Inspectioneering Journal

Profile on AGIP Refinery Inspection Department-Livorno, Italy

By Greg Alvarado, Chief Editor at Inspectioneering. This article appears in the November/December 2000 issue of Inspectioneering Journal.

Firstly, I want to thank the inspection/materials engineering/ corrosion department manager, Giovanni Graziani, for agreeing to my visit and for sharing experiences with the Inspectioneering Journal community. The hospitiality of Giovanni, two of his senior area inspectors, Alessandro Grassi and Sauro Benini and Edy Sgherri their IT support person, will not be forgotten, nor the excellent food and espresso in the cafeteria.

I had called the day prior from Pisa to confirm the site visit. The Agip inspection staff were eager to hear of challenges and progress of US refiners and industry activities such as API developments and direction, database systems, management of inspection processes, Risk based inspection, the processes by which US owner operators gain regulatory approval of advances/revisions to codes and standards practices and use of advanced NDE, especially for on-stream inspections.

Their challenges, questions and areas of emphasis are very similar to those in the US. The world truly does seem a small place at times and we really aren’t all that different. It seems one of the greatest hurdles for Italian owner users is what it takes to get regulatory rules changed, i.e. literally a change in government legislation. This takes years and must happen at the national/federal level in Italy, as opposed to local jurisdictional regulations in the US.

Background on the company and the refinery.....

On February 16, 1936 Agip, the Italian Railways and Montecatini founded A.N.I.C. (Associazione Nazionale Idrogenazione Combustile) to build and run the Livorno refinery. Production of fuels and lubricants began in 1938. Production came to an abrupt halt in August of 1943 when the refinery was destroyed by bombardment in World War II. Interestingly enough, after the September 8 armistice, the refinery was occupied and run by the Germans who later, during the withdrawal from Italy, transferred the principal structures to Austria. At the end of the war there was little of practical use left standing.

In 1948 STANIC S.p.A., an equal shareholding joint venture between ANIC and Standard Oil of New Jersey (ESSO) was set up to run the Livorno and Bari refineries.

The Livorno refinery completed revamping in 1954 and reached a processing capacity of 1,600,000 tonnes/year. In 1971 a Parliamentary decree authorized increasing the crude processing capacity to 5.2 million tonnes/year. This gives you an idea of the history and age of the facility.

Agip currently operate 7 refineries in Italy. Now back to the Livorno site......

Five senior area inspectors report to Giovanni. Sauro has responsibilities for overseeing inspection activities in the vacuum distillation, boilers and lube plant areas while Alessandro oversees the same activities in the fuel plants, pipelines and tank areas. Edy supplies contract support of their robust inspection database management system and is employed by SYS-DAT. Unfortunately, the other area inspectors were not available the day of my visit.

We started by touring their database program. The database management system was impressive. At the touch of the keyboard they had access to cross referenced equipment files including, plot plans that were linked to equipment drawings, inspection plans, materials of construction, piping specifications isometrics, and very concise corrosion documents, on average only a couple of pages long. These documents highlight the process, concerns related to potential equipment failure, parameters that could affect leaks or failure, damage mechanisms, NDE and materials of construction discussion.

A management of change program, monitoring key process variables that could lead to equipment failure was already in place and functioning. Also, an inspector could pull up process parameter details at any time to verify operating conditions.

Edy facilitated the tour of the database. She made it look easy and the demonstration went off without a single problem. The program logic seemed to flow very well. The level of integration and ability to migrate between levels was impressive. The integrated inspection database management system, GEISPE, was developed by SINF Engineering in Milan, now know as DEBIS.

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