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Reynolds Wrap Up: Highlights from the API Subcommittee on Inspection and Mechanical Integrity (SCIMI) Meetings at the Spring 2019 API Standards Meeting

By John Reynolds, Principal Consultant at Intertek. June 27, 2019
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API Inspection and Mechanical Integrity Summit

The seventh API Inspection and Mechanical Integrity (IMI) Summit was held the week of January 28 – 31, 2019 at the Galveston Convention Center. Over 250 presentations were provided, many by owner-users and consultants talking about their experiences with IMI methods and technology.  Attendance at the Summit set another record, up nearly 25% as the industry’s IMI Community of Practice (COP) continues to realize this event is the premier place to network with FEMI peers and establish relationships that last long beyond the Summit. 

The name of the Summit was 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 over the three days of presentations and panel discussions on:

  • Corrosion and Damage Mechanism Management
  • Inspection and NDE
  • MI Engineering and Asset Integrity Programs
  • As well as single day tracks on HTHA and RBI

Additionally, over 400 people registered for the 15 optional FEMI training classes provided on the Monday before the 2019 Summit.

The big news is that with this last growth spurt in Summit attendance we have exceeded the capacity of the Galveston Convention Center, forcing API to seek a new venue and time.  Therefore, the next IMI Summit will be held at the San Antonio Convention Center the first week of June, 2021.  This venue is much larger, better equipped, with more meeting rooms than we could possibly use and a huge exhibition hall.  So mark your calendars now and don’t plan to take family vacations that week unless they are in San Antonio.  See you there!  

Inspectioneering will once again be a primary source for advance information about the 2021 IMI Summit.

API SCIMI Codes and Standards and Related Activities

Here’s a summary of the status of all the codes and standards currently in progress within the API SCIMI and a few others of interest to FEMI personnel.  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 SMEs, 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 18-20, 2019 at the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta.  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 any SCIMI member.

