RBI Implementation Challenges, Resolution Strategies, and the Proven Benefits: A Case Study from a Crude Oil Refinery

RBI Implementation Presentation by Keith Walton

This presentation covered a case study of the establishment of Risk-Based Inspection based on API 581 methodology in a Refinery.

Daily refining capacity was 210,000 barrels. RBI implementation was required for pressure vessels, piping, and storage tanks. A joint team of Refinery personnel and LifeTech specialists was formed.

The presentation examined the implementation challenges of Data Availability & Quality, Identification of Damage Mechanisms, Non-Intrusive Inspection Assessment, Dead Legs & Nozzles Assessments, & Proposed Inspection Dates. Resolution strategies for these challenges were outlined with details of the proven benefits.

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The Advantages and Benefits of Performing Non-Intrusive Inspection as an Alternative to Intrusive Inspection

Reza Shahrivar Performing Non-Intrusive Inspection

The inspection of pressure vessels began at a time when carrying out internal visual examinations was the only effective way of establishing the condition of the internal surfaces of the equipment. Internal Visual Inspection involved taking pressure vessels out of service, preparing them for inspection, and carrying out an internal visual examination.

With recent advances in NDT technology, however, it is now possible, to carry out effective inspections without taking the vessels out of service. This is known as Non-Intrusive Inspection (NII). This approach is widely used on the UK mainland in the process industries, and it has delivered significant financial benefits without compromising process safety.

The presentation outlined the NII process, a case study showing the benefits and savings of using NII, and, gave an example of RBI & NII using LifeTech’s RBLX Software.

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Why do companies practice Risk-Based Inspection?

  • To improve risk management results.
  • To provide a holistic, interdependent approach for managing risks.
  • To apply a strategy of doing what is needed for safeguarding the integrity and improving reliability and availability of assets, by planning and executing those inspections that are needed.
  • To reduce inspections and shutdowns and provide longer run lengths without compromising safety or reliability.
  • To safeguard integrity.
  • To reduce the risk of failures.
  • To increase plant availability and reduce unplanned outages.
  • To provide a flexible technique able to continuously improve and adapt to changing risks.
  • To ensure that inspection techniques and methods consider potential failure modes.

Oil and Gas Industry RBI services

LifeTech’s RBLX-RBI software, incorporating the market-leading Non-Intrusive Inspection (NII) module, has distinct advantages over other RBI software:

  • RBLX-RBI software follows API 581 & API 571, therefore, addresses more damage mechanisms and failure modes and produces higher quality, more rigorous, and more meaningful assessments.
  • The integral NII module determines whether Internal Visual Inspection (IVI) can be safely deferred, thereby reducing the scope and timescale of a turnaround.
  • RBLX-RBI can be modified to accommodate specific user operational requirements.

LifeTech Engineering will work with you to:

  • Make your inspections more focused.
  • Make your operations safer.
  • Lower your costs.
  • Keep your operations running safely.
  • Maximise your inspection budget.

Refinery Industry RBI Services

RBLX-RBI, incorporating NII, has shown excellent results on worldwide deployment, including a major UK refinery, and has been proven to be commercially competitive.

Contact LifeTech Engineering:

info@Lteng.co.uk

www.Lteng.co.uk

Keith Walton, Business Development Manager: +44 7307 350598


Risk-Based Inspection (RBI) is used in a wide range of industries to help assess the probability of failure and manage the risk of failure. The RBI assessment identifies the type of potential damage, possible areas where such damage might occur, the rate of such damage, and assesses the impact of such failure. RBI inspection is particularly prevalent in the power and petrochemical sectors. While RBI services contribute to improved safety, they also offer economic benefit by using resources more effectively in the areas of highest risk.

There are four stages of asset/equipment life, with each having its own characteristics and behavior, requiring different management strategies. The four stages include:

  1. Post commissioning
  2. Risk-based
  3. Deterministic
  4. Monitored (old age)

At What Stage Should You Consider RBI Implementation?

Ideally, RBI should be implemented as early as possible in the life-cycle until the asset reaches the Terminal stage since the time between inspections becomes shorter as assets grow older and need more attention.

Can RBI be implemented even before the Post Commission stage, i.e. during a “Stage 0”? Yes, RBI implementation is possible at the design/construction stage, i.e., before you start operating. Implementing RBI at the very beginning of an asset’s life cycle helps minimize potential risks.

Stage 1: The potential for damage is higher because service conditions in the equipment could reveal faults and weaknesses. For instance, fabrication defects, installation stresses, faulty material could surface and require attention.

Stage 2: The asset is at its peak operational life during the second stage. Ideally, at this early stage, there should be few operational issues rates and a stable rate of damage accumulation, however, examinations, inspections, and maintenance will still be required during this stage to make sure equipment is operating as required.

Stage 3: The 3rd stage or the deterministic stage is where equipment has been operational for a substantial time. Equipment is ageing and beginning to show the signs of ageing. You must determine the extent of any damage. At this stage, RBI helps determine the extent and rate of damage, and to estimate the remaining life through Fitness for Service or FFS assessment. The assets have been operating for a while so the damage has been accumulating.

Stage 4: This is the Terminal stage, where assets are approaching their end of life. The equipment will have to be repaired, refurbished, decommissioned, or replaced. Damages are being accumulated, leading to increasing repair. The rate of degradation increases rapidly and could even be difficult to predict. At this stage, RBI assessment helps guarantee adequate safety between examinations and get the best performance out of the equipment. You cannot guarantee future service of the equipment beyond the next examination.

RBI Implementation at The End of Life Stage

RBI inspection services at this stage help gain the most remaining economic benefit from the asset, without causing environmental, personal, or financial risks. But the focus should be on high-risk areas where inspections can reduce risks for the remaining life of the asset. Activities that do not impact risk are usually eliminated or reduced.


Any business associated with the oil & gas, petrochemical, or other such process industry will have faced increased pressure to minimise risks and improve safety at the plant. But how is it possible? Risk based inspection allows you to minimise inspection costs and risks by using relevant software and techniques for effective inspection and maintenance planning.

What Is Risk Based Inspection?

RBI or Risk Based Inspection is a methodology used to assess and manage the risks associated with your plant by focusing inspection on process equipment. This analysis helps you to make informed decisions on inspection frequency, inspection time, and use of resources

What Does Risk Based Inspection Include?

  • Assessment of process equipment essential to operations
  • Creation of a corrosion management plan
  • Remaining life Assessment
  • A unique approach to identifying operational risks
  • Reviewing technical specifications

At LifeTech Engineering Ltd, we have introduced a software suite, RBLXTM which enables you to implement RBI, make Corrosion Risk Assessments (CRA), Remaining Life Assessment, and Life Extension projects. Using this suite, we prioritise high-risk components, identify damage mechanisms, define inspection intervals, inspection techniques, inspection coverage, and remedial actions.

Perks of Risk-Based Inspection Services

  • Significantly reduces risk and improves plant performance & safety
  • Allows you to optimise the budget for inspection and maintenance departments
  • Manage inspection and shutdown intervals
  • Offers great flexibility to customise corrosion mitigation plan
  • Eliminates over-inspection and optimises inspection methods
  • Operational parameter compliance
  • RBLXTM software addresses risk ranking and produces optimum inspection plans
  • Offers great support for refinery senior management