Inspectioneering

Risk-Based Inspection (RBI) is an analysis methodology and process that, as opposed to condition-based inspection, requires qualitative or 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, risk drivers, and where equipment is in its lifecycle. RBI can indicate whether inspection is needed; however this requires additional data that is extremely targeted to reduce the underlying uncertainties associated with the risks about the current and future predicted damage state of the equipment. RBI should not be used to recommend any inspection when it will not improve knowledge about the damage state. In those cases, where PoF is driving the risk, RBI should point to other mitigation options such as replacement, repair, or other actions that satisfy the risk criteria.

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

Consistency and repeatability of analysis are critical to producing an effective RBI program, as RBI is based on relative risks. Caution should be used when mixing RBI platforms (e.g., using a qualitative method to perform the initial screening and quantitative methods to conduct the final analysis). Complementary methodologies must be calibrated against one another to ensure valid cut sets are achieved.

International engineering standards and practices that relate to risk-based inspection include, but are not limited to, API RP 580 and 581, ASME PCC-3, and RIMAP. API RP 580 sets out the minimum guidelines for implementing an effective, credible RBI program. API RP 581 details the procedures and methodology of RBI.

 

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Articles
  • May/June 2017 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Dr. Brian Cane at TLV, Co.

    Steam systems account for almost a third of the energy used in industrial applications for product output. Maintaining their integrity and efficiency is vital. Learn how an effective risk-management process aids in the optimization of these critical assets.

  • March/April 2017 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Vibha Zaman, P.E. at Asset Optimization Consultants, and Leomar Penuela at Asset Optimization Consultants

    This article discusses the use of the RBI methodology supplemented by a well-designed IOW program to assess and manage aging in fixed equipment and piping in hydrogen generation units.

  • January/February 2017 Inspectioneering Journal

    Historically, if asked when or how likely an austenitic series stainless steel component is to crack, corrosion engineers usually answered “very” or “maybe” or, later, “I didn’t see that coming.” With the introduction of API’s formal risk assessment methodology, that situation has changed over the past 20 years.

  • January/February 2017 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Israel D. Martinez at ORPIC

    Evaluating remaining wall thickness of an asset is not enough to ensure its continued safe operation. Proactive strategies should be implemented to assess the entire environment affecting an asset’s condition, including the development of more effective inspection plans.

  • January/February 2017 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Edwin A. Merrick, PE at The Augustus Group

    This article presents a perspective on the human factor and emphasizes the value of using risk tools at all levels in the organization to help provide management focus during times of severe economic pressure.

  • Partner Content

    Offshore platforms are exposed to some of the roughest conditions on earth and require regular attention to ensure they are structurally sound and safe for continued operation. With so many components and major joints at elevated locations, it is clear why a well-trained rope access technician can be an invaluable resource for offshore operators.

  • November/December 2016 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Loganatha Pandian at Meridium, Inc.

    This article summarizes seven key questions that an organization needs to answer to create a robust mechanical integrity program that is properly designed to monitor corrosion and indicate when issues increase to a level requiring review or maintenance.

  • November/December 2016 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Greg Alvarado at Inspectioneering Journal

    Human factors, inspection effectiveness, and RBI all play an important role in running an effective asset management program. This article discusses how each is applicable to inspecting equipment in processing facilities.

  • November/December 2016 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Lynne Kaley at Trinity Bridge LLC / Trinity Bridge Digital

    This paper provides the background for the technology behind the Third Edition thinning model as well as step-by-step worked examples demonstrating the methodology for thinning in this new edition of API RP 581.

  • September/October 2016 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Greg Alvarado at Inspectioneering Journal

    Risk-based inspection (RBI) programs and processes are front and center, both as a challenge to get it right, and as an integral tool and process to help us achieve success in risk management and equipment reliability. It has to be implemented, maintained, sustained, and in a state of continuous improvement over time in order to achieve the desired results.

  • September/October 2016 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Kevin Birkby at PinnacleART

    Integrity and reliability personnel at processing facilities are no strangers to initiatives to improve processes in the pursuit of establishing best-in-class reliability programs. It is common practice for operators to enlist help from third parties that specialize in implementation of programs like Risk-Based Inspection (RBI) and Asset Management.

  • Partner Content

    FFS assessment techniques are applicable to a wide range of damage types: LTA's, cracks, creep damage, dents, and more. These are very powerful analytical tools that often allow operators to not only keep the plant running, but to keep it running safely.

  • Blog
    October 13, 2016 By Nick Schmoyer at Inspectioneering

    Over 20 years ago, in the January/February 1996 issue of Inspectioneering Journal, we invited readers to participate in a brief survey concerning industry and non-industry topics. We recently unearthed the results to this survey and I thought our readers might get a kick out of some of the questions and responses.

  • July/August 2016 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Guy Bogar at HollyFrontier - Tulsa Refinery

    Turnarounds operate at a different pace than routine work. Most plant-based inspection departments have historically struggled with Turnaround document control, such as integrating contractor reports into their routine data management system. Our solution was to execute RBI updates in real time during Turnaround execution.