  • Work has begun on a draft on the 11th edition of API 510 Pressure Vessel Inspection Code which is due for next publication before 2021; ballot resolution was conducted on nearly 200 comments received on the ballot before this meeting, but was not completed at this meeting. Three task groups (TGs) were formed to hammer out a resolution for the next ballot this summer.  Those three TGs will address 1) Inspection requirements for Al Core HX’s, 2) Revising requirements to allow on-stream inspections in lieu of internal inspections, and 3) Resolving differences between the simple FFS assessments in 510 vs. those in 579.  Another ballot is expected in 3Q/19 for discussions at the Atlanta meeting.  Two addenda have been issues since the 10th edition was issued in May, 2014.  Be sure to obtain copies of those addenda which are in effect now.
  • 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 piping inspection technology and methodology.   Activity for updating the 5th edition will begin this year.  If you have suggestions for improvement, please pass them along to a SCIMI member.
  • A SCIMI 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 and improved relative to many newer inspection and NDE techniques and methodologies in use today for each specific DM.  All ballot issues have been resolved and the next edition of API 571 is expected to publish in the summer of 2019.  It is anticipated that the new and updated guidance in the Inspection Section of each of the DMs in 571 will be considerably more useful to inspectors and engineers.  
  • The 4th edition of API RP 572 on Inspection Practices for Pressure Vessels was last published in 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 and a ballot for those changes is expected to be issued this summer.    
  • The 3rd edition of API RP 573 on Heater/Boiler Inspection was published in October, 2013. At the Spring Standards Meeting, a TG met to do ballot resolution on over 60 comments received from the ballot conducted in 2Q/19.  A master editor has been put under contract to pull all the comments together with another ballot anticipated in 3Q/19 with comment resolution scheduled before the Fall Standards Meeting in Atlanta.  Publication is expected next year.  Considerable interaction and input from the API SC on Heat Transfer Equipment is occurring for the next edition. 
  • 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 for piping inspection and mechanical integrity.  Currently the 570/574 TG is inactive but expected to be reactivated in the fall of 2019. 
  • The 3rd edition of API RP 575 on Tank Inspection Practices was published in 2014. This is the sister standard to API 653.  A TG met to do ballot resolution at the Spring Standards Meeting on over 200 comments received on the spring ballot.  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.  One more ballot to review the changes made during this meeting is anticipated this summer with publication of the next edition in anticipated in 2020.
  • The 4th edition of API RP 576 on Inspection of Pressure Relieving Devices was published in April, 2017. Numerous changes were included in this edition which will be reviewed during a training session on the Monday before the Summit begins.  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 the Spring API SCIMI Meeting to do ballot resolution on over 75 comments received in the spring ballot for the next edition.  Numerous potential improvements/changes to the document were discussed, including extensive reformatting and adding more heat treating information.  One more ballot is planned to be issued in time to receive voting and comments before the Fall SCIMI Meeting in November with publication of the 4th edition anticipated next year.
  • The TG on API RP 578 Guidelines for a Material Verification Program for New and Existing Assets was published in February of 2018. The document has been expanded beyond just alloy piping to all types of fixed equipment, including some non-alloy equipment (e.g., carbon steel for residual elements).  Hence, this TG is now inactive but will reconvene next year 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, including changes on: burst pressure calculations, use of stress analysis procedures to determine MAWP, changes for material data for creep analysis, updates on fire damage assessments, improvements in assessment of crack-like flaws and several more changes.  Part 3 on brittle fracture will be revised using the latest fracture mechanics technology and numerous other changes in process.  Three new parts are in various stages of planning beyond the next edition including one on assessment of vibration fatigue damage, one on HTHA damage assessment, and one on assessment of hot spots.
  • The 3rd edition of API RP 580 on Risk Based Inspection (RBI) was published in February, 2016. Major changes included some 45+ “shoulds” have 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 met at the Spring Meeting to begin planning for the 4th  A lot of good ideas were recorded for possible updates to 580.  A red-lined comment-only ballot is anticipated before the Fall Meeting.  Two technical inquiries were also handled.
  • 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 as well as interim addendum.  The first was published in early 2019 and work is now underway for a 2nd addendum in 3Q, 2019.  As with most API Standards, a lot of reorganizational work is underway to comply with the API Standards Style Guide.  Two key issues receiving attention are chloride and amine SCC.
  • API RP 582 3rd edition on Specialty Welding Guidelines was published in May, 2016, but work is already underway on more than 30 additional items for the 4th Just a few of those additions include: Controlled Deposition Welding (CDW), which will be removed from 510 & 570 and placed in 582; PWHT requirements for HTHA resistance; 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 is being 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) was issued in May, 2014. The TG met at this meeting to conduct ballot resolution on several topics including updating the document with the latest commercial NDE technologies and inspection methods that are being used for CUI & CUF.  Ballot resolution was conducted at this meeting on over 25 technical comments received.  Two issues still being worked in RT inspection of CUI and the section of RBI for CUI.  Another ballot will be posted this summer for review and discussion prior to the Fall SCIMI Meeting with the next edition anticipated ready for publication by 2020.
  • API RP 584 3rd edition on Integrity Operating Windows (IOWs) will have a major annex added in the next edition. The annex will provide a generic IOW template for numerous major types of process units that will suggest operating parameters that the TG believes owner-users may want to consider for establishing IOWs.  A comment-only ballot issued this spring drew over 80 comments.  A section of pitfalls to be avoided during IOW implementation is being drafted.  An annex suggesting an equipment specific IOW template is also being considered.  A ballot is anticipated for this summer for ballot resolution at the Fall Meeting.
  • The TG working on API RP 585 2nd edition on Investigation of Fixed Equipment Failures and Near Misses is currently inactive, but does have a few 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 site incident investigation procedure, as it has useful information that will be helpful in causal analysis during investigations 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.  The first ballot on that section drew over 140 comments which were discussed and mostly resolved at the Spring Meeting.  Another ballot will take place this summer showing all the changes during the spring ballot resolution.  The master editor for 586 also tabled a detailed outline for the next section of inspection for corrosion at pipe supports which got a lot of support from the TG members present as the next section for 586. The next section is expected to be on the new techniques under development for HTHA inspection.  As each new section on NDE is developed and published, much of the NDE information in other API standards will be withdrawn and a reference made to this new standard in order to focus all our NDE inspection technology and methodology in one document.
  • A new API Publication 587Guidance for the Development of UT Examiner Qualification Program has been approved and will be submitted for publication in 2019. 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). 
  • A new API RP 588 Source Inspection for Fixed Equipment has been approved for publication. A ballot was issued after the last meeting on the first draft of this RP.  It drew only 15 comments which were resolved at the Spring Meeting indicating that the TG did a good job pulling together a draft for the document.  One more recirculation ballot has been issued to approve some minor changes made during ballot resolution with publication of the 1st edition anticipated by year end. 
  • A new document API Pub. 589 on Inspection and Mechanical Integrity Lessons Learned is being created. The scope of the publication will 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 DMs outlined in API 571. The lessons learned (LL) will be organized by different 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 DMs before they lead to a potential repeat incident in our industry.  The TG notionally agreed on a one page template for each site to fill in and submit each LL for possible inclusion in the LL database.  The TG expects to solicit a number of potential FEMI LOPC inclusions for review at the Fall Meeting in order to have a solid start on constructing the database.  Discussions are underway with AFPM to include this new FEMI LOPC LL database within their existing PSM incident database structure.  
  • API RP 970 on Corrosion Control Documents (CCDs) describes the work process and recommended contents for a comprehensive CCD. CCDs serve as a reference document for all the credible DMs that are likely to afflict each different type of process unit for use in corrosion management and inspection planning.  CCDs are especially useful for storing all the information necessary for RBI and IOWs. The first edition was published in December, 2017 so the TG is inactive at this time.  Is your site using this new standard to create CCDs for each of your process units? 
  • 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. Many suggested changes have been received so far.  The first ballot for the next edition is in late 2019 or early 2020.
  • Annex E of API RP 941 on High Temperature Hydrogen Attack (HTHA) is undergoing significant revisions to recognize new technology and methodologies for inspection for HTHA. First ballot of the new Annex occurred this past summer of 2019.  The details for the new techniques for HTHA inspection will be contained in a new annex of API RP 586, with simply a high level summary of them contained in API 941 with reference to API 586 for more details.  Several presentations and discussion on the new HTHA inspection techniques were part of the IMI Summit last January.
  • A TG on API 590 - SCIMI Terms and Definitions is underway to develop a management system to ensure terms, acronyms and definitions from all SCIMI standards are consistent.  This proposed management system includes assigning a SCIMI task group as the “originator” or “owner” for each term and a work process for creation of new and modifications to existing definitions. The purpose of this effort is to make sure all standards that use common terms and acronyms are using the 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 May to continue work on the effort.  An electronic DB and print publication with periodic addenda are anticipated when the work is complete.
  • A study group (SG) was formed at the Spring SCIMI Meeting to draft an outline for a new SCIMI document that would pull together all of the applicable API standards that apply to fixed equipment mechanical integrity (FEMI) and show how they all relate to each other and how a fully integrated FEMI program can be formed at each operating site – sort of an “umbrella” document for the 40+ API FEMI related standards. Hopefully we will have a draft outline to present at the Fall Meeting in Atlanta. 

