Optimizing a Mechanical Integrity Program Using Risk Based Inspection – a Case Study

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The Risk Based Inspection (RBI) process delivers a calculated risk value for each fixed equipment item in a facility. Fixed equipment risk values are the product of the Likelihood-of-Failure (LOF) and the Consequence-of-Failure (COF) factors. The calculated equipment risk values are used to optimize the facility inspection program in accordance with industry best practices (API-580/2009, API-581/2008).

Using the RBI calculated risk values, a fixed equipment relative risk ranking is established that strengthens the facility mechanical integrity program by allowing the operator to:

?set priorities and focus their attention on the critical areas ?justify capital investment for lifetime extension projects ?proactively address loss of primary containment and process safety issues

This paper will present the actual mechanical integrity gains realized from successfully implementing the RBI analysis at a gas plant facility. Examples of inspection findings due to the RBI plan recommendations are provided. Emphasis is placed on the accurate RBI prediction of hydrogen-induced damage for the product storage tanks, as the follow-up inspection confirmed.

Specific examples of the gas plant case study are offered as ?lessons learned?, illustrating potential RBI analysis pitfalls when required process steps are not followed.

Risk target selection is an important part of the RBI analysis. This paper based on the gas plant case study and in particular the storage tanks findings will offer a view regarding risk target selection. In conclusion, this paper will ? present RBI as a quantitative data analysis tool, compliant with industry best practices for fixed equipment risk management ? attest for the RBI's ability to strengthen a facility's mechanical integrity program ? identify potential pitfalls and RBI process breakdown ? review the risk target selection criteria and their significance

Keywords: Risk-based inspection, RBI, mechanical integrity, gas plant.

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