  • July/August 2016 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Grady Hatton at Versa Integrity Group, and Melissa Guerra at Chevron Products Company

    Many plants inspect PRDs on preset intervals as recommended by inspection code API 510, and implement inspection practices such as API RP 576. Just seeking PRD compliance with codes and standards usually results in mediocre mechanical integrity and process safety. Companies must go further to climb the ladder to “excellence.”

  • Blog
    July 15, 2016 By Greg Alvarado at Inspectioneering Journal

    Anyone who knows me knows that Risk Based Inspection (RBI) and Risk Management are true passions of mine. I have dedicated much of my career to studying them, understanding their intricacies, and witnessing the benefits of their successful implementation. This article briefly discusses the history of RBI and provides a short, yet persuasive justification for investing in establishing an effective RBI program.

  • Online Article

    Here are five common misconceptions about RBI that should not prevent you from gaining a more advanced understanding of the true state of your site's equipment. After all, the more we know, the better we can manage equipment integrity and make run/inspect/modify/repair/replace decisions.

  • Partner Content

    LOTIS utilizes laser profilometry to conduct internal steam reformer tube inspections. The data captured by LOTIS is exceptionally powerful when combined with our LifeQuest™ remaining life assessment capabilities, providing an integrated solution set for the process and syngas industries.

  • May/June 2016 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Dr. Yury Sokolov at SVT Engineering Consultants

    RBI and NII are designed to achieve significant cost savings and risk mitigation benefits over a piece of equipment’s lifetime in the long term (e.g. through greater reliability and inspection optimization). It is important to strategically consider new NDE technologies to obtain data of sufficient confidence to satisfy the requirements of the risk model.

  • Blog
    May 16, 2016 By Valerie Magyari at The Equity Engineering Group, Inc.

    When was the last time you reviewed your Risk-Based Inspection (RBI) methodology? Are you using calculation procedures for probability of failure, consequence of failure, and risk that haven’t had their basis reviewed in years?

  • March/April 2016 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Tim Hill at Quest Integrity Group

    Achieving fired heater reliability in conjunction with meeting performance standards can be a challenging feat. Performance is a measure of the degree to which the fired heater is in an operable condition at any given time.

  • Online Article

    Updated editions of both API 570 and API RP 580 were recently released by the American Petroleum Institute.

  • January/February 2016 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Greg Alvarado at Inspectioneering Journal

    The enormous decline in oil prices over the past 14 months has definitely slowed projects and changed the energy and production landscape. Despite this, refineries, petrochemical plants, and chemical facilities must continue to run safely, responsibly, and reliably.

  • Partner Content

    AIM systems should ensure that the your facility’s MI software is accurately performing the calculations needed to calculate minimum thickness, long/short term corrosion rates and remaining life used to predict future inspection intervals. They should evaluate your MI software’s basic design and corrosion monitoring variables.

  • January/February 2016 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Vipin Nair at Meridium

    Pipeline management remains fraught with safety risks for operators and the environment. Last year, the Ontario Energy Board determined that a $12 billion oil pipeline proposed by TransCanada Corp. would pose more risks than rewards for the province.

  • Online Article

    Offshore platforms pipelines, terminals and downstream facilities, are costly to build, operate and maintain, so it’s imperative that operators keep tight control over the total life-cycle cost of all associated 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Partner Content

    Our proprietary furnace tube inspection system, FTIS™, is an ultrasonic inspection technology capable of rapid, automated fired heater coil inspection in refinery fired heaters. The data captured by our furnace tube inspection system is exceptionally powerful when combined with our LifeQuest™ remaining life assessment capabilities, providing an integrated solution set for refinery fired heaters in the refining and chemical industries.

  • 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.”

  • Blog
    February 9, 2015 By Greg Alvarado at Inspectioneering Journal

    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...

  • 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.

  • Blog
    November 17, 2014 By John Reynolds at Intertek

    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.

  • 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?

  • Partner Content

    It is difficult to cover all inspection applications with basic inspection procedures like radiography, ultrasonics, magnetic particle testing, and dye penetrant inspection. Owner-operators are finding that advanced NDE services such as guided-wave ultrasonics, AUT corrosion mapping, and eddy current testing are essential tools to keep their facilities operating safely and efficiently.

  • May/June 2014 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Fernando Vicente at ABB

    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.

  • Blog
    April 21, 2014 By Greg Alvarado at Inspectioneering Journal

    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.

  • Blog
    March 31, 2014 By Nick Schmoyer at Inspectioneering

    Occasionally, we like to provide recaps of articles written by our authors on a specific subject related to asset integrity management. This week, we're highlighting four of our most popular articles written about storage tank inspection.

  • Blog
    March 10, 2014

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

  • Blog
    February 17, 2014 By Nick Schmoyer at Inspectioneering

    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

    Facilities are facing increasing challenges, including justifying inflated budgets, managing contractor hours, ensuring regulatory compliance and qualifying the work being completed. To help facilities manage evolving inspection requirements, PinnacleART offers Fixed-Price Inspection (FPI), meaning we will develop and execute a comprehensive Risk-Based Inspection plan for one fixed-price. Yes, you read that right – one fixed-price.

  • 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.

