Numerous plants around the world operate with hazardous oil and gas, petrochemicals and refining fluids that have surpassed their design life. The default design life of a plant and its major pieces of equipment is normally 30 yr. A plant reaching this design life must go through inspections to continue its operation. Failure to do so may lead to catastrophic consequences. However, when equipment has been inspected for years, what should be checked when the plant is close to reaching its design life? The facility will continue operating the way it has been since commissioning, so why should there be a need for a separate exercise?
The answer is that the records, procedures and systems that have been operating the plant may require a special check to ensure that each unit is safe to operate. This is an exercise/study that is called different things (such as an equipment life-cycle study or an asset life extension) in various parts of the world. However, it should be followed in the best way possible to ensure that aging equipment units are fit to operate.
The questions that must be asked include:
* Where to start?
* What to look for?
* Who is going to check the equipment?
Personnel operating the aging equipment may know everything about its performance, but may undermine some of the pending issues, since nothing has happened to date. An examination is required to identify any and all potential issues associated with all plant systems and to issue recommendations to address the same.
A list of black equipment. The stages...