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Case Study: Capital Project: Building a Strong RBI Foundation through Integrated Integrity

Learn how we helped a Midwestern refinery better focus on day-to-day operations through an integrated solution of baseline inspections and an RBI implementation.

The Challenge

A large, complex Midwestern refinery with pipeline access to widespread neighboring crude oil sources produces gasoline, diesel fuel, and other in-demand refined products. Upon the inception of a new asset expansion project, the facility needed a third party capable of providing a turnkey solution.

In June of 2015, this Midwestern refinery invested in a capital project, in which four new units would be added by January of 2016, expanding capacity from 120,000 to 135,000 bpd. With the addition of these new assets came a substantial workload: performing baseline inspections, organizing/implementing data, corrosion modeling, and a Risk-Based Inspection (RBI) analysis. As a result, the refinery personnel were facing a great deal of work to be executed in a short time.

Because this project needed to be completed within a specific time-frame, the facility faced a major challenge: they could not rely on current staff resources to manage this capital project and maintain day-to-day operations. Therefore, they initiated a search for a third-party organization that was:

  1. Capable of providing a comprehensive asset management solution that integrates RBI-based integrity and inspection services, and
  2. Adequately equipped to provide the personnel and expertise necessary to complete the project efficiently.

Pinnacle's Solution

Pinnacle was selected and trusted to complete the RBI implementation for this capital project for three key reasons: integrated asset management support, expertise, and horsepower. Pinnacle provides holistic support by integrating integrity and inspection services. Pinnacle can support capital projects and/or asset expansion with baseline inspections. In addition to inspection services, Pinnacle’s integrity and reliability engineers will also implement the new data into all relevant documentation and inspection software; perform corrosion studies and an RBI analysis; and set accurate inspection schedules. Pinnacle’s workforce also provides the expertise and horsepower needed to design and implement integrity and reliability programs, and to readily support a quality, efficient, and cost-effective project.

Because Pinnacle possesses the workforce, the multifaceted expertise, and the field inspectors to provide a holistic solution, Pinnacle was trusted to independently own the project, so once complete, everything would be ready to hand over to the client. Pinnacle’s process, which involves minimal involvement from the client, is outlined below.

1. Gather and Organize Data:

Pinnacle first gathered all relevant data and documentation by extracting asset information from facility piping and instrumentation diagrams (P&IDs), process flow diagrams (PFDs), Computer Maintenance Management System (CMMS) exports, spreadsheets, and personnel interviews. With this information, Pinnacle generated a comprehensive Master Asset List. Next, Pinnacle gathered and organized all critical mechanical integrity documentation associated with the assets within the Master Asset List to create an Electronic Document Library. This comprehensive document library was considered the single source location for all asset information, as the process to build out systems with pertinent data was conducted. It was also a key deliverable for the facility, as it served the purpose of a file system for PSM required documentation, inspection reports, inspection drawings, and other critical documentation for all of the assets involved in the project.

2. Systemization and Circuitization:

Next, utilizing Pinnacle’s Electronic Circuitizer™ software, the Pinnacle team circuitized P&IDs for each process unit. The following tasks were completed to develop circuitized P&IDs: Gather and systemize PFDs into corrosion loops, review systemized PFDs with client for verification, gather CAD versions of unit P&IDs Develop circuitization procedure with client, overlay new circuitization layers on existing P&IDs, add supplementary CAD layers defining pipe metallurgy.

3. Corrosion Modeling:

To determine present damage mechanisms, Pinnacle generated corrosion model diagrams for each process area. The following tasks were completed to develop the corrosion models: Process static asset data, collect operating conditions from PFDs, corrosion modeling by Pinnacle corrosion specialist, create corrosion model diagrams from PFDs

4. Inspection Drawings, CML Placement, & Inspection Scheduling:

Pinnacle generated field-sketched inspection drawings for all equipment and piping circuits and performed the required CAD work. This effort included: field verification of P&IDs to indicate areas to be corrected and field sketching of all piping and equipment to generate inspection drawings. Sketches were then drafted in AutoCAD format and electronically delivered to client. Next Pinnacle identified Condition Monitoring Locations (CMLs) and placed them on the inspection drawings, based on corrosion models and client procedures. CML locations were field-verified for accessibility and adjustments to placement were made as needed.

5. Perform Inspections:

After generating the inspection drawings, Pinnacle performed the following work to establish baseline readings for all of the in-scope equipment and piping circuits: installation of inspection ports at CML locations on insulated piping and equipment as applicable, Pinnacle Level II Technicians took UT measurements at CMLs, Pinnacle API 510/570 inspectors performed external visual inspections.

6. RBI Software Implementation:

Next, Pinnacle implemented the data (gathered from the inspection activities) into the client’s RBI software for a turnkey project delivery of four large cap units. Within this step, Pinnacle performed a complete RBI assessment for each asset, using RBI software to generate a risk profile across all piping and equipment assets and a complete inspection plan for each piping and equipment asset, including: next inspection dates, inspection techniques to be utilized, extent of inspection to be applied, anticipated effect of planned inspection on risk, a complete set of default reports, checklists, and formats to be used in future inspections.


Pinnacle’s success is largely determined by forming strategic partnerships with each of its clients to deliver optimal results. On this particular capital project, Pinnacle provided a comprehensive RBI software data management program, with data supported by Pinnacle’s inspection team.

Pinnacle’s single-source provider format provided the client several efficiencies. First, as previously mentioned, Pinnacle executed all required engineering and inspection activities in addition to all project management needs. Weekly updates were held with site stakeholders informing them of progress and other Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), resulting in minimal client involvement while ensuring buy-in on progress, quality, and schedule adherence. Secondly, the client was able to focus on managing day-to-day operations and turnaround schedules, while realizing the completion of the addition of all the new assets to the facility’s Mechanical Integrity (MI) program.

Increased value to the client, as a result of the project includes the following:

Ensured Compliance:

The consolidation of information to one central location enables the client to easily access the current status of all the assets included in this project. This consolidated source of information will allow the client to more effectively document the future status of each asset, enabling informed business decisions that will drive continued compliance.

Optimized Costs:

The results of the RBI implementation will promote proactive acknowledgment of inspection activity, based on the susceptibility of each asset. Being proactive with inspection activity thus enables the client to avoid unplanned failures and unplanned downtime, thereby, optimizing costs.

Increased Efficiency for MI Personnel:

The results of the RBI implementation will promote proactive acknowledgment of inspection activity, based on the susceptibility of each asset. Being proactive with inspection activity thus enables the client to avoid unplanned failures and unplanned downtime, thereby, optimizing costs.

Overall, Pinnacle provided comprehensive asset management support through its multifaceted areas of expertise and through its unparalleled horsepower, delivering the value of efficiency. Through the execution of this project, the assets analyzed for this capital project have now received the proper foundation for achieving safety, compliance, and cost savings, and the client is now fully equipped to run and maintain a highly effective program.

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