in the Inspection Section of each of the DM’s in 571 will be considerably more useful.  
  • The 4th edition of API RP 572 on Inspection Practices for Pressure Vessels has recently been published (December, 2016).  From now on it will be updated in sync with 510, so that material can be moved back and forth between the two sister documents (i.e. putting the more informational PV inspection issues in 572 and focusing 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 of 572 which is due for publication in 2019. A ballot on the new edition is expected this year.
  • The 3rd edition of API RP 573 on Heater/Boiler Inspection was published in October, 2013.  At this meeting, a TG met to continue planning updates for the 2020 edition.  Numerous potential improvements were discussed and assigned to volunteers. A master editor has been put under contract to pull all the comments together with a ballot anticipated in fall of 2018 with comment resolution scheduled for the November Standards meeting in Orlando.  Considerable interaction and input from the API SC on Heater Transfer Equipment is being sought for the next edition. If anyone in your company is a heater MI specialist, please let them know that more participation is wanted and needed from anyone interested in improving API 573 on Heater/Boiler Inspection
  • The 4th edition of API RP 574 on Piping Inspection Practices was published in November, 2016.  As is the case with API 572 & 510, from now on API 574 will be updated in synch with 570, so that the more informational piping inspection issues remain in 574 and 570 continues to focus more on requirements and expectations.  This TG is relatively inactive for now.
  • The 3rd edition of API RP 575 on Tank Inspection Practices was published in 2014, so it’s due for the next edition in 2019.  This is the sister standard to API 653. A TG met to document and discuss several improvements at the spring Standards meeting.  Discussions were held concerning UAV inspections of tanks, CML locations on tanks and laser inspection practices. Tank chime sealing best practices will be covered in a separate Technical Bulletin which will be referenced in RP 575.  A master editor for the document has been selected and attended the meeting.  A voting ballot has been posted which will close at the end of June.
  • The 4th edition of API RP 576 on Inspection of Pressure Relieving Devices was published in April, 2017.  The TG on 576 is currently inactive since the next edition is not scheduled until 2022.
  • The 2nd edition of API RP 577 on Welding Inspection and Metallurgy was published December, 2013.  A TG for the 4th edition met again at this API SCIMI meeting to continue updates for a targeted due date in 2018 for the next edition.  A master editor has been selected and the first ballot (comment only) for the next edition occurred over the winter and resulted in 172 comments that were resolved at this meeting.  Numerous potential improvements/changes to the document were discussed including extensive reformatting and adding more heat treating information. A full ballot version is planned to be issued in time to receive voting and comments before the fall Refining Meeting in November.
  • The TG on API RP 578 Guidelines for a Material Verification Program for New and Existing Assets was published in February of this year.  The document has been expanded beyond just alloy piping to all types of fixed equipment, including some non-alloy piping e.g. carbon steel for residual elements.  Hence this TG is now inactive but will reconvene eventually to prepare for the 2023 edition.
  • The 3rd edition of API/ASME 579 on Fitness for Service (FFS) was published in June, 2016 which included a new section 14 on evaluation of fatigue damage, recommendations for establishing an allowable RSF, a rewrite of section 9 on residual stress solutions, updated procedures for the assessment of creep damage, and a new annex on metallurgical investigation and evaluation of mechanical properties in a fire damage assessment.  Work on the 4th edition is now underway which is expected to publish next year along with an example problem manual.  Part 3 on brittle fracture will be re-written using the latest fracture mechanics technology. A new part 16 on piping vibration is in preparation.  A new Part 15 on HTHA is also being developed along with several other improvements to existing analyses.
  • The 3rd edition of API RP 580 on Risk Based Inspection (RBI) was published in February, 2016.  Major changes include some 45+ “shoulds” are now become “shalls.”  For those sites using RBI, there are now a number of issues in the RBI work processes that are mandatory.  This TG is currently inactive but will be resurrected at the fall meeting in November to begin planning for the 4th edition.
  • API RP 581 on RBI Methodology - 3rd edition was published in April, 2016.  The 581 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 in 2018 and work is now underway for a 2nd addendum for 2019.  As with most API Standards, a lot of reorganizational work is underway to comply with the API Standards Style Guide.
  • API RP 582 3rd edition on Specialty Welding Guidelines was published in May, 2016, but work is already underway on 22 agenda items for the 4th edition.  Some of those additions include Controlled Deposition Welding (CDW) which will be removed from 510 & 570 and placed in 582; and a new section on seal welding threaded connections; adding guidance on welding lean and hyper duplex SS; updating the guidance on welding short-arc GMAW; guidance on weld overlays and aged high temperature alloy tubes for steam-methane reformers and ethylene heaters; and some guidance on welding nickel alloy dissimilar metals.  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 Corrosion under Insulation (CUI) is due for revision/update in 2019.  A TG has been formed to consider updating it with commercial NDE technologies and inspection methods that are being used for CUI & CUF.  Several new items were received in a comment ballot over the winter and discussed at this meeting. A voting ballot will be posted this summer for review and discussion at the November meeting
  • API RP 584 3rd edition on Integrity Operating Windows (IOW’s) will have a major appendix added in the next edition in 2019.  It will provide an IOW template for several major types of process units that will suggest operating parameters that the TG believes owner-users may want to consider for establishing IOW’s.  This TG also has a significant list of issues that will be worked in order to provide more guidance on the IOW implementation phase after IOW’s have been created.
  • The TG working on API RP 585 2nd edition on Investigation of Fixed Equipment Failures and Near Misses is currently active, and currently has three minor changes planned for the next edition.  Currently this new standard is not widely referenced in operating site process safety investigation procedures. Each site/company is encouraged to review and reference the document in their incident investigation procedure, as it has useful information that will be helpful in causal analysis 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 the NDE techniques that are best suited to find the different kinds of damage that the inspector expects in different types of equipment and in different locations.  The TG anticipates that it will eventually be a fairly large document that other API standards will refer to for more detailed 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.  Each section will be somewhat of a Reader’s Digest summary of each NDE technique useful to the inspection community.   The first priority is a section on heat exchanger tubular inspection techniques that will help inspectors understand the various pros and cons of the multitude of techniques available for inspection of corrosion and cracking in exchanger tubes.  At the spring 2018 meeting, the group reviewed 108 comments received from the first comment ballot covering the nine most commonly used HX tubular inspection methods. The second voting ballot of that section is expected Q3/18. The next section is expected to be on PV NDE techniques.  As each section is developed and published, much of the NDE information in other API standards will be withdrawn and a reference made to this new standard.
  • A new API Publication 587Guidance for the Development of UT Examiner Qualification Program has been approved and is slated for publication sometime in 2018.  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.  
  • Work is now underway on a new API RP 588 Source Inspection for Fixed Equipment.   A comment ballot was issued over the winter on the first draft of this RP.  It received 110 comments which were discussed and resolved at the spring meeting.  A voting ballot will be issued 3Q/18 for ballot resolution at the fall meeting in November.  
  • A new document API Pub. 589 on Inspection and Mechanical Integrity Lessons Learned is being created. The scope of the publication would be a compilation of hundreds of LOPC incidents and near-misses (anonymously recorded) in refining and petrochemical process units as a result of deterioration from the DM’s outlined in API 571.  The lessons learned (LL) would be separated by piping systems and unit operations associated with the 20+ types of process units commonly in service.  The publication is expected to serve as a resource for all site FEMI professionals and other interested stakeholders to provide guidance on where to inspect and possibly mitigate DM’s before they lead to an incident in our industry.  At the spring meeting several sample templates of LL were reviewed.  The group agreed to limit each item to one page and create one template for each site to fill in and submit for possible inclusion.  The TG expects to adopt an agreed upon template at our fall meeting in November.   
  • API RP 970 on Corrosion Control Documents (CCD’s) describes the work process and recommended contents for a comprehensive CCD.  CCD’s serve as a reference document for all the credible DM’s that are likely to afflict each different type of process unit for use in corrosion management and inspection planning.  The first edition was published in December, 2017.
  • 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 2020  Progress is slow at this stage but is expected to ramp up this year.  Many suggested changes have been received so far.
  • Annex E of API RP 941 on High Temperature Hydrogen Attack (HTHA) is undergoing significant revisions of Annex E to recognize additional technology and methodologies for inspection of HTHA.  First ballot of the Annex is anticipated in the summer of 2018.
  • A TG on SCIMI Terms and Definitions has formed to consolidate all terms, acronyms and definitions from all SCIMI standards into one database.  The purpose of this effort is to make sure all standards that use common terms and acronyms are using the exact same definitions.  That is not entirely the case now and it’s a confusing and difficult job to update all standards when one definition changes. The TG met again at the spring meeting in April to continue work on the effort and a master editor has started the task.  First ballot is anticipated this year. An electronic DB and print publication with periodic addenda are anticipated whereupon all definitions currently in the SCIMI standards will be removed in favor of referencing this consolidation effort.

