Inspectioneering Journal

A Discussion on the Piping Thickness Management Process - Part 4: Collecting Quality Thickness Data

By A.C. Gysbers, Refining Metallurgical and Corrosion Expert at Becht. This article appears in the May/June 2013 issue of Inspectioneering Journal.
This article is part 4 of a 5-part series.
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3
Part 4 | Part 5


Piping failures still represent a frustrating and ongoing problem for processing plants (example in Figure 1). Failures are still commonly reported and contribute to large losses. In the author’s experience, piping represents the highest percentage of fixed equipment failures in petroleum refining. There are of course many factors within a pressure equipment integrity program (PEIP) that can contribute to piping integrity problems, including design issues, operating window compliance, management of change issues, etc.

Figure 1. Example of Piping Failure in a Refinery
Figure 1. Example of Piping Failure in a Refinery

Five year loss totals in the refining sector have continued to trend upwards over the last few years. While the 2000-2006 period presented a drop in losses, the increasing trend is unlikely to have abated. Piping failures or leaks (corrosion or incorrect metallurgy) and start-up and shut-down events continue to be significant causes.

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