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Inspectioneering Journal

Understanding API 579 – Fitness-for-Service: Where It’s Been and Where It’s Going

Executive Q&A with David Osage, President and Principal Engineer at The Equity Engineering Group, Inc.

By Jeremiah Wooten, Managing Partner at Inspectioneering. This article appears in the March/April 2022 issue of Inspectioneering Journal.
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With the most recent update to the API 579/FFS-1, Fitness-for-Service standard in December 2021, we wanted to take a moment to provide a little background information on the document and why it’s important to our industry, as well as highlight some of the changes in the latest edition. So we reached out to David Osage, President and Principal Engineer at E2G | The Equity Engineering Group, Inc. to discuss 579; where it’s been, and where it’s going.

Mr. Osage has over 45 years of experience in the refining and petrochemical industry as both an owner-user and consultant, and is internationally recognized as an industry expert and leader in the development of and use of fitness-for-service technology. In fact, as the architect and principal author of API 579, he developed many of the assessment methodologies and supporting technical information used today. Perhaps that's why we've heard many people in different industry circles affectionately refer to him as the “Godfather of Fitness-for-Service.”

We hope you find our exchange both interesting and informative.

Inspectioneering Journal (IJ): Hi David. Thanks for joining us today to chat a little bit about FFS. I’d like to start by hearing how you originally got into the industry and what the early days of FFS looked like.

David Osage (DO): Sure thing. I started my career at Exxon in Florham Park, New Jersey, which I believe is now where the New York Jets training camp is located. In my time at Exxon, I was somewhat of a problem employee. I learned a lot, but I was a renegade in the company. After about 10 years at Exxon, I left and I was actually a builder and a carpenter for a while where I built custom houses and did renovations. We did very good work, but never made a dime. I learned that the whole house construction industry is a very difficult one.

From there, I rejoined the industry with British Petroleum in Cleveland, who was putting together a central group, and at the time British Petroleum had five refineries. At the same time, British Petroleum, Exxon, and several other companies were banding together to write a fitness-for-service document. Many companies were trying to do it on their own. Exxon was actually very successful in coming out with what I would really call one of the first fitness-for-service documents in the petroleum industry, but they had a hard time getting jurisdictional acceptance because it was an internal document. Around 1992, the Material Properties Council, under the direction of Doctor Martin Prager, formulated a joint industry project (JIP), and at the start of the project we had 45 companies, including all the major oil companies and many chemical companies. It was at that time that we really started our process of developing a fitness-for-service document.

In the beginning, the fundamental goal of the document was to write rules that would be accepted by jurisdictions. We also wanted to identify damage mechanisms because we always thought that was the Achilles heel of the whole fitness-for-service process. Two years later, after the start of the fitness-for-service project, the Material Properties Council organized a project to write industry documents on damage mechanisms covering petrochemical, fossil utility, and pulp and paper. Those documents were published as WRC bulletins and one of them became the first edition of API 571.

Now that damage mechanisms were somewhat covered and the Material Properties Council had produced a first draft document on fitness-for-service that some companies were using, we formulated a committee that, after working together for a number of years, produced the first published version of API 579 in 2000.

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Comments and Discussion

Posted by FERNANDO VICENTE on May 2, 2022
Fantastic summary very informative.Looking... Log in or register to read the rest of this comment.

Posted by Robert Muka on May 2, 2022
Thanks Jeremiah, very interesting and... Log in or register to read the rest of this comment.

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