Joint Integrity Management

Preventing leaks is extremely important for operators in the oil and gas and chemical processing industries. Joint Integrity Management is the practice of designing, inspecting, and maintaining bolted joints to prevent the occurrence of leaks, which can lead to delayed production, unplanned shutdowns, and process safety incidents. When leaks do occur, they can often be very costly. Thus, operators should always be looking for ways to prevent them from occurring in the first place.[1]

There are several essential elements in an effective joint integrity management program.[2]  They are:

  1. Ownership,
  2. Best Practices,
  3. Criticality Assessments,
  4. Proper Training,
  5. Record Keeping,
  6. In Service Inspections,
  7. Leak Management, and
  8. Learning and Continuous Improvement. 

When it comes to ownership, every joint integrity management program should have an established owner. This person needs to be responsible for implementing the program and carrying out periodic maintenance. They also need to be in charge of setting expectations for the program and monitoring its effectiveness. Next, it’s important to encourage the use of best practices when constructing joints. After construction, all joints should undergo criticality assessments. This helps to determine what types of inspection and testing they will need. Everyone involved with the program should be properly trained. They should know why the integrity management program is in place and how it works. Likewise, any personnel who inspect, repair, or install the joints should be properly trained in their job. Proper records should be kept on all activities performed on all joints. Having this information is helpful for future inspections and maintenance activities. In-service inspections are important for any joint integrity management program. Everyone involved with the management program should be trained to effectively gather data on the joints.[2] 

This information should be reviewed regularly in order to establish trends. Ultimately, the point of all of these tasks is to preserve the integrity of the joint and to manage and prevent leaks. Beyond just prevention, another significant part of leak management is dealing with leaks when they occur. This includes both repairing the leak and determining why it happened.

Finally, it is important to periodically review the leak reports, inspection data, and system records. This should be done in order to determine how effective the system is and how it can be improved in the future.[2]
 

References

  1. http://www.hydratight.com/sites/default/files/downloads/media/ht-jims-e-06-08-hydratight-jims-brochure-uk.pdf
  2. http://www.wellheadservices.net/techdocs/guidance_on_bolted_joints.pdf

 

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Articles
  • July/August 2016 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Neil Ferguson at Hydratight

    Joint integrity management remain at the top of many operators’ priority list.  The discipline considers risk and drives safety to ensure we learn necessary lessons from past catastrophic failures, such as the Piper Alpha explosion in 1988, where leaking gas condensate ignited and killed 167 of the 229 people on board the offshore rig.

  • May/June 2016 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Neil Ferguson at Hydratight

    Large scale capital projects present a myriad of challenges for owner-users in the oil and gas and petrochemical industries. Budgets are constantly being stretched and project deadlines are often exceeded. One area that deserves attention from all parties involved is joint integrity management.

  • July/August 2015 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Neil Ferguson at Hydratight

    With the increasing demand for oil, gas, and petrochemical products in a highly competitive market, products and services irrespective of their origin must satisfy customer quality requirements. Additionally, the needs to ensure quality control and regulatory compliance are now more scrutinized and critical than ever.

  • May/June 2014 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Neil Ferguson at Hydratight

    In November 2013, ASME released its updated PCC-1 guidelines for pressure boundary bolted flange joint assemblies. Contained within the document is Appendix A, which represents a major change from the previous 2010 release and is considered to be one of the most critically important changes for BFJA technicians, operators, and other industry professionals.

  • Online Article

    The bolted connection is a critical and complex component in any pressurized system, on typical Oil and Gas projects there will be many thousands of joints all of which need managing through Design, Fabrication Completion, Commissioning and Operation. The consequences of failure of any individual joint can cause severe Health, Safety, Environmental or Commercial issues. Implementing an up to date Flange Management strategy based on industry best practices at the FEED stage and in detailed design has a number of benefits.

  • March/April 2014 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Neil Ferguson at Hydratight

    Joint integrity programs (JIP) should be an integral part of every refinery, petrochemical, production, or other industrial-complex facility operations.

  • January/February 2014 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Neil Ferguson at Hydratight

    If necessity is the mother of invention, then the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are the parents of guidelines, standards, and regulations that help keep industrial operations safe for humans and the environment.

  • Online Article

    Leak related problems in bolted assemblies are an ongoing issue for virtually all facilities in the chemical, petrochemical, and refining industries. From leak detection to leak prevention, operators need knowledgeable and experienced technicians to address these issues before they become a serious problem. Recently, our friend and media partner, Inspectioneering Journal (IJ), sat down with Dave Godfrey of INTEGRA Technologies to see how INTEGRA is addressing these challenges.

  • September/October 2009 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Warren Brown at The Equity Engineering Group, Inc., Wayne McKenzie at Syncrude Canada, and Shane Ryan at Syncrude Canada

    Leakage of pressure vessel and piping bolted joints in refineries is an unnecessary hazard, with high associated cost, that can be easily rectified using currently available technology. There have been advances in gasket testing technology in recent years that have allowed great improvements to be made in the specification of gaskets for refinery applications. This minimizes the likelihood of joint leakage and results in reduce operating cost. In addition, there have also been advances in joint assembly procedures that have enabled significant reduction in joint assembly times, while resulting in a better final gasket stress distribution and therefore lower likelihood of leakage.

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