Learn how we helped a petrochemical manufacturing facility better identify risks and achieve regulatory compliance through a comprehensive RBI program.


A facility in southern Louisiana needed a plan to achieve regulatory compliance.


Pinnacle implemented a comprehensive RBI program at the facility.


As a result, the facility has a greater degree of clarity regarding where risks reside in its location.

The Challenge

A petrochemical manufacturing facility in southern Louisiana began production in 1966 and after several additions and expansions, today manufactures Aniline, Toluene Diisocyanate, Methylene Diphenyl Isocyanate (MDI), and Diphenylamine (DPA). These chemical compounds are used in a wide range of products including polyurethane insulation; furniture and bedding; adhesives; coatings and elastomers; footwear; and pharmaceuticals.

In 2010, this facility needed to:

  1. Achieve regulatory compliance
  2. Understand the current condition of its fixed equipment and piping

However, the company was facing an uphill battle. In order to meet its compliance goal within one calendar year, the company would need to invest more than $7 million in inspection costs, which did not include expenses associated with unit shut-down or vessel cleaning and preparation for internal inspections.

Even more critical to the team was the need to prioritize and organize this massive inspection endeavor. At the time, the facility was overdue on 90 percent of internal inspections and up to 95 percent of the location’s piping had never been inspected. The facility also lacked an Inspection Data Management System (IDMS) that could organize its scheduling, activities, and location information.

Pinnacle’s Solution

After understanding the facility’s situation, Pinnacle implemented a Risk-Based Inspection (RBI) program. The comprehensive effort began with capturing all hardcopy and electronic documentation and completing a significant datamining effort to extract all of the design information and import it into the newly integrated IDMS and RBI software chosen by the company. Pinnacle then organized this data into a library, improving the efficiency with which inspection and maintenance staff can access critical asset data.

Pinnacle then went on to systemize and circuitize the piping into groups which shared common susceptibilities and degradation rates. These diagrams were delivered to the client in AutoCAD format, which would enable easy management and evergreening as changes occur in the facility over time.

Subsequent to the data gathering and organization, the Pinnacle engineering staff and corrosion specialists facilitated multiple meetings with the facility’s key stakeholders to gather and validate operating conditions, inspection history, consequence of failure for assets, damage mechanisms affecting the equipment and piping, and other crucial information required to implement the RBI system.


Throughout a three-year phased implementation period, Pinnacle delivered the client inspection plans for all of the facility’s assets, including RBI “due dates” and risk rankings derived from consequence of failure (COF) and the probability of failure (POF) assessments for each damage mechanism affecting the asset.

The risk ranking of the equipment and piping in the facility provided the facility with the prioritization tools needed to formulate a path forward, and a systematic plan for the types and locations of inspections, as well as the qualifications needed by inspection personnel. Asset integrity staff at this facility now know where to target inspections for cracking, corrosion under insulation (CUI), general and localized thinning, and other areas that could affect the plant’s assets.

This Pinnacle client continues to experience the inspection program’s full benefits, and there are early indications of its success. The company’s improved understanding of damage mechanisms has allowed their staff to perform inspections that had not previously been conducted. A specific example of the company’s achievement includes its goal of determining the effects of CUI on piping. During the inspection of high-risk piping as identified by Pinnacle, it was realized that insulation was the only thing preventing the complete loss of integrity of the thinning piping underneath. Prior to engagement with Pinnacle that area had never been inspected.

This facility now benefits from planning turnaround inspection efforts using RBI. Inspections are more targeted for specific damage mechanisms and there is less discovery work that results from each inspection. The facility has a greater degree of clarity regarding where risk resides in its facility and what types of inspection will mitigate those risks. The ability to leverage strategic on stream inspections to determine the extent of damage will provide this company with the flexibility to reduce shut-downs in production for inspection purposes in the future. The implementation of a comprehensive RBI program made these efficiencies possible.

More resources like this