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Case Study: Overcoming Corrosion- Related Challenges Through Condition Monitoring Location Optimization

Learn how we helped an international oil and natural gas company decrease the number of Condition Monitoring Locations on its offshore platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Challenge

An international oil and natural gas company is a leader in deepwater exploration and production of transportation fuels. Owning and operating multiple offshore platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, the company identified the need to improve its inspection program by mitigating risk and optimizing the cost of asset health monitoring.

While the platforms’ asset strategies adhered to The American Petroleum Institute (API) standards, the company wanted to be better able to develop proactive asset strategies for its inspection program. To do this, the company needed to increase its confidence in inspection data by bringing all inspection data in-house and uploading all data into a single software platform. Consolidating the data would help the company focus on using the correct inspection techniques to accurately identify the location of asset damage, leading to a more effective program.

The company faced three challenges hindering its goal of moving toward a more proactive inspection program:

Corrosion and CUI:

Due to their location in the Gulf of Mexico, the platforms had a significant amount of external corrosion and corrosion under insulation (CUI) on piping and various pieces of equipment. The external corrosion and CUI were the largest contributors to loss of containment and were the largest drivers of downtime for the platforms.

Data Management:

The platforms’ inspection data, including inspection histories, Condition Monitoring Locations (CMLs), and inspection drawings, were primarily stored and maintained in multiple vendor databases. Because of this, the company’s inspectors were required to formally request data from vendors, causing delays in inspections and critical decision making. Once the inspectors received the information, they had to validate the data across multiple sources when performing inspections. Additionally, inconsistent data entry by the various vendors caused many of platforms’ inspection records to be inaccurate.

Inefficient CML Placements:

Established CMLs on the platforms were placed using a blanket approach without consideration of expected damage and asset consequence of failure. This approach resulted in thousands of CMLs placed across the company’s platforms. One platform’s piping had 7,912 CMLs and its equipment had 1,146 CMLs, all consisting primarily of spot UT CMLs. Despite the high number of CMLs placed, confidence in asset integrity was low due to recurring corrosion-related issues. The number of CMLs also created many cost and process inefficiencies for the inspection program.

Pinnacle's Solution

To address these challenges, Pinnacle was chosen as a partner to implement strategies that would help equip the company to make more strategic asset management decisions. To improve the overall effectiveness of the inspection program, Pinnacle used its streamlined approach and tools to consolidate all inspection data into a single, comprehensive data record.

Pinnacle first started by extracting inspection data from previous vendors’ databases, which included the platforms’ inspection histories, CMLs, and inspection drawings. Additionally, Pinnacle sorted through the company’s data silos and other data sources, consolidating multiple separate asset lists into a final operating asset list. Once all information was retrieved, datamined, and quality-checked, the inspection documentation was uploaded into an Inspection Data Management System (IDMS). The IDMS would serve as a single source of truth for all inspection data.

Once there was a single data source for the company to rely on, Pinnacle was able to use the data to identify and define the damage mechanisms the platforms were most likely susceptible to. Once the damage mechanisms were defined, Pinnacle utilized its CML placement strategy to define how to place CMLs to ensure inspections are taking place at the right place, the right time, and are using the right technique to maximize the probability of detection.


Through the efforts of consolidating data and implementing a CML placement strategy based on identified damage mechanisms, the company was able to improve the efficiency of its inspection program by decreasing the number of CML placements, introducing new inspection techniques, and refocusing its resources. As the project is ongoing, below are the results for one of its platforms.

By doing a detailed corrosion study and leveraging a CML placement strategy, Pinnacle was able to optimize the existing 7,912 piping CMLs to 1,680, resulting in a 78.8% reduction of CMLs. Also, because corrosion potential was better understood, 446 new CMLs were introduced, highlighting potential problem locations which had not been caught by previous inspections. Additionally, the 7,912 CMLs had all used spot UT inspection technique, limiting the amount of insight that the inspectors had on asset health. Of the 1,680 optimized CMLs, 638 continued to use spot UT, while 931 used RT and 109 used UT scan.

Additionally, Pinnacle was able to optimize the existing 1,146 equipment CMLs to 450, resulting in a 60.7% reduction of CMLs. 208 of the optimized CMLs were new and included a variety of new inspection techniques such as: spot UT, AUT, RT, PT, Grid UT, GW, SWUT, and UT scan. Many of these advanced inspection techniques, now employed, will increase the probability of damage detection and improve overall confidence in the equipment condition.

Also, by uploading all information into an IDMS, the company will move to a more permanent system of record and will be able to better analyze its data, have access to all historical reports, run queries, and manage the remaining life of its assets. As a result, the company was able to leverage existing resources to increase confidence in the asset integrity and overcome their corrosion-related challenges.

1,680 Optimized CMLs

(Before: 7,912 Spot UT CMLs)

78.8% Reduction

638 Spot UT │ 931 RT │ 103 UT Scan


To ensure the company’s newly implemented IDMS smoothly transitioned from the implementation phase to an optimally running program, Pinnacle mobilized an engineer to the company’s corporate office. The on-site engineer will continue to support the company’s staff in daily mechanical integrity and reliability tasks such as building and executing IDMS queries, running monthly and quarterly projections for upcoming inspections, and entering thickness readings from CMLs collected into the IDMS. The completion of the daily tasks by the on-site engineer will allow the company’s staff to focus on other initiatives for the project and will enable the company to make more informed decision making.

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