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Inspectioneering Journal

Announcing a Joint Industry Project on HTHA

This article appears in the July/August 2012 issue of Inspectioneering Journal

Editor’s note: We believe that the HTHA issue is an important one for industry and as such want to make as much information available to our readership as possible. We have recently learned of one organized joint industry project (JIP) that was announced at the Spring 2012 API Refining meeting. Another JIP was hinted at or suggested but was not yet organized, nor was a prospectus made available. As information becomes available we will present it to our readership.

This particular proposed Joint Industry Project (JIP) was announced by the Equity Engineering Group, Inc. at the API Refining and Standards meeting in Dallas last April. The proposal, which has been developed in association with the Materials Properties Council (MPC), has attracted the interest of several potential sponsors.

HTHA has long been a significant issue in the higher temperature Hydroprocessing arena, but recent events resulting in loss of life and other integrity concerns have focused more attention on this historic concern.

This is a highly difficult damage mechanism to locate and characterize. For example, there is currently no “Highly Effective” credit available for HTHA inspection effectiveness in the API RBI Recommended Practice 581. In many cases the current technology, operator expertise and approach for detection and assessment of HTHA may not provide the certainty desired to make decisions with the level of confidence desired. There is a generally felt need for more precise and quantitative techniques and for qualification of NDE personnel, as the consequences of failure can be catastrophic.

Per the organizers, the goal of this new refining and petrochemical JIP program is to improve HTHA detection capabilities, quantitatively establish detection levels for HTHA in vessels and piping, and develop protocols for sizing of associated damage. Additionally, materials with HTHA damage will be subjected to a variety of mechanical tests to establish and obtain requisite materials properties data. This data will be used to develop improved FFS assessment methods and RBI approaches to provide a basis for a more gradual, prioritized equipment replacement plan for equipment found to contain HTHA damage.

Some highlights of the program plan involve the following tasks:

  • Task 1: Obtain and characterize HTHA damage in CS and C-1/2 Mo samples; pipe, plate, forgings including welds
  • Task 2: Compare latest commercial and unique NDE methods for field detection and characterization of HTHA damage
  • Task 3: Determine mechanical properties of affected HTHA material from samples that are needed for FFS and RBI evaluations
  • Task 4: Develop and validate HTHA models for FFS assessments and RBI implementations
  • Task 5: Using the repository of samples from Task 1, set up performance-based qualification of inspection technicians

This industry program plans to develop a database of NDE results, FFS assessment procedures and RBI methodology for sponsors based on the characteristics of ex-service samples. Program results will be provided in reports and inspection details for the ex-service test samples during the two-year period of the program as they become available. NDE and mechanical testing will begin after an adequate sample inventory is characterized using enhanced inspection techniques.

This project is presented as a two-year effort with a project kick-off meeting at the September 2012 NACE/API New Orleans meeting. For more information on the project contact Mike Nugent at mjnugent@equityeng.com


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