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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RBI 2021 – 4th International Conference

RBI 2021 International Conference

LifeTech Engineering presented at RBI 2021 – Risk Based Inspection & Predictive Maintenance Conference, 8th & 9th April.

Keith Walton, LifeTech BDM presented “Shutdown & Turnaround optimisation – the criteria for selecting equipment for inspection” covering the benefits derived from RBI and the use of NII (Non-Intrusive Inspection) techniques in lieu of IVI (Internal Visual Inspection).

Keith Walton Dr. Mehdi Eskandarzade



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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:



Keith Walton, Business Development Manager: +44 7307 350598

Oil and gas companies across the world are looking for ways to leverage technology in improving efficiency and reducing operating costs while increasing production levels. They are also under tremendous pressure to manage potential risks in terms of health and safety of personnel and ensure environmental safety.

At LifeTech Engineering, we are committed to strengthening your oil and gas company asset management by providing these professional services:

1. Asset Integrity Management:

Asset Integrity Management is preventive maintenance wherein repairs or replacements are scheduled ahead of time to ensure the asset has the capacity to function efficiently and accurately. This ensures that there are perfect measures in place to assure the asset’s life cycle.

A lot of equipment in the oil and gas industry is ageing. Asset Integrity Management activities have become important as they help prevent downtime, corrosion under insulation, and shutdowns. Asset Integrity Management can be managed at every stage of the asset’s lifecycle including project designing, asset operation and decommissioning, etc., however, asset integrity management services are not done in isolation – it is important that everyone is involved and has a unified understanding regarding the requirements of an Asset Integrity Management program.

2. Risk-Based Inspection:

RBI (risk-based inspection) is a process of developing an inspection based on the risk of failure, i.e., an assessment of the likelihood of failure because of factors like damage, flaws, deterioration, etc. along with an assessment of the consequences of such a failure. The risk-based analysis helps identify the damage that may be present, where such damage could occur and the rate at which such damage is likely to occur. It also assesses the danger that is likely to arise due to failure.

3. Fitness for Service (FFS) Assessment:

Fitness for Service Assessment is a process of defining flaw acceptance limits wherein stakeholders get to distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable flaws based on recognized good engineering practices. It is conducted to assess the structural integrity of equipment and determine its safety, thereby reducing failure and defects.

At LifeTech Engineering, we provide cost-effective and practical fitness for service assessment solutions that improve the reliability of your assets such as pressure vessels, tanks, piping, etc. We have built a track record in creating customized assessments and corrosion evaluation.

4. Ageing and Life Extension Management:

Around 50% of the world’s offshore infrastructure is in a life extension phase and vulnerable to ageing processes. Ageing and life extension management helps ensure the integrity of ageing assets and equipment so that they can continue to be safely operated..

Some of the issues managed by this process include understanding the effects of external or internal corrosion, structural degradation, maintenance backlogs, etc. LifeTech Engineering uses a range of software and technology that helps maintain technical integrity during an asset’s life extension period.

Asset management is a field that is gaining greater prominence in enhancing operational efficiencies for oil and gas companies. It provides a structured methodology for commissioning, operating, maintaining, and decommissioning assets in a cost-effective manner. Contemporary oil and gas facilities are being set up on a larger scale than ever before, having higher production and storage capabilities, to insulate them from market volatility and improve long term profitability. A well-designed asset management plan becomes even more essential for such high outcome projects in achieving their eventual objectives. Oil and gas asset management software is not bound by restrictions of scale or geographic distances and can be implemented to oversee multiple facilities from a centralized location. These solutions can help reduce equipment downtime, inventory control, resource management, save costs, and meet legal and regulatory compliances.

At LifeTech Engineering, we offer the best oil and gas software tools to aid your oil and gas businesses.

