Inspectioneering Journal

Development of a New Assessment Tool to Improve Asset Integrity Management

By Mohammed R. Ashraf, Sr Integrity Engineer at Saudi Aramco, and Nasser M. Balhareth, Senior Engineering Consultant at Saudi Aramco. This article appears in the November/December 2022 issue of Inspectioneering Journal.


Saudi Aramco developed an asset integrity management system (AIMS) program and released a corresponding AIMS manual in 2015. This program was implemented across 34 departments of five areas of operations, which include our Southern Area Oil Operation (SAOO), Northern Area Oil Operation (NAOO), Gas Operation (GO), Refinery & NGL (R&NGL), and Pipeline, Distribution, and Terminal (PD&T).

The AIMS program was developed to complement Saudi Aramco’s corporate initiative of operational excellence to provide knowledge of asset integrity management and to help achieve the safe operation of Saudi Aramco assets. The program consists of four phases: Development (Plan), Execution (Do), Assessment (Check), and Continuous Improvement and Performance Monitoring (Adjust).

Assessment of the management system is one of the key activities to ensure the program is performing as per the intended objective, and the opportunities for improvement and excellence are identified. To improve the implemented AIMS program and streamline the process of assessment, Saudi Aramco has developed an in-house AIMS assessment tool referred to as the Integrity Management Assessment Tool (IMAT). This article will provide a detailed discussion of IMAT in hopes that other owner/operators may find it useful in their pursuit of operational excellence.

AIMS Program

Saudi Aramco’s AIMS program is one of the key programs supporting our corporate operational excellence management system. We define asset integrity as the ability of an asset to perform its intended function as per the design intent while safeguarding life, environment, and property. This means that all Saudi Aramco departments should have a program to ensure the function of safety-critical elements/equipment (SCE), through assurance and verification of assets critical tasks, as per the defined plan. SCEs are equipment (or systems) that could cause or contribute substantially to a major accident, and/or are used to prevent (or limit) the effects of a major accident.

Asset integrity provides focus on key equipment (SCE) function across eight integrity barriers to ensure that existing/inherent and/or developed threats should not turn into major incidents. This focus ensures the operating department personnel and management are aware of existing threats and gaps, critical equipment (SCE) integrity goal assurance, verification requirements, and regular assessment of system effectiveness and/or integrity status. Figure 1 represents the AIMS model based on James Reason’s Swiss Cheese Model of accident causation.

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Comments and Discussion

Posted by Professor David Newman on December 29, 2022
Thank you very much for this splendid article. I... Log in or register to read the rest of this comment.

Posted by Mohammad Rayaz Ashraf on January 3, 2023
Thank you, David, for your kind words about the... Log in or register to read the rest of this comment.

Posted by Shaj M on February 6, 2023
Very informative article. Log in or register to read the rest of this comment.

Posted by John Okon on February 12, 2023 (Edited on March 27, 2023)
Thank you Mohammed for this article. IMAT offers... Log in or register to read the rest of this comment.

Posted by Mohammad Rayaz Ashraf on March 26, 2023
Thank you, John, for your kind feedback about the... Log in or register to read the rest of this comment.

Posted by Mohammad Rayaz Ashraf on March 26, 2023
Thank you, Shaj, for the feedback. Log in or register to read the rest of this comment.

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