  • Blog
    September 9, 2013 By Greg Alvarado at Inspectioneering Journal

    We’ve been discussing Scalable Accuracy and its use related to Lifecycle Management technologies available to owner/operators. The last few topics have included Risk Based Inspection, Fitness for Service using Accuracy, the approach for Equipment Lifecycle Management and, to lay the foundation for proper thinking, making the case for Scalable Accuracy.

  • Blog
    September 3, 2013 By Greg Alvarado at Inspectioneering Journal

    We’ve been discussing Scalable Accuracy and its use related to Lifecycle Management technologies available to owner/operators. The last few topics have included Fitness for Service using Scalable Accuracy, the approach for Equipment Lifecycle Management and, to lay the foundation for proper thinking, making the case for Scalable Accuracy. In a continuation on the topic, this week’s blog will cover Risk-Based Inspection (RBI).

  • Blog
    August 19, 2013 By Greg Alvarado at Inspectioneering Journal

    Continuing from last week’s blog, I want to go in depth into scalable accuracy for fixed equipment lifecycle management. In this post, I want to outline the scalable accuracy approach to fixed equipment lifecycle management.

  • Blog
    August 19, 2013 By Greg Alvarado at Inspectioneering Journal

    Continuing from last week’s blog, I want to go in depth into scalable accuracy for fixed equipment lifecycle management. In this post, I want to outline the scalable accuracy approach to fixed equipment lifecycle management.

  • Partner Content

    The Vanta handheld XRF is Olympus’ first full spectrum PMI analyzer that is IP65 rated and drop tested. The analyzer provides accurate, repeatable material chemistry and alloy grade matching in as little as 1–2 seconds. Operation is simple with an intuitive touch screen and swipe interface. Optional Wi-Fi, with the Olympus Scientific Cloud, provides seamless connectivity for efficient data and fleet management.

  • Blog
    August 12, 2013 By Greg Alvarado at Inspectioneering Journal

    In the next few blog posts, we will be going in depth on scalable accuracy. This post walks through the thinking needed prior to initiating. Then we will discuss two technologies immediately available to plant operators for fixed equipment life-cycle maintenance: Risk Based Inspection (RBI) and Fitness for Service (FFS).

  • Blog
    June 10, 2013 By Greg Alvarado at Inspectioneering Journal

    This post is the last in a series about Risk Basked Inspection (though, of course, this will not be the last time I discuss RBI). The earlier posts were on reasons for RBI, defining risk, and on managing risk. In this post, I want to talk about uncertainty, risk thresholds, and damage factor targets.

  • Blog
    June 3, 2013 By Greg Alvarado at Inspectioneering Journal

    This is the third of four blogs in a series about Risk Based Inspection (RBI). You can read the previous blogs on a history and reasons for RBI and on starting to define risk. This post deals with the second half of the equation used to define risk...

  • Blog
    May 28, 2013 By Greg Alvarado at Inspectioneering Journal

    This is the second of four blog posts on Risk Based Inspection, or RBI. The first post covered a brief history and started the discussion on why you would want to use RBI. The next step is defining risk. 

  • Blog
    May 20, 2013 By Greg Alvarado at Inspectioneering Journal

    Anyone who knows me knows that Risk Based Inspection (RBI), and Risk Management, are a passion of mine, so my next few posts will feature these topics. These are not all-inclusive, but Inspectioneering.com has dozens of articles and you can join our LinkedIn Group for more.

  • Partner Content

    PinnacleART’s engineers and inspectors can help your facility define, prioritize and mitigate risks within your facility. Let our team build, implement and maintain a comprehensive mechanical integrity and RBI program for your pressure vessels, heat exchangers, towers, storage tanks, piping, pump casings, pressure relief valves, critical check valves and more.

  • May/June 2013 Inspectioneering Journal
    By John Reynolds at Intertek

    One of the reasons we continue to have too many fixed equipment mechanical integrity (FEMI) events in the refining and process industries is the lack of understanding and appreciation by site management for the hazards posed by the 101 FEMI issues.

  • May/June 2013 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Fernando Vicente at ABB

    Industrial furnaces are used extensively throughout the entire oil and gas industry, as well as other process industries such as pulp and paper, metals and mining, chemical, and petrochemical. An industrial furnace, or direct fired heater, is a piece of equipment used to provide heat for processing or can serve as a reactor which provides heat for the reaction.

  • Blog
    April 29, 2013 By Greg Alvarado at Inspectioneering Journal

    This is my second of three posts on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) based on requests and discussions on the issue.  In part 1 of this series I provided a brief overview of KPIs and their ability to predict good, poor, and sometimes dangerous performance in our quests to achieve certain objectives and goals.

  • Blog
    March 3, 2013 By Greg Alvarado at Inspectioneering Journal

    This is a question with which I frequently like to start the API RBI 580/581 training course when I am instructing. It is meant to provoke the attendees to really think hard about why they order an inspection or really think about inspection strategies.

  • November/December 2012 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Ryan Corn at Marathon Petroleum Company LP, and Matthew K. Caserta, PE at BASF

    As refiners continue operating aging infrastructure, safe operation and equipment availability continue to be key components of a sustainable operation. When considering optimizing inspection projects, more and more refiners are making Risk-Based Inspection (RBI) an integral part of their plan processes. When applied properly, RBI can focus inspection efforts using risk as a basis for prioritizing and managing an in-service inspection program.

