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Popular Articles

March/April 2015 Inspectioneering Journal
By Ana Benz at IRISNDT, Bradley Baudier at Marathon Petroleum Company LP, and Michael O. Nichols at Marathon Petroleum Company

This article provides a discussion of a recent inspection performed at a U.S. refinery. Industry HF lines are experiencing piping failures in increasing numbers due to the presence of residual elements (such as Cr, Ni, and Cu among others) entrained within their carbon steel components.

Achieve Comprehensive Reliability by Combining RBI and RCM
March/April 2015 Inspectioneering Journal
By Walt Sanford at PinnacleART

Today, many managers are finding that they can address the reliability of all types of assets by combining RBI and Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM) processes together into one comprehensive reliability management process.

January/February 2015 Inspectioneering Journal
By Serge Bisson at GCM Consultants, and Hugo Julien, P.E. at GCM Consultants

Are you still hitting the welded joints of pressure vessels with a hammer during hydrostatic testing? If yes, then you’re due for a refresher on the pressure testing requirements of ASME Section VIII Division 1 since this requirement was for pressure vessels back in the mid 1940’s. This article will help you by highlighting the main requirements of, and differences between, the hydrostatic test for new pressure vessels fabricated according to ASME Section VIII, Division 1 and the hydrostatic leak test for new piping systems made under ASME B31.3.

Rating Pressure Vessels with Poorly Kept Records
March/April 2015 Inspectioneering Journal
By Paolo Torrado at Engineering and Inspection Services, LLC.

An issue that arises frequently in the oil and gas industry is poor or missing documentation of pressure vessels. It is common in the industry to repurpose old equipment, bring equipment back into operation after a long period of time out of service, or rerate equipment due to debottlenecking of process units.

How To Effectively and Efficiently Clean Heat Exchangers, Part 1
January/February 2015 Inspectioneering Journal
By Harold Marburger at Dunn Heat Exchangers

Whether onsite or offsite, the methods for cleaning shell and tube heat exchangers can vary. Refining and petrochemical operators will agree that high standards must be employed with each method. Choosing the right method can make the difference between smooth operations and unforeseen equipment shutdowns.

March/April 2015 Inspectioneering Journal
By A.C. Gysbers at The Equity Engineering Group, Inc.

The tubes of heat exchangers (HX), whether for a shell and tube bundle or an airfin, are typically subject to some form of nondestructive examination (NDE) to try and quantify the remaining wall thicknesses and corrosion rates to help a plant to determine remaining life or the need for intervention via re-tubing or replacement of these thin wall components.

March/April 2015 Inspectioneering Journal
By Matt Midas at GenesisSolutions

With the advancements in today’s technology and improvements to Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) systems and Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS), if we deploy them properly and in line with best practices, it is possible to reach previously unreachable levels of efficiency, data quality, and meaningful reports.

January/February 2015 Inspectioneering Journal
By Fred Schenkelberg at FMS Reliability

Reliability engineering tools and concepts can be used to avoid or delay failures, thus increasing product service life. Design or maintenance teams use reliability engineering techniques to identify failures and their causes.

Taking Inspection and Maintenance to New Heights with Rope Access
March/April 2015 Inspectioneering Journal
By Andy Kates at Versa Integrity Group

Rope access allows for a wide variety of work to be performed at high elevations or other hard to reach areas without the use of scaffolding or heavy equipment. It has evolved from techniques used in rock climbing and caving to become an extremely safe and cost effective industrial tool.

The Benefits of Laser-Based Inspection
March/April 2015 Inspectioneering Journal
By Connie LaMorte at EWI, and Jon Jennings at EWI

Weld inspection using lasers is not new, but doing it 75 meters inside a pipe or streaming inspection data wirelessly is new. As laser technology has improved, more industries such as oil & gas are beginning to require laser inspection as part of their specifications. This non-contact method can help catch an unacceptable condition before it becomes too late to remedy the weld.

Partner Content

Offshore platforms are exposed to some of the roughest conditions on earth and require regular attention to ensure they are structurally sound and safe for continued operation. With so many components and major joints at elevated locations, it is clear why a well-trained rope access technician can be an invaluable resource for offshore operators.

A New Generation of Predictive NDE Sensor Technologies
January/February 2015 Inspectioneering Journal
By Angelique N. Lasseigne at G2MT, Joshua E. Jackson at G2MT, and Robert Schaffler at G2MT LLC

The future of inspection will be based on predictive and proactive technologies that effectively monitor material properties of structures and systems over their entire service life.

