Tougher environmental and safety regulations and cost cutting are forcing refiners and petrochemical companies to search for new tools to manage the integrity of aging equipment. A Risk Based approach to equipment management can be used to quantify and compare the relative cost benefits of inspection practices and policies. In the refining and petrochemical industries, the use of risk analysis as a decision-making tool is gaining industry acceptance. Currently, the American Petroleum Institute (API) is developing are commended practice for the use of Risk Based Inspection methodology.
Risk Based Inspection is a method for using risk as a basis to prioritize and manage the efforts of an inspection program. An effective risk based program results in a reduced level of risk for a given level of inspection activity. In any operating plant, a relatively large percentage of the risk is usually associated with a small percentage of the equipment. A Risk Based Inspection methodology permits the shift of inspection and maintenance resources to provide a higher level of coverage on the high-risk items and an appropriate effort on lower risk equipment. The methodology can be used to:
1. Reduce overall risk while optimizing maintenance and inspection costs.
2. Evaluate the operational benefits or risks associated with extending time between unit shutdowns.
3. Evaluate the risk and increased maintenance and inspection costs associated with refining opportunity crudes, Three case studies are presented to demonstrate the value of RBI implementation in three refinery units. Various cost and risk benefit perspectives are covered.