  1. An Integrity Management & RBI Software – RBLX
  2. A Fitness for Service (FFS) Software – FITest
  3. An Ageing & Life Extension Software – FUSION


RBLX is a quantitative RBI software suite created based on industry standards. This tool is highly efficient in identifying applicable damage mechanisms, and calculates corrosion rates, determines damage susceptibilities, estimates current and future risks, and recommends optimum inspection plans.

Perks of an RBLX software:

  • Autonomous
  • Cloud-based
  • offers immediate connectivity
  • fast and highly competitive
  • Accurate
  • Reliable
  • Helps in searching and routing-out historical evidence quickly and efficiently.
  • Monitors and predicts equipment failures
  • Prevents potential shutdowns
  • Reduces turnarounds


FITest Fitness-For-Service (FFS) assessment software can be used to determine flaws or damage in the system by evaluating pressurized components. If the results of an assessment indicate that the equipment is suitable for the current operating conditions, then the equipment can continue to be operated at these conditions provided suitable monitoring/inspection programs are established. If the results of the Fitness for Service assessment indicate that the equipment is not suitable for the current operating conditions, then the software will recommend remediation. FITest interprets original equipment design data, maintenance and operational history, and specific requirements for data measurements and flaw characterization based on the damage mechanism and evaluates the system in two assessment levels. Level 1 provides conservative screening criteria that can be utilized with a minimum amount of inspection or component information. Level 2 provides a more detailed evaluation that produces results that are more precise than those from a Level 1 assessment.

Perks of FITest:

  • Robust security
  • Compliant with API 579/ASME FFS-1
  • Automated assessment levels
  • Offers recommendations for Level 3 assessment
  • Integrity assessment of ageing assets
  • supports cylindrical & spherical shells, formed heads, storage tank plates and shells, etc.
  • evaluation for continued services
  • evaluate current conditions & predict remaining life
  • increase safety, reduce costs & shutdowns


Life Extension is the period beyond the design life for which a facility is to operate while still maintaining acceptable standards of operational and technical integrity. The major concerns arising from ageing and life extension present significant challenges for offshore oil and gas operations.

Many assets in the oil and gas industry are approaching or have exceeded their original design life. Poor ageing and life extension management increase the risk of health and safety concerns in the oil and gas industry. Most accidents recorded on the offshore oil and gas fields are a result of ageing facilities and asset integrity deterioration. Many fields still have recoverable oil and gas that can be extracted using the existing facilities or enhanced methods, and in some areas, new fields are tied into the existing platforms. Many offshore operators are requiring their installations to operate for several years beyond their original design life while continuing to meet business and regulatory requirements for reliability and safety.

From a safety point of view, keeping the integrity of equipment during the life-extension period is vital. Thus, formal assessments are needed to demonstrate that there is sufficiently technical, operational, and organizational integrity to continue safe operation throughout a life extension.

Perks of FUSION:

  • robust security
  • compliant with API and NORSOK documents
  • API 581, 579 and API 571 damage mechanisms
  • risk assessment based on API 581
  • remaining life assessment based on API 579
  • recommends life extension period
  • recommends inspection, mitigation and maintenance
  • increases availability, reliability, efficiency and safety
  • integrity assessment of ageing assets
  • evaluates current conditions and predict remaining life

LifeTech Engineering software suites are cloud-based and deliver accurate, consistent and compelling data giving you an opportunity to embrace and increase stakeholder confidence, improve your long-term supply chain costs and help increase efficiency and stability. Our dedicated support team helps in keeping your operations, maintenance, and procedures streamlined, safe and cost-effective. Contact us today, to integrate the best oil and gas asset management software in your business.

The 2017 annual health and safety data published for UK-based oil and gas industries reports that the industry has been continually improving performance in terms of safety. It also states that in over 50 million man-hours worked offshore, there were only 113 reportable injuries. This is because the government has publicly committed to process safety and asset integrity management.

But how does the industry maintain asset integrity management standards? Can an asset integrity management system in the oil and gas industry help deliver world-class operational performance?