Testing and Inspection Methods to Improve the Life Cycle of Refractory
March/April 2015 Inspectioneering Journal
By Jeremy Wimberly at Sentinel Integrity Solutions

Refractory materials have significantly evolved during the past 15 years, testing technology is much more sophisticated, and the need for test technicians to be properly trained and experienced to use that technology is much more important than it has been in the past. Today, operators know that to ensure at least five to six year run times on processing units, production baffle testing and material prequalification and inspection processes and results are absolutely critical.

High-Energy Piping Systems: Avoid Cracking Under Pressure
January/February 2015 Inspectioneering Journal
By Pamela Hamblin at Thielsch Engineering, Inc.

Avoiding cracking under pressure when managing high-energy piping systems is common subject matter in the power industry. Just as high-energy piping can give way to pressure, stress and fatigue, so can the people in charge of operating them when trying to determine what to inspect, where to inspect, and what to do with those inspection results once they have them.

Key Performance Indicators – Understanding is Key
November/December 2014 Inspectioneering Journal
By Greg Alvarado at Inspectioneering Journal, and Michael O. Nichols at Marathon Petroleum Company

Key Performance Indicators or KPIs are important for businesses to track measurable progress, or a lack thereof, as compared to pre-defined goals or benchmarks. For those of us in the inspection, fixed equipment reliability world, the same holds true. Often the efficacy of our inspection programs is measured against such goals.

A New Method for Prioritizing Equipment in HTHA Service for Inspection & Replacement and the Challenges in Obtaining Process Conditions to be Used in the HTHA Assessment
November/December 2014 Inspectioneering Journal
By Gerrit M. Buchheim, P.E. at Becht Engineering Co., Inc.

High Temperature Hydrogen Attack (HTHA) is a complex damage mechanism that continues to defy investigators trying to make predictions on the anticipated degree of damage or service life. This article provides some background on HTHA, discusses some current developments in HTHA inspection and mitigation, and describes how one Refiner is instituting an HTHA risk management plan for its refineries and the challenges and pitfalls they have encountered.

Unmanned Aerial Systems and the Regulatory Landscape
March/April 2015 Inspectioneering Journal
By Nick Harwood at Aetos Group, and Aaron Cook at Aetos Group

The ability to gain this unique perspective has recently become easier and safer with today’s technological advancements. This new technology comes in the form of a miniature flying machine, better known as a drone or small Unmanned Aerial System (sUAS). These systems can be a modified hobby aircraft or highly reliable, military grade aerial robots.

Dual Mode Pulse Reflectometry – A New Approach to  Heat Exchanger Tube Inspection
November/December 2014 Inspectioneering Journal
By Dr. Noam Amir at AcousticEye

Tube and shell heat exchangers are required to operate continuously in tough conditions for years, coping with thermal cycling, corrosive fluids on the tube and shell side, vibration and fouling of many different types, all collaborating towards degrading the performance of the unit and causing its eventual failure.

Corrosion Under Insulation And Best-fit Solutions
July/August 2014 Inspectioneering Journal
By Brian J. Fitzgerald at Stress Engineering Services

As any refining or petrochemical plant manager knows, corrosion can occur on insulated piping at any facility, and is particularly difficult to prevent, track, and mitigate. Corrosion under insulation (CUI) has been a major challenge for the petrochemical and refining industries since the first pipelines were insulated with wrappings.

January/February 2015 Inspectioneering Journal
By Greg Alvarado at Inspectioneering Journal

Challenges abounded in 2014 for the process industries, and it does not look like they will let up soon. But then again, that’s life, as they say. After 40 years in the industry the old adages still ring true, “there is nothing new under the sun” and “the only constant is change.”

January/February 2015 Inspectioneering Journal
By Matthew Green at Neptune Research, Inc.

Engineered Composite Repair (ECR) systems are moving into mainstream usage at a faster pace than ever. This increased usage and exposure is working to push them into new frontiers and commands a more demanding understanding of their basic functions.

Partner Content

Whether Inspection Data Management Systems (IDMS) or Risk Based Inspection (RBI) software packages, converting from one software platform to another can prove to be a daunting task. Ensuring that each piece of data is carefully translated between packages and streamlining implementation tools are critical components in successful AIM software implementation and conversion.

