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Optimizing your Pressure Equipment Inspection strategy

An optimized Pressure Equipment Inspection strategy will save you millions a year, from saving time, to drastically reducing downtime.

refinery plant pipelines

Pressure Equipment Inspections take up valuable time, can cause incidents, and often require downtime. That’s why most organizations could save thousands to millions of dollars a year, just by optimizing their pressure equipment inspection strategy. How do you do that? You collect and analyze your data, to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of your inspection process.

The very compelling reasons for optimizing your Pressure Equipment Inspection strategy

Let’s further explore why you should be optimizing your inspection process using data. There are some very compelling reasons: 

Reduce costs and downtime

By optimizing your inspection strategy you’ll be able to expand your inspection interval and minimize the number of inspections. That means a significant reduction in downtime, which saves you lots of time and money.

In just one year we found ways to save 100 million dollars for a global oil and gas company, only by optimizing their inspection strategy.

Improve safety

In the past years, there have been some bad incidents during intrusive inspections, since they often require confined space entries and exposure to toxins. Data can help you limit the needed number of intrusive inspections and improve safety.

More easily comply with local regulations

You need to comply with (sometimes very strict) local safety regulations. To show compliance you may need to open up vessels and pipelines, which can be a lot of work. You can use data to more efficiently show compliance to authorities. How? Let’s say you wanted to demonstrate the integrity of your facility. This would become much easier if you could prove all conditions were within limits (the PH for example).

Are you struggling? You’re not the only one

Unfortunately, a lot of companies struggle when it comes to using data for optimizing their Pressure Equipment Inspection strategy.
You might recognize these common problems:

  • You miss a proper strategy and don’t know where to start
  • You don’t collect the necessary data
  • Your data is not reliable
  • You miss the knowledge and/or tools to interpret the data
  • You can’t find correlations, because your data is not properly structured

So how can you tackle these problems?

The next steps in optimizing your Pressure Equipment Inspection strategy

Risk-Based Inspection (RBI)

The first step in optimizing your strategy is implementing Risk-Based Inspection. This means you use data to predict the risk of corrosion and degradation for each area of your equipment. You then use this to create an effective inspection program, in which you focus your attention on the most critical areas.

Minimum Intervention Strategy for Inspection (MISI)

The next step is the Minimum Intervention Strategy for Inspection (MISI). You can reach up to a 50% cost reduction for your turnarounds, by limiting the number of intrusive inspections. Smart technology, such as robots, sensors, and drones can help you achieve this.

Machine learning and AI

A lot of organizations ask us about the use of machine learning and AI, but most organizations aren’t ready. Do you have your risk-based inspection strategy in place? Then it could be the right moment to look into these more advanced tools.

Don’t go too fast, or you will fail

Do you want to start optimizing your Pressure Equipment Inspection strategy? A lot of organizations want to go too fast, which usually causes them to fail. It’s important to take this step by step and to first build a solid foundation.

Know your problem

First of all, it’s important to understand your problems and pain points. These should always be the starting point. Maybe you want to increase the interval between inspections? Or maybe you have too many leaks? That is what you’ll try to solve by collecting and analyzing data.

Collect the data

Once you know the problems you want to solve, you can decide which data you need to collect and start collecting them. There are lots of potential data sources.

Some examples of data sources:

  • Asset hierarchy
    • Equipment type
    • Specifications
    • Surface conditions
    • Year of manufacturing
    • Compliance code
  • Data Historian, to manage your Integrity Operating Window (IOW)
  • Inspection findings
  • Inspection plans
  • Maintenance plans
  • Wall thickness measurements

Important things to keep in mind:

  • You will need to structure all this data, to make them usable for data analysis.
  • You need very accurate data to do a purely quantitative analysis, which is almost never possible. Therefore, it’s usually better to take a semi-quantitative or qualitative approach.
  • IMS PEI can help with the data collection and structuring, as well as the RBI (quantitative, semi-quantitative, or qualitative).

Crunch the data

Now it’s time to crunch the data you’ve collected. Analyze the available data and look for possible correlations. Tools like IMS PEI can help you do this.

Learn More About IMS PEI: Pressure Equipment Integrity Software

IMS PEI helps you manage equipment integrity, by defining when and what to inspect or repair using Shell’s RBI methodology and advanced corrosion calculations while keeping an audit trail. When an inspection is completed, the data will be used to automatically update your calculations and define the Next Inspection Date (NID).

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