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Energy Institute updates technical guidance on small bore tubing assemblies

11 September 2013

A significant proportion of hydrocarbon releases in the UK between 2009 and 2010 were related to small bore tubing (SBT). To assist in improving the safety and integrity of SBT assemblies, the Energy Institute (EI) has updated its guidelines for the design, installation and management of small bore tubing assemblies.

SBT assemblies are used extensively in industry, in both onshore and offshore oil and gas processing plants, petroleum refineries, power generation stations and petrochemical plants. They are widely deployed, particularly as modern processing plants feature large numbers of control and monitoring instruments and therefore require a substantial quantity of fittings and joints. 

The need for the safety and integrity of SBT assemblies is further strengthened by legal obligations, including the managing of operators’ responsibilities, instilled by the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. 

The integrity of SBT assemblies is reliant upon sound design practice, appropriate selection of components and their materials, installation by competent installers and well planned inspection and repair programmes. Past experience has shown that the root cause of many SBT failures are due to poor assembly practice and industry has revised and re-designed its training and competency programmes to counter this.

The updated second edition of Guidelines for the design, installation and management of small bore tubing assemblies provides a good practice model throughout the life cycle of SBT assemblies. The amended contents also include revised design guidance developed from recent research on how to avoid fatigue failure from static and dynamic loading, tubing support, component metallurgy, and an enhanced section on training and competency which aligns with current industry practice.

Hydrasun will be sponsoring an official launch of the document at the EI’s Operational asset integrity management for ageing offshore oil and gas infrastructure conference on 29 October in Aberdeen, UK. This event will include discussion on successful management of small bore tubing assemblies, as well as corrosion management and decommissioning.

For more information, please visit

The Energy Institute (EI) is the leading chartered professional membership body for the energy industry, supporting over 16,000 individuals working in or studying energy and 250 energy companies worldwide. The EI provides learning and networking opportunities to support professional development, as well as professional recognition and technical and scientific knowledge resources on energy in all its forms and applications. The EI’s purpose is to develop and disseminate knowledge, skills and good practice towards a safe, secure and sustainable energy system. A registered charity, the EI serves society with independence, professionalism and a wealth of expertise in energy matters. 

This work is undertaken as part of the EI’s Process Safety Committee (PSC) remit. PSC's role is to help the energy sector to better understand the principles of process safety. It focuses on two aspects: safety performance improvement and good practice; and, liaison with key stakeholders, with most effort focused on the former. Operationally, PSC works at a high level; whereas, sub-groups work on detailed issues, including this publication content.

Each year the EI undertakes a focused technical work programme that comprises original independent research and investigations, technical responses to legislation and regulation, workshops and seminars to provide the international energy industry with information and guidance on relevant technical issues. This work is defined by the EI’s Scientific and Technical Committee (STAC) and is supported by the EI’s Technical Partners. The results of this work are made available through technical publications and events for the purpose of disseminating guidance and good industry practice as widely as possible. 

For the full range of EI technical publications, please visit:  

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