Save Time and Cost for Turnarounds Using Phased Array Technology
November/December 2014 Inspectioneering Journal
By Terry M. Webb at BP, and Rajesh Bose at BP

The introduction of PAUT is a challenging effort initially, but can have a very positive impact on your first TAR and become a routine inspection for future TARs. When fully implemented, radiation safety boundaries can be reduced significantly or eliminated altogether.

The Top 10 Reasons for FEMI Failures in the Hydrocarbon Process Industries: Part 2
November/December 2014 Inspectioneering Journal
By John Reynolds at Intertek

Based on my 45+ years of experience working with fixed equipment mechanical integrity (FEMI) issues in the refining and petrochemical processing industry, this article summarizes what I believe are the top 10 reasons why pressure vessels and piping systems continue to fail, thus causing significant process safety events (e.g. explosions, fires, toxic releases, environmental damage, etc.).

New Technologies Present Opportunities for  Pipeline Asset Managers
January/February 2015 Inspectioneering Journal
By Steve Slusarenko at ProStar Geocorp, Inc., Layne Tucker at EchoRFID, and Jim Anspach at Cardno, Inc.

In the Oil & Gas business we have hundreds of event process chains, each of which bears a cost and contains certain elements of risk. So what can we do to reduce our burden and improve our business? Let’s take a look at the current state of affairs and then have a look at some new technologies that may offer us an opportunity to improve our lot.

The Critical Importance of Application Methodology in Epoxy Resin Success
January/February 2015 Inspectioneering Journal
By Clint Rupert at Engineered Resin Solutions (ERS)

Epoxy products have gone through extensive research and development over the years, and have reached the point that when specified for the correct environment, they should perform exactly as intended.

Avoiding 5 Common Pitfalls of Pressure Vessel Thickness Monitoring
July/August 2014 Inspectioneering Journal
By A.C. Gysbers at The Equity Engineering Group, Inc.

One of the more common inspection monitoring programs for pressure vessels is to perform thickness measurement at Corrosion Monitoring Locations (CMLs) to allow monitoring of minimum thicknesses and provide estimates for corrosion rates. These minimum thicknesses and corrosion rates are critical in supporting risk based inspection techniques or in setting half-life prescriptive re-inspection intervals.

November/December 2014 Inspectioneering Journal
By Scott Corey at Sentinel Integrity Solutions Inc.

One of the major challenges inspectors and plant operators face after each turnaround is to ensure that all repair and scope work is and was completed in accordance with the client’s requirements. Sometimes that verification will be to ensure work was completed in conjunction with the applicable codes, and sometimes that it was completed in conjunction with the client’s own in-house specifications.

July/August 2014 Inspectioneering Journal
By Marc Laplante at Meridium

One of the more popular topics discussed and debated vigorously in the asset management community is the potential impact of the ISO 55000 series of standards, which was just released in January of 2014 and is the first set of international standards addressing asset management.

November/December 2014 Inspectioneering Journal
By Alphonse W. Hegger Jr., P.E. at Stress Engineering Services

Today, more than ever, refinery operators are focused on maintaining safe operations for their employees and extending the life cycle of valuable operating equipment to optimize efficiencies and avoid expensive unforeseen shutdowns. When process unit corrosion assessments, RBI methodologies, and IOWs are properly integrated into refining operations, the result is improved safety and longer run times.

Sands of Time Create The Mechanical Integrity Compliance Officer (MICO)
November/December 2014 Inspectioneering Journal
By Marc McConnell, P.E. at PinnacleAIS, Jeannie Beth Richey at Sasol North America, Inc., and Josh Yoakam at Holly Refining and Marketing - Tulsa, LLC

The role of an API inspector is rapidly changing. Necessary skills for success have transformed as technology, standardization, and regulations have become part of the way of life.

Abnormal Cracks Led to Premature Decommissioning of  Boiler Feed Water Exchanger – What Happened and Why?
September/October 2014 Inspectioneering Journal
By Ana Benz at IRISNDT, Dr. Donald H. Timbres at D. & E. Consulting, Inc. , and Matt Stroh

A small leak from top tubesheet-to-tube welds prompted further inspection of the 1¼Cr- ½Mo Ammonia Converter Boiler Feed Water (BFW) Exchanger during a planned shutdown. Further cracks were identified in the top channel to tubesheet butt weld that operated at 700 °F.