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 more growth is in international markets.  
    • Twenty years ago there were only about 3000 certifications worldwide. Today, over 31,000 certified inspectors exist in 130 different countries.  Those 31,000 individuals hold over 51,000 certificates. Now more than half (54%) of those are certified from countries outside of the USA, and 74% of those certified are non-API members at this stage.  Also, nearly 75% of those certified are non-owner users (i.e. contract inspectors). Last year, over 12,000 candidates took examinations at over 300 different exam sites worldwide. By far, most candidates tested in the USA, followed by Canada, Saudi Arabia, UAE, South Korea, and India.
  • Over the last two years the percentage of individuals passing the exams are in the range of: 60-70% for API 510; 55-59% for API 570; 44-56 % for API 653; 35-49% for API 571; 44-58% for API 577; and 32-58% for API 580.  As you can see, these exams are not easy to pass and considerable study of the body of knowledge is needed before sitting for the exams.
  • For the Specialized Certifications, the 580 RBI certification is the most popular with over 2500 certificates, with 571 on Damage Mechanisms having over 1300 certificates and 577 on Welding Inspection having over 600 certificates in good standing.
  • There are now four NDE Performance Demo certification exams (QUTE/QUSE/QUPA/QUSE) being offered and passing rates on each of them have increased over the past couple years.  A beta trial of a traveling exam offering at one service contractor that provided refresher training just before 46 of their candidates took the exams showed the highest pass rates on each of the exams experienced so far, (i.e. 100% on QUTE, 100% on QUPA, 70% on QUSE and 94% on QUSE-PA - indicating that timely training may be key to passing these exams.  There are now more than 700 certified UT examiners on the four exams, with QUTE having the most at about 500 certified so far. API will launch special site/travel exams in 2018, look for guidelines at  
  • Over 1000 source (i.e. shop) surveillance inspectors have now been certified to the new Fixed Equipment Source Inspector Certification Program over the last five years.  Two other modules are also being offered for rotating equipment and electrical gear source inspection.

Comments and Discussion

Posted by Richard M.H. Ravestein on June 25, 2018
Thanks John. Very useful update for all of us far... Log in or register to read the rest of this comment.

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