A new methodology designed to address the major safety threat and multi-billion-dollar cost posed by corrosion under insulation (CUI) has been published by DNV GL, the technical advisor to the oil and gas industry.
CUI, a type of corrosion which arises when water becomes trapped between insulation and the piping and vessels it is designed to protect, has contributed to more than 20% of all major oil and gas accidents in the EU alone over the past 35 years. DNV GL’s industry-first methodology helps integrity engineers and plant managers to identify the areas of a plant with the greatest current and future risk of CUI and take action to prevent failures.
Recommended Practice (RP) DNVGL¬RP¬G109 was developed in collaboration with several regulatory bodies, international oil and gas operators and major players in the supply chain to deliver a practical and cost-effective methodology for managing the threat of CUI and is setting a new standard for managing CUI risk.
CUI can take the form of localized external corrosion in carbon and low-alloy steels, external stress corrosion cracking (ESCC) or pitting in austenitic and duplex stainless steel. Despite the risks that CUI exposes, the oil and gas industry has never adopted a standard approach for identifying and managing the threat. Operators currently employ a variety of methods to identify the presence of CUI on their assets. These range from using diverse inspection methods that can lead to undetected defects to the expensive process of systematically removing and renewing all insulation and coating with limited upfront assessment of the risk of CUI presence. DNV GL’s RP provides a systematic approach to assessing, mitigating and updating CUI risk.
Koheila Molazemi, Technology and Innovation Director, DNV GL - Oil & Gas said: “Corrosion under insulation is recognized as the single most expensive corrosion issue in the oil and gas and petrochemical industries. Our Recommended Practice has been developed as a guide to the most effective and efficient way to assess, mitigate and systematically manage the risk.
“With its hidden and pervasive threat to life, property and the environment, and the cost of accidents and mitigation being staggeringly high - the combination of the new Recommended Practice and the CUI Manager, digital tool enables the industry to control CUI risk significantly more cost efficiently.
“The new Recommended Practice is a great example of DNV GL’s approach to exploring and identifying problems with our partners, to ultimately establish industry benchmarks for safely and effectively manage these issues.”
DNV GL has also developed a digital tool to support the implementation and use of its methodology. CUI Manager applies machine learning to CUI data gathered from operators with the methodology from DNV GL’s Recommended Practice, to continuously assess and calculate the risk of CUI in process plants. According to estimations the tool can reduce the cost of CUI-related maintenance by up to 50%, while enabling asset managers to:
- Continuously assess CUI risk and predict the cost of mitigation
- Optimize CUI strategies and gain detailed insights
- Access a global database, gain knowledge and benchmark performance
- Track the status of inspections and manage deviations
- Evaluate the risk impact of different mitigation measures and their cost
- Communicate and interpret data more effectively
- Integrate CUI assessment data with existing ERP systems.