Partner Content

In highly competitive market conditions, the proper development of turnaround work packages is critical to the success of any turnaround. At a minimum, there are seven documents that should be included in all turnaround work packages.

Stress Assisted Corrosion and Fitness for Service in 66 Year Old Boilers
September/October 2014 Inspectioneering Journal
By Amanda Nurse at BP, John Companik at BP, and Scott Vest at BP

Maintaining mechanical integrity for aging power boilers can be challenging. This article provides a case study on how mitigating one damage mechanism led to the discovery of another, and how refinery engineers collaborated with industry experts to fully understand an unfamiliar damage mechanism and perform a fitness for service assessment for the safe and reliable operation of power boilers.

The Top 10 Reasons for FEMI Failures in the Hydrocarbon Process Industries: Part 1
September/October 2014 Inspectioneering Journal
By John Reynolds at Intertek

Based on my 45+ years of experience working with fixed equipment mechanical integrity (FEMI) issues in the refining and petrochemical processing industry, this article summarizes what I believe are the top 10 reasons why pressure vessels and piping systems continue to fail, thus causing significant process safety events (e.g. explosions, fires, toxic releases, environmental damage, etc.).

The Changing Role of the Unit Inspector
July/August 2014 Inspectioneering Journal
By Marc McConnell, P.E. at PinnacleAIS, David Jordan at CVR Energy, and Grady Hatton at VERSA Integrity Group

One difficulty new company inspectors typically have is becoming comfortable in their new role. This is due to the fact that they have received little guidance about where they fit in with the "team." Where are they on the organization chart?

Effective Integrity Management Programs for Steam Reformers
November/December 2014 Inspectioneering Journal
By Kelsey Hevner at Quest Integrity Group

Steam reformers are critical assets for the successful operation of hydrogen, ammonia, and methanol plants. The steam reformer is also one of the most expensive assets in these facilities. Catalyst tubes inside the reformer are one of the most important and costly components.

A Roadmap for Successful Turnaround  Inspections, Part II: Turnaround Inspection Execution
July/August 2014 Inspectioneering Journal
By Scott Corey at Sentinel Integrity Solutions Inc.

In this issue of Inspectioneering Journal, I detail a roadmap for inspection activities during turnaround executions. This roadmap includes the critical elements of turnaround inspections, the keys to optimizing inspection activities, and the emerging challenges and solutions during these projects.

ABSA’s Unique Approach to Pressure Vessel Safety Administration
July/August 2014 Inspectioneering Journal

The Province of Alberta has a long history of pressure equipment safety dating back to 1897 when the first boiler laws were introduced to regulate the new technology of steam boilers. Boiler inspectors were hired, and soon thereafter the Alberta Boilers Branch was established as the government organization that administered those laws.

Leveraging RFID Technologies for  Pipeline Asset Management
September/October 2014 Inspectioneering Journal
By Layne Tucker at EchoRFID, and Peter Forster at ProStar

Recently developed RFID best practices provide an opportunity for pipeline businesses to transform their asset management and pipeline integrity management processes away from traditional paper-based systems to more efficient, highly-integrated electronic data solutions.

The Current State of Pipeline Integrity Management
September/October 2014 Inspectioneering Journal
By John Tiratsoo at Pipelines International

The pigging industry has developed a tremendous range of techniques and technologies, and it is probably fair to say that there are few pipelines in the world that cannot be cleaned and inspected, although the success of such operations will often depend on the available budget.

Criticality Assessment of Piping Systems for  Oil & Gas Facilities
May/June 2014 Inspectioneering Journal

Ensuring the integrity of process piping systems in the Oil & Gas industry (specifically those related to the ASME Code B31.3) is a key issue with respect to the process, business, safety, and the environment. However, in the current cost reduction environment, some companies are adopting a very risky strategy for piping systems where maintenance and inspection tasks are reduced and eliminated indiscriminately, without considering the relative importance of piping for the process.

Heater Tube Inspection and Remaining Life Evaluation
May/June 2014 Inspectioneering Journal

The following interview with Rich Roberts provides answers to some of the questions our readers have about small, specially designed pigs carrying NDE technologies that can inspect nearly every area of a tube from the coils interior surface.

The Importance of Taking a Systematic Approach to Pipeline Integrity
Partner Content

A safe pipeline is a combination of factors. Proper design, correct performance of pipe mills and vendors as well as good workmanship of contractors and proper operations and maintenance has to be managed and monitored.

