Tubes and piping are the most failure-prone components

In a study of 1,000+ cases in oil & gas and maritime, research by DNV GL’s laboratories also identify fatigue and corrosion to be the most common modes of component failure.

Damaged pipe

Revealing the big picture for component failure

Fatigue and corrosion are the most common modes of component failure in the oil & gas and maritime industry. The cost of prevention, monitoring, repair or replacement as a result of these forms of component degradation can run into billions of dollars. Potentially, financial penalties can occur if major incidents result from such a failure.

This emerges from new DNV research based on more than 1,000 failure cases analysed from across our global network of specialist laboratories (Figures 1a and 1b). Fatigue was seen in nearly a third (30%) of cases, and corrosion in almost a fifth (19%). The research identifies which components and equipment in the oil & gas and maritime industries fail most. More than a quarter (27%) of failures were in tubes and piping, and a fifth (20%) in rotating machinery.


Applying leading digital solutions to extract failure trends

To gain insights such as those above, DNV’s experts apply several methods to documentation and data to assess failure trends and predict what components are most likely to fail. This includes analysing real-time sensor data and image recognition, and applying search-engine technologies and our technical expertise in the sector.

This systematic analytical approach means high volumes of data can be analysed far more rapidly than using traditional databases and spreadsheets. The accumulation of more and better information from operations can be applied in the front-end engineering design phase of development projects to engineer more robust assets. During operations, this can enhance optimization of inspection, repair and maintenance for more efficient and safer use of capital and human resources.

Four things you should do when a component has failed

✔ Start collecting evidence immediately: We advise you to gather as much information about failure as possible as soon after it happens. The evidence may be in varying file formats from photos, videos and other logs. Parts should usually not be disassembled and cleaned prior to engaging with failure analysis experts. Another step is to take pictures before and after any required operations.

✔ Contact your nearest DNV failure analysis laboratory for advice: Our specialized laboratories for failure analysis in Norway (Bergen and Oslo), Singapore, UK (Loughborough), and US (Columbus, Ohio) can advise you on the necessary steps to provide and handle failure evidence securely. Our specialists will use documentation that you have provided in several formats to help clarify what has happened.

✔ Consider a specialist site visit: Our specialist team of failure analysis experts can travel to the designated failure site to gather information and conduct part of the investigation there.

✔ Arrange a laboratory investigation: We advise that any critical parts are then secured for shipment to one of our failure laboratories for detailed analysis.

What happens after that?

After conducting site/lab investigations, we work with our customers to determine the root cause of the failure. Our experts can provide in-depth technical advice to prevent future failure on similar components. DNV’s global network of expertise provides a resource pool needed to ensure that failure analysis or RCA is performed properly with the goal of identifying correctable root causes.

Figure 2a - failure case by component
Figure 1a: Failure cases by component
Figure 2b - failure cases by failure modes
Figure 1b: Failure cases by failure modes

AsiaAmericasUnited Kingdom and Middle EastNordics and Europe
Labs_Da Qin XuLabs - David NorfleetLabs_Tim IllsonLabs_Gustav Heiberg
Da Qin Xu
Head of Section, Structural Integrity and Materials Technology, Singapore
Dr. David Norfleet, P.E.
Head of Section, Incident investigation, Columbus, OH, US
Timothy Frank Illson
Principal Specialist, Integrity Solutions, Loughborough, UK
Gustav Heiberg
Business Development Leader, Materials, Høvik, Norway
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