API Individual Certification Program (ICP) Task Group

  • From its inception in 1989, the API ICP has enjoyed a steady growth of over 14% annual average, at first mostly in the USA, but now has seen a steady growth in international markets as we begin to approach saturation in the USA.
  • Twenty years ago there were only about 3000 certifications worldwide with a concentration is USA markets. Today, we have over 36,000 certified inspectors holding over 56,000 certifications in 130 different countries. Now more than half (52%) of those are certified from countries outside of the USA.  Also, nearly 75% of those certified are non-owner users (i.e., contract inspectors, insurance companies, construction companies, etc.).  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, South Korea, UAE, and India.
  • In the last five years, API ICP administered over 60,000 exams for certification in 79 difference countries using over 400 different exam sites available. Out of those 79 countries, the top 20 countries accounted for nearly 94% of the exams administered.
  • Over the last two years the percentage of individuals passing the exams are in the range of roughly: 60-70% for API 510; 50-59% for API 570; 45-59 % for API 653; 35-48% for API 571; 46-63% for API 577; 55-68% for API 580; 58-90% for the newer API 588 SIFE; and 65-72% for API 936 Refractory Inspectors. As you can see, these exams are not easy to pass and considerable study of the designated body of knowledge (BOK) is needed before sitting for the exams.
  • For the Specialized Certifications, the 580 RBI certifications is the most popular with nearly 3000 certificates in existence, with 571 on Damage Mechanisms having nearly 1500 certificates, and 577 on Welding Inspection having over 600 certificates in good standing.
  • There are now five NDE Performance Demo certification exams (QUTE/QUSE/QUPA/QUSE-PA, plus the newest one QUTE-TM for thickness measurements just launched this year) 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 almost 800 certified UT examiners on the five exams, with QUTE having the most at about 400 certified so far. 
  • Over 1000 source (i.e., shop) surveillance inspectors have now been certified to the new Source Inspector Fixed Equipment (SIFE) Certification Program over the last six years. Two other modules are also being offered for rotating equipment and electrical gear source inspection.

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