May/June 2014 Inspectioneering Journal
By Hugo Julien, P.E. at GCM Consultants, Serge Bisson at GCM Consultants, and Guy St-Arneault, P.E. at GCM Consultants

Inspections, repairs, modifications, or Fitness-For-Service (FFS) assessments on an old, unfired ASME Section VIII (Div. 1) pressure vessel - Which ASME Section VIII (Div. 1) Code Edition should you use?

Fitness for Service from an RBI Point of View
May/June 2014 Inspectioneering Journal
By Luciano Narcisi at GIE

As an RBI consultant, I frequently get involved in discussions spawned from a misunderstanding of the relation between Risk Based Inspection (RBI) approaches and Fitness for Service (FFS) assessments. Questions like: If thickness is below the minimum required by design, why does the risk stay so low?

The Pathway to ASME PCC-1 2013 Appendix A Compliance and its Critical Importance
May/June 2014 Inspectioneering Journal
By Neil Ferguson at Hydratight

In November 2013, ASME released its updated PCC-1 guidelines for pressure boundary bolted flange joint assemblies. Contained within the document is Appendix A, which represents a major change from the previous 2010 release and is considered to be one of the most critically important changes for BFJA technicians, operators, and other industry professionals.

Achieving a Comprehensive Fired Heater Health Monitoring Program
September/October 2014 Inspectioneering Journal
By Tim Hill at Quest Integrity Group

For the past 30 years, infrared (IR) thermometry has been used to monitor tube metal temperatures in refining and chemical furnaces. Tracking temperature levels and variations determine performance capability limits and reliable tube life. However, the application of IR thermometry has often been characterized as highly operator dependent, which can result in less-than-optimal data accuracy as a consequence of poorly applied and interpreted results.

The Safety Advantages of Effective Dimensional Control
July/August 2014 Inspectioneering Journal
By Jerry Crawford at TGC Engineers

Piper Alpha is an offshore oil and gas platform that suffered an explosion in July 1988, still regarded as the worst offshore oil disaster in the history of the United Kingdom. The 25th anniversary of the disaster was commemorated across the country in July of 2013. The accident killed 165 out of 220 crew members, plus two crew from the standby vessel Sandhaven.

The Three Tiers of Most Fixed Equipment  Mechanical Integrity (FEMI) Programs
May/June 2014 Inspectioneering Journal
By John Reynolds at Intertek

There are typically three tiers to pass through for most fixed equipment mechanical integrity (FEMI) programs before they reach excellence in FEMI. In my 45 years in the FEMI business, I have observed FEMI programs in all three tiers (phases).

Optimize FPSO Operations through Certification and Risk Management
July/August 2014 Inspectioneering Journal
By Nicolas Legregeois at Bureau Veritas

More than 170 FPSOs currently operate worldwide with more expected to go into service over the next few years. The challenging environment in which these complex offshore energy assets operate requires safe and reliable systems that ensure continued production. Instituting appropriate independent inspection and certification regimens protects the substantial investment these vessels represent.

Assessing the Reduction in Spill Risk of the Keystone XL Special Conditions
May/June 2014 Inspectioneering Journal
By Sergio Oliva at Wild Well Control

An adequate characterization of the Keystone XL special conditions from the perspective of pipeline integrity and risk would be advantageous from the system onset for identifying latent flaws in the system spill prevention plans.

How Facilities Can Better Ensure SPCC Compliance
May/June 2014 Inspectioneering Journal
By Kelly Lagana at BLR

Several catastrophic spills over the past few years have sparked significant interest in oil spill prevention across the industry. Not only do facilities with large amounts of oil want to prevent environmental damage, loss of product, and civil lawsuits, but, assuming their operations are based in the United States, they must also comply with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) regulations.

Partner Content

It is difficult to cover all inspection applications with basic inspection procedures like radiography, ultrasonics, magnetic particle testing, and dye penetrant inspection. Owner-operators are finding that advanced NDE services such as guided-wave ultrasonics, AUT corrosion mapping, and eddy current testing are essential tools to keep their facilities operating safely and efficiently.

AIM Programs: Incorporation of all the Disciplines that Impact the Integrity of Infrastructure and Equipment
Partner Content

The goal of asset management is to effectively manage corporate assets in order to gain maximum value, profitability and returns, while safeguarding personnel, the community, and the environment. A true Asset Integrity Management program incorporates...