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Inspectioneering Journal

11 Primary Elements to Ensure Asset Integrity in the Lifecycle of Oil and Gas Facilities

By Wenwu Shen, Mechanical Engineer at Saudi Aramco, Rashed Alhajri, Inspection and Corrosion Engineer at Saudi Aramco, Nasser M. Balhareth, Division Head - Asset Reliability and Integrity Management at Saudi Aramco, and Dr. Zhenzhu Wan, Geochemist at Saudi Aramco. This article appears in the September/October 2020 issue of Inspectioneering Journal.
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Introduction

Understanding asset integrity and its integrated management framework is important in order to sustain the integrity of assets in the oil and gas industry. Companies are looking to maximize their return on investment while operating their physical assets safely and in an environmentally conscious manner. To accomplish that goal, resources need to be utilized effectively and efficiently, and equipment failures need to be proactively avoided. This article will discuss eleven primary elements that make up an asset integrity management program (AIM). These elements cover all integrity aspects of the industry and the assets themselves. The elements are as follows:

  1. Risk assessment,
  2. Engineering,
  3. Construction and fabrication quality control and assurance,
  4. Integrity operating windows,
  5. In-service inspection,
  6. Corrosion management,
  7. Management of change,
  8. Reliability centered maintenance,
  9. Failure investigation and lessons learned,
  10. Asset data management, and
  11. Assessments and audits.

Properly implementing these elements will provide sustainable asset integrity during oil and gas production and processing. 

Asset Integrity Management (AIM) [1][2][3] is a systematic approach that helps plants operate in a safe, reliable, profitable, and environmentally responsible manner. AIM’s emergence and widespread application followed some major industrial accidents, such as the incidents at the Piper Alpha platform and BP Texas City Refinery. As a common practice in the industry, there are various programs, including process safety management, in plants to ensure overall asset integrity, such as Risk-based Inspection (RBI), Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM), Integrity Operating Windows (IOW), and Management of Change (MOC). Even though these programs bear different objectives, they all share a common goal of ensuring safe and reliable operation. Moreover, there should be healthy connections between them, with some overlap, as they are designed to supplement each other for maximum benefit. AIM is defined as a management system that is structured to ensure the ability of an asset to perform its designed function effectively and efficiently while preventing incidents which can impact safety and health. In the industry, mechanical equipment failures can cause major incidents, drastically affecting people both inside and outside the facilities. This can have a severe impact, not only on a company’s reputation, but on its workers, the environment and the public. 

Understanding the AIM structural framework enables a plant to...

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