Inspectioneering Journal

101 Essential Elements in a Pressure Equipment Integrity Management Program for the Hydrocarbon Process Industry - Part 2

By John Reynolds, Principal Consultant at Intertek. This article appears in the July/August 2000 issue of Inspectioneering Journal.
This article is part 2 of a 5-part series.
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3
Part 4 | Part 5


This paper outlines the 101 essential elements that need to be in place, and functioning well, to effectively and efficiently, preserve and protect the reliability and integrity of pressure equipment (vessels, exchangers, furnaces, boilers, piping, tanks, relief systems) in the refining and petrochemical industry. This paper is not just about minimum compliance with rules, regulations or standards; rather it is about what needs to be done to build and maintain a program of excellence in pressure equipment integrity that will permit owner-users to make maximum use of their physical assets to generate income. Compliance is not the key to success in PEIM; excellence is.

In part 1 of the article, which appeared in the May/June, 2000 issue of the IJ, I introduced the paper and provided some background on why and how the issues were being covered. It is against that background that I continue the article with 9 more of the 101 essential elements in a pressure equipment integrity management program for the hydrocarbon process industry.

There are at least 101 essential elements to any program aimed at preserving the mechanical integrity of stationary pressure equipment, in- service, in refining and chemical plants. Each of these 101 elements may need to be prioritized by site management, basis risk or current status of each element, in order to assign resources and schedule improvements in the work processes. However, the user must keep in mind that each of these 101 elements, regardless of work priority and resource limitations, needs to be implemented effectively, continuously, in order to avoid the potential for pressure equipment incidents. In other words, it is not a matter of choosing between the 101 elements and deciding that some are important and others are not. If anyone of these 101 elements is neglected long enough, there will be a potential for incidents involving the breech of containment, and the subsequent consequences, i.e. fires, explosions, toxic releases, environmental damage, personnel exposure to hazardous substances, and business interruption.

There is no real secret to achieving success in maintaining pressure equipment integrity at a high level. It’s simply doing all the things (101 of them), that need to be done, and doing them well, day after day, without let up, regardless of what the “hot program” of the month is, or regardless of what other priorities may get in the way. We must not let other distractions get in the way of effectively executing our PEIM programs, day after day.

Whenever I write or talk about this subject, I’m reminded that the Navy operates huge, complex nuclear aircraft carriers in war and peace, very effectively, and usually without incident. The potential for incidents is high, especially when launching and landing aircraft every few minutes, under stressful, noisy, congested conditions, often in the dark. They do it with a cadre of folks of average intelligence with an average age of about 21 years. How do they do it? Procedures, training, discipline, procedures, training, discipline, etc. We should be able to do the same in the hydrocarbon process industry.

One more thing before we continue. You may have already noticed that I have and will use the term “effective” on numerous occasions. Webster defines it as “producing a decided, decisive, or desired result”. And that’s exactly how I use it. I’ve seen a lot of time, money, and motion wasted on “supposedly” doing all the things described in this paper, without really being effective. It does no good to write procedures and best practices that are not effectively implemented or adhered to. It does no good if the necessary information to do the job is not transferred effectively to those who need the information. It does little good if the following issues are just a “flash in the pan”, and then take a back seat to the next “hot rock” of the day. Watch for the word “effective” through the remainder of this paper and think about what it really takes to get the desired results for each issue. So now let’s continue with 9 more essential elements:

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Posted by J. Patrick Williams on March 15, 2014
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