  • Partner Content

    The problem is, you don’t. With the out of date procedures that traditional inspection contractors use, data is usually invalid by the time it reaches your system. You rely on this data to make critical decisions regarding integrity concerns, and with the exorbitant amount of money you pay for the data, it should be accurate and delivered in real-time.

  • September/October 2012 Inspectioneering Journal
    By A.C. Gysbers at The Equity Engineering Group, Inc.

    Piping failures still represent a frustrating and ongoing problem for processing plants (example in Figure 1). Failures are commonly reported and contribute to large losses. As well per the author’s experience, piping still represents the highest percentage of the number of fixed equipment failures in petroleum refining.

  • July/August 2012 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Greg Alvarado at Inspectioneering Journal

    The question of how to set risk targets is a logical one and should be addressed prior to or in the very early stages of RBI implementation. This article will guide readers through the basic elements required to address this question within an organization, as all companies do not have the same risk philosophy and can adapt these elements to fit their own.

  • March/April 2012 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Fernando Vicente at ABB

    Air-cooled heat exchangers (AC-HEs) are used extensively throughout the oil and gas industry, from upstream production to refineries and petrochemical plants, under high pressure and high temperature conditions, as well as corrosive fluids and environments. Some defects and discontinuities can be introduced during the heat exchanger manufacturing process and are not necessarily found as part of QA/QC inspections.

  • January/February 2012 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Greg Alvarado at Inspectioneering Journal

    The various factors of the challenge, e.g. creating effective and then efficient inspection strategies, are at the crux of the decision process. Within each of these factors are questions that must be answered. The answers should be well thought through and provided as part of your risk-based inspection analysis process.

  • November/December 2011 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Greg Alvarado at Inspectioneering Journal

    The original article on scalable accuracy which laid the groundwork for the concept was published in the March April 2011 issue of the Inspectioneering Journal, entitled Scalable Accuracy, Key Roles of Risk Based Inspection and Fitness for Service, Equipment Life-Cycle Management Process. This article is reprinted immediately following this article for ease of reference. The two examples touched upon in the original article were the fitness for service approach as represented by the joint API ASME standard, API 579-1/ASME FFS-1 Fitness for Service Standard and the API Recommended Practice 581, representing the specific API RBI technology.

  • Partner Content

    InVista is a lightweight, hand-held ultrasonic in-line inspection tool (intelligent pig) capable of detecting pipeline wall loss and corrosion in unpiggable or difficult-to-inspect pipelines. The pipeline geometry inspection data captured by the InVista tool is exceptionally powerful when combined with the LifeQuest™ Pipeline fitness-for-service capabilities, providing an integrated solution set for the pipeline industry.

  • September/October 2011 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Barry Snider at Small Hammer Incorporated

    Maintenance has been around since prehistoric man fixed a broken, trusted spear instead of fashioning a new one. One concept of maintenance is any activity that extends the useful life or enhances the performance of an item of interest. A broad concept for sure but for most of recorded history, maintenance has been synonymous with fixing or repairing.

  • March/April 2011 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Adnan A. Boudi, Ph.D, P.E., AVS. at SPE International

    Due to increasing market demands for stabilized crude, it is a high priority for oil handling and processing facilities to avoid production interruption. One optimization opportunity is to review our approach for scheduled facility Test and Inspection (T&I) during turnarounds or outages.

  • March/April 2011 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Greg Alvarado at Inspectioneering Journal

    Two technologies, immediately available to plant operators for fixed equipment life-cycle management are Risk-Based Inspection (RBI) and Fitness for Service (FFS), two best practices that optimally work together or can standalone. Both have abilities of scalable accuracy.

  • September/October 2010 Inspectioneering Journal
    By John Reynolds at Intertek

    In the first article in this series entitled How to Put It All Together - Guide to Organizing a Successful PEI Program, (1) I provided an overview of the necessary Management Systems (MS) for a successful program to achieve excellence in pressure equipment integrity (PEI). This is the fifth article in that series. Clearly, Risk Assessment and Inspection Planning have a major role in achieving excellence in Pressure Equipment Integrity and Reliability (PEI&R).

  • July/August 2010 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Craig Emslie BSc at Sonomatic Ltd., and Karen Gibson at Sonomatic Ltd.

    Inspection intervals for equipment have in the past been defined in a prescriptive manner. However, industry is now embracing the Risk Based Inspection (RBI) approach which in contrast prioritises inspections based on an assessment of the risk to each individual item.

  • Partner Content

    If you are developing a mechanical integrity program, or you would like to optimize your existing mechanical integrity program, do you have qualified MI consultants to meet your regulatory needs? If you already have a sound, defensible MI inspection system in place, do you have qualified and experienced personnel maintaining your program?

  • May/June 2010 Inspectioneering Journal
    By P.A. Henry, P.E. at The Equity Engineering Group, Inc., D. Baham at ConocoPhillips, and Valerie Magyari at The Equity Engineering Group, Inc.

    This article describes the API Risk-Based Inspection (RBI) methodology for pressure relieving devices (PRDs) as detailed in the soon to be released 2nd edition of API 581 "Base Resource Document On Risk-Based Inspection" This methodology has been successfully used at several petrochemical facilities to establish risk-based inspection intervals for PRDs.

