This inspection code covers the maintenance inspection, repair, alteration, and rerating procedures for pressure vessels used by the petroleum and chemical process industries. The application of this inspection code is restricted to organizations that employ or have access to an authorized inspection agency as defined in 3.4. Except as provided in 1.2, the use of this inspection code is restricted to organizations that employ or have access to engineering and inspection personnel or organizations that are technically qualified to maintain, inspect, repair, alter, or rerate pressure vessels. Pressure vessel inspectors are to be certified as stated in this inspection code. Since other codes covering specific industries and general service applications already exist (for example, Sections VI, VII, and XI of the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code and the National Board Inspection Code), the industries that fit within the restrictions above have developed this inspection code to fulfill their own specific requirements.
This inspection code applies to vessels constructed in accordance with the API/ASME Code for Unfired Pressure Vessels for Petroleum Liquids and Gases, Section VIII of the ASME Code, and other recognized pressure vessel codes; to nonstandard vessels; and to other vessels constructed noncode or approved as jurisdictional special. Examples of nonstandard vessels include:
a. A vessel fabricated to a recognized construction code but has lost it's nameplate or stamping.
b. A vessel not fabricated to a recognized construction code and meeting no known recognized standard.
This inspection code is only applicable to vessels that have been placed in service (including items further described in 1.2) and have been inspected by an authorized inspection agency or repaired by a repair organization as defined in 3.15.
Adoption and use of this inspection code does not permit its use in conflict with any prevailing regulatory requirements.
All pressure vessels used for Exploration and Production (E&P) service [for example, drilling, producing, gathering, transporting, lease processing, and treating liquid petroleum, natural gas, and associated salt water (brine)] may be inspected under the alternative rules set forth in Section 8. Except for Section 6, all of the sections in this inspection code are applicable to pressure vessels in E&P service. The alternative rules in Section 8 are intended for services that may be regulated under safety, spill, emission, or transportation controls by the U.S. Coast Guard; the Office of Hazardous Materials Transportation of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and other units of DOT; the Minerals Management Service of the U.S. Department of the Interior; state and local oil and gas agencies; or any other regulatory commission.
The following are excluded from the specific requirements of this inspection code:
a. Pressure vessels on movable structures covered by other jurisdictional regulations (see Appendix A).
b. All classes of containers listed for exemption from construction in the scope of Section VIII, Division 1, of the ASME Code (see Appendix A).
c. Pressure vessels that do not exceed the following volumes and pressures:
1. Five cubic feet (0.141 cubic meters) in volume and 250 pounds per square inch (1723.1 kilopascals) design pressure.
2. One and a half cubic feet (0.042 cubic meters) in volume and 600 pounds per square inch (4136.9 kilopascals) design pressure (see Appendix A).
This inspection code recognizes fitness-for-service concepts for evaluating in-service degradation of pressure-containing components. API RP 579 provides detailed assessment procedures for specific types of degradation that are referenced in this code.