You may wonder if your facility needs to be in a certain stage to implement RBI, or you may think it is either too soon or too late to implement a risk-based inspection program. However, the answer is that RBI makes sense throughout the entire lifetime of a facility. It can be implemented early on to proactively address risk and it can be used later on when considering equipment decommissioning.

While the RBI methodology can be of service at many stages of a facility’s life, we recommend implementing during the design phase.

For example, if implemented during the design phase, you are able to start applying the concepts of the RBI methodology from the beginning. This will enable your facility to get the most of out of the methodology because it will:

  • Define your inspection plans.
  • Regulate your budget.
  • Define the scope of your turnarounds.

RBI During Design Phase – How does RBI help?

If you want to get the most out of an RBI program, implement it during the design phase. During the design phase, you will have your process outlined. You know what the main equipment will be. You know what the process will be, what type of crude you will be processing—or whatever chemical you are processing—and you know that certain types of equipment will have a certain damage mechanism affecting them.

Based on this information, you can start to proactively identify what your inspection program will be like and you can begin to forecast expenses that will come in the future. On top of that, you can deal with the consequence side. If you understand the variables that might affect risk for the various equipment, plan for that up front and potentially save yourself some downstream costs by taking those things into consideration.

What if you don’t have inspection history or established corrosion rates?

What about when you have a new facility or unit where there is little inspection history and/or a lack of established corrosion rates? Can RBI still be implemented during the design phase?

The short answer is yes.

To implement RBI in this situation, you need to provide some engineering in the back end. You will need to engage operations, senior operators, senior process engineers, and you may even need to consult with an experienced third party.

And on top of that, your facility is not unique—or it might be, but, most of the process stages are probably not unique. There are very similar processes all over the place.

We factually know that certain processes lead to certain types of corrosion. We can identify which damage mechanisms are applicable with certain processes and how materials will behave under certain circumstances.

Because of this knowledge, you can create some upfront conservative models which will help you to make good decisions and shape your RBI pogrom. Then, as soon as you have the real data, update your program in accordance.

Conclusion

If you have the opportunity to implement RBI from the very beginning—during the early design stages of the project—do it. It will create efficiencies for your inspection program, and by implementing from the get-go, your facility will get the most out of the methodology.

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