  • July/August 2009 Inspectioneering Journal
    By WJ Perry at GE Inspection Technologies

    In the current economic environment, there is increasing pressure on petrochemical refineries and delivery systems to be more productive and to minimize unscheduled shutdowns due to leakage. Leakage can occur from either the piping itself or the joints of the pipes. In a refinery there are several thousands of feet of piping and associated joints, as shown in the photograph presented in Figure 1. Petrochemical leaks don't only cost the companies money for the time and material to repair a leak, but also to remediate the areas affected and the institution of stricter controls. Because of this pressure, the involved companies are looking to replace the current monitoring scheme with a more effective and cost efficient risk based inspection (RBI) program.

  • May/June 2009 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Fernando Vicente at ABB

    In the oil and gas industry, pressure vessel integrity is a major concern. After internal and external inspections various anomalies or defects can be reported and repairs could be required for pressure vessels in order to restore its original condition. The first question for engineers, operators and managers is, can we keep operating at this pressure level? Is it safe? Or do I have to take it out of service to repair?

  • January/February 2009 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Lynne Kaley at Trinity Bridge LLC / Trinity Bridge Digital

    The Joint Industry Project for Risk-Based Inspection (RBI JIP) was initiated and managed by API within the refining and petrochemical industry in 1992. The work from the JIP resulted in two publications, API 580 Risk-Based Inspection released in 2002 and API 581 Base Resource Document - Risk-Based Inspection originally released in 1996.

  • July/August 2008 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Greg Alvarado at Inspectioneering Journal

    The following is an interview with Scot Haines, (Corrosion Engineering Advisor). The IJ wishes to thank Scot and the Hess Corporation for taking the time to share with the "IJ" community.

  • Partner Content

    Auto-refrigeration can impose low temperatures onto process vessels and piping causing them to be at risk of brittle fracture, the sudden break-before leak phenomena that can result in catastrophic rupture of the equipment.

  • May/June 2008 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Greg Alvarado at Inspectioneering Journal

    Do we know how to free ourselves from the current level of thinking to rise to a higher level? It will take this for us to overcome many of our current challenges in the arena of equipment reliability.

  • November/December 2007 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Mark Vining at Sunoco Inc.

    Facilities are often content in compiling event data, entering thickness measurements, assigning a system description, tracking work requests and recommendations in their databases. These are certainly valuable data points but using your database for performing just these tasks relegates a valuable resource to nothing more than a ledger of inspection events. The value of these systems becomes more apparent when they are utilized to show you where you should be inspecting.

  • November/December 2007 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Greg Alvarado at Inspectioneering Journal

    Over the past 18 years of serious RBI involvement, it has become clear to me that there are certain hurdles, that when "cleared", have paved the way to jurisdictional acceptance of RBI (and fitness for service, for that matter). This article will cover many of these "steps", not all as they are numerous, that have lead to success in some of the "toughest" jurisdictions in the US and the world. On your marks, get set, here we go....

  • September/October 2007 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Greg Alvarado at Inspectioneering Journal

    In my travels around the world as one of the primary API RBI 580/581 training course instructors the question always comes up, “What risk threshold or tolerable risk should I be using?” and “If I do not have one, how can I implement RBI?”

  • May/June 2007 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Greg Alvarado at Inspectioneering Journal

    This is part 2 in a multi-part series. Part 1 set the stage in explaining the basics of RBI. As I am most familiar with API Base Resource Document 581, I will continue to use this technical basis for this article.

  • Partner Content

    Industrial Rope Access is a proven method of achieving a safe work position at elevated heights or areas that are difficult to access. When combined with advanced NDE technologies, rope access technicians can substantially reduce the cost of inspections and maintenance activities by virtually eliminating the need for fixed scaffolding.

  • May/June 2007 Inspectioneering Journal
    By John Reynolds at Intertek

    From time to time, I'm asked why some operating sites don't seem to pay adequate attention to the need to protect and preserve pressure equipment integrity (PEI). Too often a few sites don't seem to "get it" until they have a major process safety event associated with a failure of pressure equipment. And unfortunately when that happens, they are suddenly on board with PEI needs and don't seem to be able to apply their available resources fast enough. Fortunately, I see less and less of this type behavior as time passes and the word spreads throughout the industry about PEI catastrophes and how to avoid them.

  • March/April 2007 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Greg Alvarado at Inspectioneering Journal

    An earlier version of this updated article appeared in the January-February 1998 issue of the Inspectioneering Journal. It is hard to believe that nine years have passed so quickly. Fortunately the industry, as a whole, has learned much and technologies have advanced, in the interim. Unfortunately, in that time period plant infrastructures have aged and equipment has failed, sometimes with catastrophic results. Some failures were directly attributable to damage mechanisms and fixed equipment reliability program weaknesses. Often times related, we have seen, what appears to be breakdown in management systems, in refineries, chemical plants and exploration and production areas that lead or contributed to or enabled equipment failure 1, 2, 3 . On the other hand, organizations like the API (American Petroleum Institute) RBI User Group, API RP 579 Fitness for Service Committee, API Subcommittees on Inspection and Corrosion and Materials continue to move forward, desiring and acting to improve the effectiveness of fixed equipment reliability programs via implementation of sound risk based inspection technology and the creation of excellent supporting reference documents like API RP 571 on damage mechanisms. These committees continue to improve their codes and respective reference documents as do other organizations in various countries, such as NACE, EU CEN documents, the HSE, ABSA (the Alberta Boiler Safety Association), ASME, Australian authorities, the state of California and others too numerous to list.

