Risk Based Inspection of a Crude Oil Import/Export Line – the Corrosion Engineer’s Role

Risk Based Inspection of a Crude Oil Import/Export Line – the Corrosion Engineer’s Role

Publish Date: 19th October 2014

Author: David Ifezue (Woking) / Co-author; Prem Thodi

Conference: NACE Corrosion Control

This presentation uses the case study of a pipeline used to export stabilized crude oil to illustrate the steps, the benefits and the role of a corrosion engineer for a typical semi-quantitative Risk Based Inspection (RBI) process. The pipeline was originally designed for dry service, but currently receives a significant amount of produced water which accumulates in deadlegs with resultant deterioration. Historically, this line has also experienced a number of high profile failures attributed to microbial activity, preferential weld decay and corrosion under insulation. Consequently the HSE issued an improvement notice which included a requirement for an RBI assessment to mitigate these threats and to provide operational integrity assurance. The scope of the RBI assessment considered in this presentation covers only the corrosion circuit, which is from the tank isolation valve to the storage tanks. On the basis of the identified threats and the associated risks, the following inspection, monitoring and repair (IMR) actions were recommended by the RBI team:

• An intermediate, non-invasive, rolling inspection at a 12-monthly frequency. This includes a 100% Ultrasonic Testing (UT) or Saturated Low Frequency Eddy Current (SLOFEC) scan of all susceptible deadlegs and a USFD (using Time of Flight Diffraction, ToFD) of all welds on the deadlegs.

• A thorough, non-invasive inspection at a 36-monthly frequency. This includes a full line walk and General Visual Inspection (GVI); a 100% UT scan or SLOFEC on all deadlegs; inspection of small bore branches for fatigue cracks with Magnetic Particle Inspection (MPI) or Eddy Current (EC) inspection and visual examination of all accessible supports.

• A survey to identify corrosion monitoring locations for probes, coupons and sampling points.

• Identification and deletion of all unnecessary deadlegs during the next Turn Around (TAR) maintenance.

These actions have since been implemented and provide the largest single contribution to the significant reduction in the number of failures/anomalies experienced on this pipeline. The primary role of the corrosion engineer in this process is to ensure that all the credible integrity threats for this circuit (generic and from inspection history) are identified, risk assessed and appropriate inspection/monitoring techniques and frequencies identified, and assigned in order to mitigate the high risk threats.

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