13 June, 2021

The Approach and Challenges – Corrosion Management System

INTRODUCTION

Heavy industries are constantly scrutinized by governmental, societal and regulatory institutes to demonstrate safe operations while ensuring operability and availability are maintained throughout design life. To address these challenges, industrial facilities should have a rigorous Asset Integrity Management System (AIMS) comprising of multiple elements integrated across the various pillars of people, technology, policies, and procedures.

A Corrosion Management system is considered as one of the indispensable elements of a successful AIMS. Hence, it is imperative to ensure that a corrosion management system is in place, adequately integrated and operationalised.

WHAT TYPES OF FACILITIES REQUIRE A CORROSION MANAGEMENT SYSTEM?

Most industrial facilities are subject to corrosion degradation. The severity and mechanism of corrosion degradation may vary from one industry to another depending on the process and/or environmental conditions of the facility. In such cases, the establishment of a corrosion management system is an inevitable requirement to preserve the integrity and operability of the facility throughout its design life. Some of these facility types are oil and gas processing, refinery, petrochemicals, oil and gas downstream facilities, paper and pulp mill, transportation infrastructure, renewable energy, steel mills and other heavy industries.

WHAT ARE THE MAIN CHALLENGES IN ESTABLISHING A ROBUST CORROSION MANAGEMENT SYSTEM?

The establishment of a successful corrosion management system is not a straightforward process, and as any other integrity management processes, challenges are usually encountered during the development and implementation phase. These challenges are widely manifested throughout the following areas:

  • Strategy: Corrosion management systems are often poorly engineered at setup phase and don’t target the key relevant damage mechanisms and threats affecting a facility. The activities, thresholds and procedures to execute the system are not fully defined and planned out resulting in an ineffective program. In many clients we observe how the corrosion management system is often kept siloed and not integrated with the wider AIMS program which has a detrimental effect on its impact.

  • Human Factor: People are usually resistant to changes and prone to error. Human error is common in all parts of our life. Most of our daily errors are tolerable and usually lead to a harmless consequence. However, human errors in hazardous environments can potentially lead to significant consequences. Commonly cited statistics indicated that more than 70% of major incidents are attributable to human errors in some form [Ref.1]. Addressing human errors through training, competency frameworks and disciplinary action is a short-sighted approach if the latent conditions in the work processes are flawed. A comprehensive corrosion management system which is fully integrated in the AIMS management system tends to create a systematic approach to the processes and helps to minimise human error to as low as practicable.

  • Data Gathering: An extensive data gathering will be required for an all-rounded corrosion management system to be established. Data collection is deemed to be one of the greatest challenges encountered during the establishment of a corrosion management system. The availability of design data such as process basis of design, material selection reports, process flow diagrams, process and instrument diagrams, and heat and mass balance documents can sometimes become a challenge if the company does not have a robust documentation management system in place. Another challenge is associated with the availability of historical data such as changes in process and operational parameters, change in material of construction, anomaly and failure register, inspection records, chemical application and management data, corrosion monitoring and sampling data along with any other information which can assist to determine the credible corrosion threats and their relevant mitigation measures. In such cases, data gathering becomes reliant on inputs provided by staff who are well comprehended with historical and current issues within the facility. Assumptions are usually made when gaps are identified and subject to continuous verification and correction during the implementation period of the corrosion management system.

  • Reporting: Continuous monitoring and analysis of the ongoing corrosion and chemical management system is vital to ensure its effectiveness and allow for remediations to be carried out in timely manner. Hence, it is imperative to have a streamlined reporting process in place to allow for seamless communication across the various disciplines involved in the corrosion management system. However, not all companies have a robust reporting system in place to allow for efficient evaluation and communication to management. On many occasions, the corrosion management system is often found in the custodianship of site execution staff with limited visibility, trending and analysis performed on the data. Such behaviours promote management disengagement and a lost opportunity for data analytics and further optimization. A digital platform which can store all corrosion management system data and present this via leading and lagging Key Performance Indicators (KPI) format is deemed to be the most effective method for reporting. A management dashboard with a compliance traffic light system is noted to prompt improved management engagement and their buy-in to any improvements or investment required. Continuous data trending and correlation through data analytics can also provide an early warning to imminent degradation threats which can be further verified through targeted inspection. The corrosion management system should fully integrate and influence the wider AIMS.

  • Competency: A corrosion management system is only as good as the personnel who are responsible for its implementation. The effectiveness can be significantly undermined if the core competency required for the job is not available. The lack of a corrosion management competence framework is a common challenge across all industries. Also, operation cultures which are driven by inspection findings and corrective maintenance, as a way to maximize productivity and reduce unplanned shutdown, tend to overlook the benefits which can be gained by having a robust corrosion management system in place.

  • Financial: Most industrial sectors are facing significant financial challenges due to the volatility status of the current global market. As a result of that, management often tends to consider corrosion management as a secondary requirement, “nice to have”, rather than a key element for asset integrity assurance and as a main contributor to increased availability and productivity of their assets.

WHAT ARE THE KEY STEPS IN ESTABLISHING A CORROSION MANAGEMENT SYSTEM?

Establishing a corrosion management system is a long-term process which starts from the Concept design phase all the way to the asset’s end of life. It is always recommended to complete most of the corrosion management system elements during the detailed design phase to allow for gaps in the design to be mitigated in this phase and prior to the completion of construction. However, the various elements of the corrosion management system can still be developed during operation if deemed necessary.

The corrosion management system should not be siloed from the other elements of AIMS. Some elements of the AIMS can be a source of information to identify poor practices, and if properly exploited, can be a great opportunity to improve and/or optimize the incumbent program. Amongst a few examples, the linkage between the corrosion, chemical and inspection program can leverage significant optimisation opportunities.

INTRO TO AIE SERVICES AND CCM SOFTWARE 

AIE provides a range of corrosion and flow assurance consulting services that comply with Safety, Health and Environmental policies and which help to increase plant availability as well as reduce leakages and unplanned maintenance.

Being a leading asset integrity management services provider, AIE has extensive experience in building and implementing corrosion and chemical management systems using our bespoke corrosion and chemical management software Veracity CCM. AIE has also recently launched Veracity App which provides a digital field reporting solution for online and offline data capture. By replacing pen and paper forms, the mobile app takes its users through a user friendly and intuitive process to seamlessly collect and record data directly onto Veracity CCM.

AIE operationalizes a complete corrosion management system by developing site specific Corrosion Management Strategies, operationalizing the strategy on Veracity CCM and by using Veracity App for data collection, which allows for periodic CCM activities to be performed on time and transparently reporting the corrosion management performance using a KPI system to management.

To complete the holistic corrosion management system, AIE offers the following chemical and flow assurance consultancy services: Corrosion Risk Assessments, Chemical Testing, Chemical Optimisation, Independent Management of Laboratory Testing and Corrosion Coupon Removal/Analysis, Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion (MIC) Assessment and Mitigation, Wax and Asphaltene Deposition and Management, Cathodic Protection Assessment and Optimisation and Materials Engineering Services.

Additionally, some of the services offered to compliment the corrosion management system include: Mothballing and Decommissioning, Management of CUI Risks, Fitness for Service studies, Corrosion Circuitization and Risk-Based Inspection programs.

REFERENCES

[1]        NOPSEMA, “Human Factors”, https://www.nopsema.gov.au/resources/human-factors, NOPSEMA Australia’s Offshore Energy Regulator.

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