  • November/December 2006 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Don Cook at State of California

    On July 26, 2006, the State of California revised its Petroleum Safety Orders. The Petroleum Safety Orders are part of the California Code of Regulations Title 8 and address the health and safety requirements for places of employment in the State of California.

  • July/August 2006 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Greg Alvarado at Inspectioneering Journal

    The Shell Martinez Refinery has been in operation since 1915, and is located 30 miles northeast of San Francisco on about 1,000 acres of land. The refinery combines state-of-the-art facilities and equipment to convert approximately 165,000 barrels of crude oil a day into many products including automotive gasoline, jet fuel, diesel, petroleum coke, industrial fuel oils, liquefied petroleum gas, asphalt, sulfur, and lubricants. The Shell Martinez Refinery has grown into a sprawling yet efficient assemblage of sophisticated processing equipment; modern control rooms; environmental protection facilities; shipping and receiving terminals for marine, rail, and truck cargoes; maintenance shops; office buildings; quality assurance laboratories; storage tanks; and warehouses. In some ways it resembles a small city with its own utilities, medical facilities, and fire department.

  • May/June 2006 Inspectioneering Journal

    Revisions to the California Code of Regulations Title 8 Petroleum Safety Orders are nearly complete and the new regulations should be published late summer 2006. The regulations will affect both drilling and production facilities and refining, transportation, and handling facilities.

  • Partner Content

    Turnarounds are costly in terms of lost production. In many respects a turnaround can be even more complicated than the initial construction of the facility, so a carefully designed plan will reduce overall costs. After execution, safety reviews, Corrosion Monitoring Program updates, MOC documentation, and PHA Revalidations are a must.

  • March/April 2005 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Greg Alvarado at Inspectioneering Journal

    We are happy to announce the 10-year anniversary of the inaugural issue of the Inspectioneering Journal!

  • November/December 2004 Inspectioneering Journal

    Several new API inspection recommended practices exist in which inspectors need to be knowledgeable and qualified. This article details some of those standards.

  • March/April 2004 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Greg Alvarado at Inspectioneering Journal

    Data management is an important issue in today's world. We have data all over the place. Every manager is looking for ways to migrate data from platform to platform to save on the cost of re-gathering data and ways to share output from various platforms to better schedule and coordinate activities.

  • July/August 2003 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Greg Alvarado at Inspectioneering Journal

    "Low Hanging Fruit" and "Step Change" are analogies that have been bantered around in our industries for some time. Picking the low hanging fruit is just the beginning and something that most passersby can glean. Also, real change that affects an entire organization, change that lasts, does not happen overnight and usually involves a combination of education, mentoring and recognition, appreciation and understanding of the limitations, resources, potential and culture of/at the various levels of the organization. Low hanging fruit is the easiest to see and pick, but what about the vast amount of fruit that resides amongst the leaves and branches? That is now the challenge of our industries. This is where the greatest harvest lays. Why have change and greater rewards been so difficult to realize? I believe there are many reasons, such as a lack of mentoring, a lack of appreciation and understanding of the limitations, resources, potential and culture of the various levels of the organization.

  • May/June 2003 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Greg Alvarado at Inspectioneering Journal

    There are many aspects to successful, effective and efficient implementation of RBI 1, such as; - Data collection - Operations data - Mechanical data - The role of inspection histories and inspection planning - How much data do I really need to perform a study - Data sensitivity - Use of assumptions - Training - Procedures - Documentation - The RBI team - RBI technology basis - RBI codes and standards This article will focus on, "the role of inspection histories and inspection planning".

  • Partner Content

    AET is a powerful, non-intrusive inspection technique to verify the structural integrity of pressure vessels, spheres, high-temperature reactors and piping, coke drums, above-ground storage tanks, cryogenic storage tanks, and more.

  • March/April 2003 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Greg Alvarado at Inspectioneering Journal, and Mahdi Al-Marzouqi at ADGAS

    The large LNG facility is located on DAS Island, offshore of Abu Dhabi, in the Persian Gulf and experiences extremely high humidity year round. These conditions are known to produce a high potential for external corrosion and under insulation corrosion of carbon steel and mild steel alloys. If chlorides are present, which can drift from seawater, and are sometimes present in insulation, there may be a potential for Chloride Stress Corrosion Cracking (Cl SCC) of austenitic stainless steels (SS).

  • November/December 2002 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Greg Alvarado at Inspectioneering Journal

    The Alberta Boilers Safety Association (ABSA) issued the requirements document, Risk Based Inspection Programs for Pressure Equipment, in March 2001. This document defines the minimum requirements for the development and use of risk based inspection (RBI) to manage the safety of pressure equipment operating in Alberta.