Ideally, asset integrity management involves identifying and reducing safety risks, developing inspection and maintenance plans, and monitoring discrepancies in material conditions while ensuring continuous improvement.

Some of the challenges faced by the oil and gas industry include handling infrastructure that has outlived its original design life, dealing with an ageing workforce, dealing with unplanned outages, etc. Maintaining asset integrity helps avoid unplanned downtime and related safety and environmental incidents.

At LifeTech Engineering, we have implemented asset integrity management programs for oil and gas companies across the world, generating first-class operational performance. We have increased profitability for operators by combining risk-based inspection with corrosion inspection management and data management to reduce risk and ensure timely and accurate decision making.

Our process of assuring asset integrity spans the full lifecycle of the asset. This requires proper planning and experience to maintain integrity throughout the organization. It also ensures that the people, process, and resources required are in place and ready to perform when needed.

A typical asset integrity program includes:

  • Risk-Based Inspection
  • Corrosion management
  • Reliability centred maintenance
  • Condition-based maintenance
  • In-service inspection
  • Non-destructive testing

An asset integrity management system does not exist separately; it works only when all stakeholders have a unified understanding of how asset integrity can be applied to day to day working.

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

Asset Integrity Management helps avoid unplanned downtime in the oil and gas industry – it encompasses the complete lifecycle of an asset, right from design to decommissioning. AIM also helps avoid related safety and environmental incidents. Without proper asset integrity management, installations are at risk of incidents that could have considerable adverse safety, economic, environmental damage.

What Is Asset Integrity Management?

Asset Integrity Management services for the oil and gas industry refers to a system that ensures assets perform their required functions relating to health, safety, and environment. Thus, the right people, structure, and processes must be in place to perform whenever required and mitigate any unintended release of hazardous materials or energy.

How Is Asset Integrity Management Applied?

As stated earlier, AIM helps manage the capability of an asset to function efficiently throughout its lifetime. AIM also ensures that the systems, processes, and people who deliver the assets’ integrity are in place and can perform when required.

AIM can be performed by various means, including inspection, auditing, overall quality processing, etc. A typical Asset Integrity Management program includes:

  • Risk-based Inspection
  • Fitness for Service
  • Remaining Life Assessment
  • Corrosion Risk Assessment
  • Corrosion Management System
  • Plant Life Extension
  • Reliability Centered Maintenance
  • Training Courses

Thus, assets are maintained in a fit-for-service condition throughout their lifecycle, cost-effectively, and safely. AIM programmes are conducted to ensure compliance with API-580, API-581, and PAS 55 requirements.

What Are the Challenges In Implementing Asset Integrity Management?

Given the dynamic industrial landscape, businesses must produce high-quality products at competitive prices. This is especially true for oil and gas operators who always have to maintain a safe and environmentally friendly facility and keep their production equipment in optimum condition. . To achieve this, all oil and petrochemical business stakeholders must have a common and consistent understanding of Asset Integrity and how it can be implemented in everyday operations. This, however, is easier said than done.

How Does Asset Integrity Management Help Solve This Problem?

Through successful AIM implementation, businesses can ensure that the people, systems, and processes involved in integrity management are in place throughout the asset’s lifecycle. The process also requires that the balance between resources and assets are well-structured and maintained to ensure a well management asset.

Asset Integrity Management solutions in the UK combine mechanical integrity technologies with traditional and advanced inspection techniques to ensure a comprehensive asset management portfolio. To this end, AIM based services offer asset integrity management software packages that help in various stages of Asset Integrity Management, viz. RBLX RBI software, FITest FFS software, Fusion Life Software.

Through Asset Integrity Management Programmes, businesses can improve their equipment’s reliability, reduce equipment failures and instances that lead to safety and environmental incidents, improve product consistency, reduce unplanned maintenance costs, reduce operation costs, improve contractor performance, and comply with government regulations.