According to a study presented at the 2004 European Federation of Corrosion, approximately 35 cents of every maintenance dollar is spent on fixed equipment. Of this spend, 55 percent is spent on piping—which is equivalent to about 20 cents of every maintenance dollar.

Due to lack of guidance and resource attention, in addition to inaccurate data, many facilities struggle to develop and maintain asset strategies for piping. This leads us to ask the question: What does it really take to have successful piping strategies?

We’ve put together a four-step process to develop effective and efficient asset strategies for piping. This approach will optimize cost, refocus resources, and reduce risk.

This process should help you to develop a successful piping strategy that will enable you to answer the following questions:

  • Are you confident that the money you are spending on inspection is spent on the right things for the right reasons?
  • Do you know where your piping assets are most likely to fail and why?
  • Do you have all the information you need to make good decisions?

Step 1: Understand Your Current State

Whether your facility has an existing piping integrity program or is looking to successfully implement a new program, it is important to gather and organize required data such as Piping and Instrumentation Diagrams (P&IDs), isometrics, and existing analyses, and determine the state of your record system (Inspection Data Management System [IDMS] or other database). This will allow your team to efficiently and correctly complete all further analysis.

At this stage it is also critical to determine the break-up of the piping – most call this “circuitization” or “corrosion loops” (see API-580). This step is important, whether you intend on implementing Risk-Based Inspection (RBI) or not, as it will be the roadmap by which you apply everything (from damage mechanism to historical record) on your piping for the life of your program.

Step 2: Identify Damage Mechanisms

This step will utilize the information you previously gathered to determine what reliability threats each circuit or corrosion loop is dealing with. Depending on process conditions (fluid composition, temperature, flow rate etc.) you will determine damage mechanisms and their expected rate.

This analysis often requires input from corrosion engineering, process engineering, operators, and inspectors with knowledge of the facility. Their knowledge will be leveraged to ensure the most accurate depiction of what is happening to the piping assets is documented. Inspection techniques and interval of inspection will be determined from this information.

Step 3: Develop a CML Placement Strategy

Industry has a well-documented understanding of the expected locations of different damage mechanisms. Unfortunately, coverage for inspection is not well documented.

As with identifying damage mechanisms, this step should include personnel that know the facility well or have extensive experience in similar environments. Subject Matter Experts are often consulted to develop a strategy for the placement of Condition Monitoring Locations (CMLs), thus allowing lesser experienced personnel to carry out the bulk of the work with confidence.

Step 4: Implement Piping Strategies

A mistake commonly made at the end of the implementation of a Piping Asset Strategy Program is that the program is not “evergreened.” Aside from the program implementation potentially not returning reliability, safety, and financial payback, the culture (toward integrity) of your organization may suffer as a result. Therefore, another measure that can indicate the success of the program is the culture of your organization toward the implementation. There will be resistance at times, but through training and awareness, your organization should transition to valuing the implementation.

To learn more about the process, watch our webinar, “The Path to Proper Piping Asset Strategies” and as a takeaway, download the infographic below to save as a reference for the future and/or share with your team.

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