  • September/October 2002 Inspectioneering Journal
    By John Reynolds at Intertek

    In May 2002, after 6 years of preparation, the API published the first edition of API 580 Risk-based Inspection. The document is now an ANSI/API Standard, which was balloted and approved using the ANSI consensus process for creating American National Standards. As such it becomes a "recognized and generally accepted good engineering practice", for use by all companies in the oil and chemical industry.

  • July/August 2002 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Mike Badeen at Phillips 66 Co., Mark Geisenhoff at Flint Hills Resources, and Lynne Kaley at Trinity Bridge LLC / Trinity Bridge Digital

    Risk-Based Inspection (RBI) is an emerging technology available to plant engineers and managers as theyapply risk directed activities to prioritize work and available resources for equipment management. This paper describes the learning of highly experienced RBI users, sharing results of implementation in their plants. The advantages of making and documenting reasonable assumptions will be explored.

  • July/August 2002 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Mark Geisenhoff at Flint Hills Resources

    Risk Based Inspection (RBI) analysis is a powerful tool that all of us can use to help with the complex issues of risk. The opportunities for application are exciting and open the door for new ways of conducting business and focusing resources. Along with these new and exciting opportunities comes the responsibility for all of us to apply RBI in a responsible manner.

  • Partner Content

    Properly anticipating and finding the damage in your facility is no small task, and spending millions of dollars on inspection may not be getting you anywhere if it’s not the right inspection processes. PinnacleART can use industry best practice models and corrosion expertise to proactively identify damage types, locations and magnitudes so you can ensure you’re performing the right inspections at the right times. Visit us at pinnacleart.com to learn more.

  • May/June 2002 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Mike Badeen at Phillips 66 Co., Mark Geisenhoff at Flint Hills Resources, and Lynne Kaley at Trinity Bridge LLC / Trinity Bridge Digital

    Risk-Based Inspection (RBI) is an emerging technology available to plant engineers and managers as they apply risk directed activities to prioritize work and available resources for equipment management. This paper describes the learning of highly experienced RBI users, sharing results of implementation in their plants. The advantages of making and documenting reasonable assumptions will be explored. Additional benefits of the program will be shared, such as streamlined process reliability studies where RBI information can significantly impact time required for completion. Results of using the API RBI methodology for storage tank analyses will also be presented. The presenters have a combined refinery experience of over 40 years and RBI experience of over 10 years with responsibility for over 20,000 pressure vessels and overall responsibility for equipment integrity in two large refineries.

  • March/April 2002 Inspectioneering Journal

    The American Petroleum Institute Recommended Practice for Risk Based Inspection, RP 580, is expected to be available for purchase in early May 2002.

  • November/December 2001 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Greg Alvarado at Inspectioneering Journal

    A typical risk based inspection (RBI) analysis should include past inspection results, tempered by confidence in those results. For example, API's (American Petroleum Institute) RBI methodology and software when calculating the likelihood of failure side of the risk equation asks for past inspection histories. This includes dates of past inspections for potential damage mechanisms, the effectiveness of those inspection techniques to find the anticipated damage and amounts of coverage. Via this logic, the program constructs a factor to represent the probable damage population scatter band and multiplies this times the entered corrosion rates, cracking susceptibilities or bulk damage rates.

  • May/June 2001 Inspectioneering Journal

    This is a summary about RBI application to plant utility boilers in a liquefied natural gas plant with a design life of 20 years, now 27 years old.

  • March/April 2001 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Gerrit M. Buchheim, P.E. at Becht Engineering Co., Inc.

    An overview of the interaction between two new technologies, Risk Based Inspection (RBI) and Fitness- For-Service (FFS) are presented. With the publication of API 579 Recommended Practice For Fitness-For-Service and the planned publication of API 580 Recommended Practice for Risk Based Inspection in 2001, these technologies will find increasing application in maintenance and inspection planning. There are relationships between the two. Applications of pro-active FFS assessments are highlighted.

  • September/October 2000 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Greg Alvarado at Inspectioneering Journal

    In part 1 of this series the importance of keeping the RBI process as simple as possible was stressed. Software, consequence and likelihood issues were covered. Consequences were handled directly while likelihood issues were covered in discussion on damage modules and qualitative versus quantitative sections.

  • July/August 2000 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Greg Alvarado at Inspectioneering Journal

    Hundreds of risk based inspection analyses have been completed by contractors and owner users worldwide, by now. Much is being learned as the various approaches gain acceptance. This editorial is only one perspective built upon the experiences of many.

  • March/April 2000 Inspectioneering Journal
    By John Reynolds at Intertek

    Two API projects are co-sponsoring an effort to develop a risk based inspection (RBI) method for atmospheric storage tanks (AST). One of the projects is the long standing RBI project that is developing RBI methods for all types of pressure equipment; and the other is the more recently formed group that is focused on developing risk assessment methods for oil and gasoline terminals and other storage tank facilities. This article covers the preliminary model that has been proposed for both projects by the joint contractor for both projects, DNV. As such, this model is a draft and still undergoing review and revision by the two API project groups.

