Inspectioneering
Inspectioneering Journal

Acoustic Emission Testing for Corrosion Monitoring and Deferral of Storage Tank Turnarounds

By Muhammed Al-Lutfallah, Inspection Group Leader at Saudi Aramco, and Tamim O. Felemban, Inspection Engineer at Saudi Aramco. This article appears in the March/April 2020 issue of Inspectioneering Journal
5
Likes

Abstract

Storage tank turnarounds have both financial implications and impact supply chains. Owner-operators have deployed different on-stream corrosion monitoring and inspection techniques to assess storage tank conditions and explore opportunities for reducing downtime and postponing internal inspections. One of those opportunities is Acoustic Emission Testing (AET), which has been widely used to assess the extent of tank bottom corrosion and qualify storage tank turnaround deferrals. This article reviews the effectiveness of AET for inspecting tank bottoms in two ways; namely, benchmarking regulations in different countries and comparing AET and Magnetic Flux Leakage Testing (MFLT) results through a case study. The article also proposes a set of alternatives to using AET for tank bottom inspection and the deferral of internal inspection.

Introduction

Storage tanks play a vital role in the supply chain operations of the petroleum industry. Sometimes, the operational needs dictate deferring a storage tank outage for routine internal inspection and maintenance activities. In such instances, owner-operators will normally carry out evaluations as part of their risk management practices to aid in making a sound technical decision and ensure safety and the environment are not jeopardized.

Previous studies and field experience have revealed that the risk of failure to above-ground storage tanks highly depends on tank bottom conditions, and the dominant damage of tank bottoms is deterioration caused by corrosion on the product-side and/or the soil-side.[1] AET has been used by owner-operators for years as a tool to assess tank bottom conditions and to help qualify the deferral of scheduled internal inspections. The purpose of this article is to:

  • Benchmark the regulations for AET as a practice to assess the condition of tank bottoms and support the postponement of internal inspections.
  • Review the effectiveness of AET through real-world examples and a case study, comparing AET and Magnetic Flux Leakage Testing (MFLT) results.
  • Discuss a set of alternative decision-making tools to using AET that owner-operators may consider to assess tank bottom conditions and make decisions on internal inspection deferrals.

Overview of AET

This content is available to registered users and subscribers

Register today to unlock this article for free.

Create your free account and get access to:

  • Unlock one premium article of your choosing per month
  • Exclusive online content, videos, and downloads
  • Insightful and actionable webinars
GET STARTED
Interested in unlimited access? VIEW OUR SUBSCRIPTION OPTIONS

Current subscribers and registered users can log in now.


Comments and Discussion

Posted by Savet Playchum on May 6, 2020
Could you please specific your criteria setting... Log in or register to read the rest of this comment.

Add a Comment

Please log in or register to participate in comments and discussions.


Inspectioneering Journal

Explore over 20 years of articles written by our team of subject matter experts.

Company Directory

Find relevant products, services, and technologies.

Job Postings

Discover job opportunities that match your skillset.

Case Studies

Learn from the experience of others in the industry.

Event Calendar

Find upcoming conferences, training sessions, online events, and more.

Industry News

Stay up-to-date with the latest inspection and asset integrity management news.

Blog

Read short articles and insights authored by industry experts.

Acronyms

Commonly used asset integrity management and inspection acronyms.

Downloads

Downloadable eBooks, Asset Intelligence Reports, checklists, white papers, and more.

Videos

Watch educational and informative videos directly related to your profession.

Expert Interviews

Inspectioneering's archive of interviews with industry subject matter experts.