Risk-based Inspection (RBI)

Last update: July 2, 2015

Risk-Based Inspection (RBI) is a methodology that, as opposed to condition-based inspection, involves quantitative assessment of the probability of failure (PoF) and the consequence of failure (CoF) associated with each equipment item, piping circuits included, in a particular process unit. A properly-implemented RBI program categorizes individual pieces of equipment by their risks and prioritizes inspection efforts based on this categorization.

RBI is used to identify and understand risk drivers to prioritize inspection-related activities, usually by means of nondestructive examination (NDE) to reduce the uncertainties around the true damage state of the equipment and the dynamics leading to such. The resulting inspection plan outlines the type and scheduling of inspection for an asset. In addition to NDE, additional risk mitigation activities identified by a RBI assessment might include a change in material of construction, installation of corrosion resistant liners, operating condition changes, injection of corrosion inhibition chemicals, etc.

Codes and Standards

International engineering standards and practices that relate to risk-based inspection include API RP 580 and 581, ASME PCC-3, and RIMAP. API RP 580 is an example of the minimum guidelines for implementation of an effective, credible RBI program. API RP 581 is an example of an RBI methodology's technical basis.

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Effective End of Useful Life Strategies for Pressure Equipment
July/August 2015 Inspectioneering Journal
By Greg Alvarado at Inspectioneering Journal

Asset managers need to know when repairs and replacement are required for many reasons, including safe operation, accurate budgeting, replacement planning, and on-going reliability. When predicting design life based on a simple, linear corrosion rate versus remaining thickness, metallurgical degradation, or crack propagation rates are often not accurate or realistic. Even if the models are good, things change.

Repair Strategies for Civil Structures Utilizing New Risk Based Inspection Methodology
May/June 2015 Inspectioneering Journal
By Amanda Nurse at BP, and Josh Havekost at BP

Assessing risk is an integral part of working at a refinery. Infrastructure supporting the miles of piping, process vessels, and the platforms and ladders used in daily unit operations are often taken for granted. The Civil Structures Management Program (CSMP) at the BP Whiting Refinery was developed in 2004. Since the program’s inception, millions of dollars have been spent in the yearly execution of refinery structural repairs.

Achieve Comprehensive Reliability by Combining RBI and RCM
March/April 2015 Inspectioneering Journal
By Walt Sanford at PinnacleART

Today, many managers are finding that they can address the reliability of all types of assets by combining RBI and Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM) processes together into one comprehensive reliability management process.

January/February 2015 Inspectioneering Journal
By Greg Alvarado at Inspectioneering Journal

Challenges abounded in 2014 for the process industries, and it does not look like they will let up soon. But then again, that’s life, as they say. After 40 years in the industry the old adages still ring true, “there is nothing new under the sun” and “the only constant is change.”

February 9, 2015

I recently received an inquiry about performing risk-based inspection (RBI) at the design stage of a unit. More specifically, I was asked if it was possible to start an RBI project in the Front End Engineering Design (FEED) phase even though the PFD and P&IDs have not yet been approved.

November/December 2014 Inspectioneering Journal
By Alphonse W. Hegger Jr., P.E. at Stress Engineering Services

Today, more than ever, refinery operators are focused on maintaining safe operations for their employees and extending the life cycle of valuable operating equipment to optimize efficiencies and avoid expensive unforeseen shutdowns. When process unit corrosion assessments, RBI methodologies, and IOWs are properly integrated into refining operations, the result is improved safety and longer run times.

Risk Based Inspection Planning and Scheduling
November 17, 2014

One of the most significant advancements to come along in the fixed equipment mechanical integrity (FEMI) business in the past two decades is the application of risk-based inspection (RBI) for inspection prioritization, planning, and scheduling. The most important standard for RBI in the petroleum and petrochemical industry is API RP 580.

Fitness for Service from an RBI Point of View
May/June 2014 Inspectioneering Journal
By Luciano Narcisi at GIE

As an RBI consultant, I frequently get involved in discussions spawned from a misunderstanding of the relation between Risk Based Inspection (RBI) approaches and Fitness for Service (FFS) assessments. Questions like: If thickness is below the minimum required by design, why does the risk stay so low?

Criticality Assessment of Piping Systems for  Oil & Gas Facilities
May/June 2014 Inspectioneering Journal
By Fernando Vicente at ABB Consulting

Ensuring the integrity of process piping systems in the Oil & Gas industry (specifically those related to the ASME Code B31.3) is a key issue with respect to the process, business, safety, and the environment. However, in the current cost reduction environment, some companies are adopting a very risky strategy for piping systems where maintenance and inspection tasks are reduced and eliminated indiscriminately, without considering the relative importance of piping for the process.

April 21, 2014

A paper was presented at the 68th Conference of the Italian Thermal Machines Engineering Association entitled Updated Failure Rates and Risk Management in the Process Industries. It was presented in October 2013 by INAIL, an Italian insurance association. The presentation included a thorough analysis of generic failure frequencies used in various American, European, and other sources dating back to 1970.

March 10, 2014

Is it possible to develop an internal RBI program without depending on third-party/commercial software?

February 24, 2014

The following exchange took place on Inspectioneering's LinkedIn group and represents one of many practical mechanical integrity discussions submitted by industry professionals.

Four of our most popular articles related to Risk Based Inspection Methodology
February 17, 2014

Those of you who have followed Inspectioneering for any amount of time understand that we publish a vast amount of content dealing with risk based inspection (RBI) methodology. Ever since it was first developed and used in the process industries, RBI has become more and more popular with facilities. One of our authors has gone as far as to call it a major result of the third maintenance revolution.

Partner Content

Wish you had an easy button to manage unexpected downtime, aging facilities, increasing government regulations and the retirement of your workforce? PinnacleART’s comprehensive reliability programs integrate RBI and RCM into one efficient solution that allows facilities to more easily and effectively manage risk, ensure compliance and optimize costs.

Partner Content

Wish you had an easy button to manage unexpected downtime, aging facilities, increasing government regulations and the retirement of your workforce? PinnacleART’s comprehensive reliability programs integrate RBI and RCM into one efficient solution that allows facilities to more easily and effectively manage risk, ensure compliance and optimize costs.

February 3, 2014

Experts surround themselves with other experts. When it comes to advanced asset integrity management concepts such as risk-based inspection (RBI), it's important to build a strong understanding of the subject through technical publications and training, but one should also learn from the experiences of others who are intimately familiar with the subject.

Non-Intrusive Inspection of Above Ground Storage Tanks and Its Use in a Tank RBI Program
September/October 2013 Inspectioneering Journal
By Sam Ternowchek at Mistras Group

Maintaining the mechanical integrity of above ground storage tanks (AST’s) is the focal point of tank inspection programs. Performing internal inspections is an integral part of a tank integrity program, however, deciding when to take a tank out of service to perform an internal inspection is not an easy determination to make.