  • January/February 2000 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Gene R. Meyer at The Dow Chemical Company

    Part 1 provided a review of RBI for pressure vessels and piping and an introduction to application of RBI to rotating equipment and the differences between approaching the two different types of equipment. As promised, Part 2 will delve more deeply into the details of rotating equipment RBI analysis, highlighting additional differences between this and fixed equipment analysis and cover: - RBI for Rotating Mechanical Equipment: Likelihood - Qualitative Risk Assignment - Forming the Risk Reduction Plan - Moving from RBI to Risk-CM

  • November/December 1999 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Gene R. Meyer at The Dow Chemical Company

    Risk based inspection, RBI, is a method currently changing how corporations view their maintenance programs. Application of a systematic analysis process that focuses on the likelihood of a given failure and the consequence of this failure happening provides a different philosophy in maintenance resource allocation. Maintenance planning will now focus on what has the greatest impact rather than what we think is the most important. This will allow formulation of a plan to have some equipment "run to failure" and other equipment to have a "no tolerance" maintenance plan.

  • November/December 1999 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Greg Alvarado at Inspectioneering Journal

    Here are some of my observations based on numerous discussions with owner users and involvement in over 30 projects. This learning is from plant operators who have taken the RBI "plunge", after they have had time to think about their decisions and direction, using various software products. Some owner user answers are included and will be identified as such. In addition to the questions in part 1, I included a listing of some generic families of RBI tools or approaches.

  • September/October 1999 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Greg Alvarado at Inspectioneering Journal

    There are many analysis tools available in the market that lay hold of the "RBI" claim. I wanted to bring you, the reader, "up to speed" on some of the available technology based on my experience as an RBI project manager, client manager and member of the American Petroleum Institute committee and working group compiling the RBI Recommended Practice 580.

  • September/October 1998 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Greg Alvarado at Inspectioneering Journal

    I have observed through literally hundreds of discussions and reading numerous articles on risk-based approaches that at least one potential business pitfall is appearing when owner-operators choose to begin with a "Level 1" (very qualitative) approach. They may not have the confidence to take advantage of re-allocating resources from the "low" risk equipment to the "higher" risk equipment.

  • September/October 1998 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Greg Alvarado at Inspectioneering Journal, and Paul Barringer at Barringer & Associates

    Inspection to determine mechanical integrity is important to verify that equipment is suitable for intended use, i.e. to prevent or minimize the consequences of catastrophic releases of toxic, reactive, flammable, or explosive chemicals as required by OSHA 1910.119 - Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals (and other jurisdictional codes).

  • May/June 1998 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Roland A. Goodman at American Petroleum Institute

    The API Subcommittees on Inspection and Pressure Vessels & Tanks are ever vigilant in keeping up with current trends and state-of-the-art technology for in-service inspection of pressure vessels, process piping, and aboveground storage tanks. One result of this effort is the recognition of risk-based inspection (RBI) methods by the API inspection codes (API 510, 570, and 653) as a valid methodology for developing an inspection strategy.

  • January/February 1998 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Greg Alvarado at Inspectioneering Journal

    There is a potential for misconceptions about terms used regarding risk by non-risk management professionals. Understand that some risk is unavoidable. We can attempt to minimize risk to any extent desired, but without an effective process that addresses all the parameters we consider important it is more likely our level of effectiveness will suffer. There is more to these considerations than the likelihood of failure, which most inspection, materials and corrosion specialists understand.

  • September/October 1997 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Greg Alvarado at Inspectioneering Journal

    The amount of serious questions regarding the various technology options for implementing an effective RBI program is growing by leaps and bounds. I, for one, have seen many forms of what various organizations refer to as RBI. Remember that there are to the Risk equation, i.e. likelihood or probability of failure and consequence of failure. The effectiveness of the RBI tool is highly dependent upon algorithm design, especially parametric considerations and their relative effect on one another and your objectives.

  • March/April 1997 Inspectioneering Journal

    The API Commitment on Refinery Equipment (CRE) has chartered a task group to develop an API recommended practice (RP 580), which will detail all the vital aspects of Risk-Based Inspection. This standard will not detail or propose any one specific RBI procedure, but will detail all the important aspects, issues and concerns that a valid RBI procedure could and/or should consider.

  • March/April 1997 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Greg Alvarado at Inspectioneering Journal

    "The times they are a changing." Our business paradigm is going through tremendous changes, as most of our readers can attest to. Look at the mega-mergers looming and happening in the petroleum business along with the tight margins most of them operate on.

  • November/December 1996 Inspectioneering Journal
    By John Reynolds at Intertek

    Three levels of risk based inspection have been developed by the API sponsor group. Level 1: Qualitative RBI which utilizes a step-by-step workbook to rank entire process units or process systems into a 5 x 5 risk matrix...

  • September/October 1996 Inspectioneering Journal
    By John Reynolds at Intertek

    In the January 1995 issue, I introduced the concept of Risk-Based Inspection (RBI) being developed by an API (American Petroleum Institute) project. This article is an update and status report on that project, which now has 20 sponsor companies, and more joining each quarter.

  • March/April 1995 Inspectioneering Journal
    By John Reynolds at Intertek

    Many promising advances are being made in inspection technologies, today. Some are going to provide opportunities for companies to maintain and increase equipment mechanical integrity, quite possibly at lower costs.

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