Integrity Assessments for Tanks, Pressure Vessels and Piping

Understanding the real challenge

From manufacture through service life to decommissioning, all assets are at risk of degradation and failure from a variety of threats. There are numerous standards and methodologies for building a solid integrity management strategy, they continue to evolve as new technologies emerge and more data becomes available.

Our long history of partnering with operators around the world allows us to understand their challenges, identify gaps, and leverage their strengths. With this knowledge, we support the goals of operators quickly and sustainably with a tailored integrity management strategy.

Your benefits of our integrity assessments

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Tailored assessment to support each operator's objectives

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Optimized inspection plans for each asset

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Empowered by state-of-the-art inspection technology

Look inside a rusted pipe.

Evaluating critical factors and determining the morphology of damage

Identifying and understanding the damage mechanisms that impact assets is critical to the effectiveness of an integrity management program.

Our approach consists of a systematic process for evaluating all critical factors that influence the presence of such damage mechanisms, such as materials of construction, service, the operational environment, and the definition of susceptible areas. Additionally, we work with proven procedures to determine the typical morphology of damage.

Understanding the extent of damage and its spatial distribution is critical

  • If the damage is widespread, even low inspection coverage will yield a high Probability Of Identification (POI).
  • If the damage is more localized and dispersed, a higher inspection coverage would be required to achieve an equivalent POI.
  • When localized and unpredictable (random) corrosion is expected, NDE screening techniques with higher coverage are recommended.
Graphical representation of a Pressure Vessel with more detailed descriptions.

Determine susceptible areas to define the required inspection coverage and technologies

Susceptible areas are defined as locations where damage is most likely to be observed. Each inspection should include a description of the susceptible areas for the particular damage mechanism and components.

We work closely with the owners of pressure vessels and piping systems to develop actionable guidance to assist in the identification process. Once the susceptible areas are identified, they are used to facilitate CML placement and selection, to assist in defining the required inspection coverage and technologies. In this context, the inspection coverage indicates a percentage of the total susceptible areas or locations that must be inspected as part of the given inspection strategy.

Three main factors should be considered when determining susceptible areas:

  • Design: Geometry, materials, internal components
  • Operation: Service fluids, inlet and outlet locations, locations of mixed phases, etc.
  • Historic inspection results
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Planning and evaluating inspection activities for tanks, pressure vessels and piping

RBI is a key component of an asset integrity management program. It is a logical and structured process for planning and evaluating inspection activities. The main output of an effective RBI scheme is an optimized inspection plan for each piece of equipment. In addition to specifying the equipment's risk level, these plans include descriptions of the type, scope, and recommended frequency of inspections.

The systematic process ensures that the RBI recommendations are actionable and have sufficient inspection effectiveness to mitigate risk. The classification of assets by risk level allows operators to prioritize their inspection schedules and optimize their inspection, maintenance and replacement (IMR) budgets. For risks deemed unacceptable, our plan includes recommendations for mitigation actions or, alternatively, a recommendation for repair or replacement.

Our RBI approach goes beyond traditional risk determination and inspection recommendations. Integrating the following methods leads to better results in terms of safety, reliability and optimal execution:

  • Susceptible area definition
  • Definitions of Condition Monitoring Locations (CML)
  • RBI inspection technology recommendations
Fitness-for-service diagram with a red curve.

Providing a clear picture of an asset's current and future condition regarding deficiencies and associated risks

A Fitness-for-Service (FFS) inspection and assessment may be performed to determine whether the equipment can continue to be operated safely, under what conditions, and for how long. It can also be performed to identify critical anomalies that would require equipment repair or replacement.

When does an FFS come into play?

When the condition of the equipment reaches a certain threshold, further risk-based inspections are no longer appropriate from a risk management perspective. In these cases, the affected item should be removed from RBI coverage until its condition is either properly assessed through a Fitness-for-Service (FFS) analysis or potentially mitigated, such as through reassessment, repair, or replacement.

In addition, a Deficiency Management Program should be completed to identify areas of the integrity program that may prove ineffective in adequately addressing deficiencies and associated risks. We work with owners to develop or enhance their Deficiency Management Program and link it to their integrity management program. The deficiency program includes elements such as criteria determination, alert levels, communication efforts, and the determination of actions to address the deficiencies.

Illustration of the Integrity Management Toolbox.

Maintaining the integrity management strategy in relation to understanding the asset's condition

Once the integrity management strategy is established and in place, maintaining it is an ongoing challenge. Operators need to have a clear understanding of the current state of their piping, tank or pressure vessel in relation to their strategy. Failure to do so could result in excessive expenditure or create the false impression that the asset is safe and compliant.

Your benefits:

  • Partnership model between operators and our experts
  • Developing an implementation strategy to ensure the success and sustainability of the integrity management program
  • Leveraging the operator's strength
  • Inspection data management system software solution NIMA
  • Optimized CML placement based on risks and susceptible areas
  • Comprehensive and actionable deliverables: integrity management procedures and inspection plans for each asset