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Proceedings of the 2014 10th International Pipeline Conference

IPC2014
September 29 - October 3, 2014, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

IPC2014-33207

GUIDELINES FOR INTERPRETATION AND APPLICATION OF API STANDARD 1104


William A. Bruce, P.E. * Bill Amend, P.E. Geoff Rogers
DNV GL DNV GL DNV GL
Dublin, Ohio, USA Yorba Linda, California, USA Katy, Texas, USA

Yong-Yi Wang, Ph.D. Steve Rapp, P.E.


Center for Reliable Energy Systems Spectra Energy
Dublin, Ohio, USA Houston, Texas, USA

ABSTRACT
API 1104 is revised regularly to adapt to changing pipeline
The application of requirements contained in many industry construction practices. In spite of these revisions, there are
codes and standards requires some interpretation by the user many requirements in API 1104 that are subject to
and by the regulator who is called upon to enforce their use. interpretation. The use of the current guidance document,
There are often differences in the way requirements are which was published in April 2010, has allowed users and
interpreted because of ambiguous specification language, regulators to better understand the intent regarding
unclear rationale behind the requirements, or novel or non- interpretation of some requirements in API 1104, the rationale
traditional applications. Some industry codes and standards behind the requirements, and the applicability of the
contain guidance in the form of commentary sections or requirements to both conventional and modern high-strength
companion documents to assist in matters of interpretation and pipelines. The current guidance document pertains to the
application. Until recently, this was not the case for API Twentieth Edition of API 1104 (November 2005) as amended
Standard 1104 – Welding of Pipelines and Related Facilities,(1) by the Errata/Addenda issued in July 2007. In the meantime,
where requests for interpretation have been frequent because of the Twenty-first Edition of API 1104 has been published
unclear requirements or an absence of information pertaining to (September 2013). In a follow-on PRCI-sponsored project at
rationale. DNV GL, the guidance document is being updated for the
Twenty-first Edition.
This paper describes a project sponsored by Pipeline
Research Council International (PRCI) and carried out by BACKGROUND
DNV GL that resulted in the development of a guidance
document for API 1104.(2) API 1104 is the most widely-used industry standard in the
world for pipeline construction. For the majority of cross
INTRODUCTION country pipelines constructed in the United States, the use of
certain sections of API 1104 is mandated by Federal
Since API 1104 is written in the form of a specification, it regulations.
cannot present background information or discuss the intent of
the API 1104 committee. The intent of the API 1104 Many changes in the pipeline industry have occurred since
committee, and the rationale pertaining to how some of the the First Edition of API 1104 was introduced in 1953, although
requirements in API 1104 came about, lies with individuals who many of the construction practices that were used then are still
have been or were members of the committee for many years. used today. Significant changes include the development of
If not documented, as has been the case in the past, that higher strength line pipe materials and the development of high-
rationale tends to become lost over time. productivity mechanized welding equipment. Many new long-

*
Presenting author

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distance transmission pipelines are constructed today using reviewed. This included a review of the API 1104 database for
high-strength line pipe materials (API 5L Grade X70 and technical inquiries(5) to determine what topics or sections
above) and high-productivity mechanized welding equipment, require the most frequent interpretation. Representatives from
and the completed girth welds are inspected using automated PRCI member companies were also informally surveyed to
ultrasonic testing (AUT) equipment. In spite of these better define areas of concern. Questions typical of those
developments, many pipelines are still constructed using lower- commonly addressed by DNV GL staff in the course of project
strength material and conventional “stove-pipe” welding work were tabulated and addressed in the development of the
practices and the completed girth welds are inspected using guidance document
radiographic testing (RT). It should be noted that even lower
grade line pipe materials (API 5L Grade X65 and lower) can be Other industry standards that contain guidance pertaining to
manufactured from microalloyed steels which can have very topics of concern were also reviewed. For example, AWS B2.1-
different response to welding thermal cycles than quenched and 84, Standard for Welding Procedure and Performance
tempered and relatively high carbon steels produced before the Qualification,(6) is a universal document that contains
1960’s. requirements for the qualification of welding procedures and for
the performance qualification of welders and welding operators.
A literature search was also performed to identify published
The version of API 1104 that is currently recognized by journal articles, conference papers, etc.,(7-9) that contain
Federal regulators in the United States is the Twentieth Edition, guidance that could be included in the document. In addition, a
which was issued in November 2005. An addenda/errata very useful document that is part of the American Welding
document to the Twentieth Edition was issued in July 2007. In Society Certified Welding Inspector program was identified and
spite of periodic revisions, there are many requirements in API used (with permission from AWS). This document, AWS API-
1104 that continue to be subject to interpretation. For example, M:2006, Study Guide for API Standard 1104,(10) contains
many of the suggested ranges for procedure and welder section-by-section guidance pertaining to understanding and
qualification are nearly always taken literally, whereas the intent learning how to apply API 1104.
is to allow flexibility. Where the user does elect to specify
another range or grouping, no guidance is given as to what FORMAT DEVELOPMENT
constitutes an acceptable range or grouping. This can result in
procedures that are less than completely sound when ranges that The required format for the guidance document was
are too wide are specified or difficult to execute in the field developed. From the onset of this project, it was anticipated
when ranges that are too narrow are specified. The lack of that the format would follow the format of the API 1104
guidance gives regulators little support in terms of enforcement. document itself. Where additional guidance and/or a
description of the rationale behind the requirement was
There is a formal procedure for handling requests for determined to be necessary, it was developed and included in a
interpretations within the API 1104 committee structure, but draft of the guidance document. Where the requirement is self-
these can take weeks and sometimes up to a full year to resolve. explanatory, this was indicated in the draft document.
There is also a database of previous requests for interpretations
(technical inquiries), but this only contains relatively recent The draft of the guidance document included two parallel
inquiries (from 1996) and the existence of this database may not columns; one contained the text of API 1104 and the other
be apparent to the typical user. contained the corresponding guidance material. The benefit of
this format was that it allowed side-by-side comparison of the
The premise behind this project was that the development text in API 1104 with the guidance material. Because of
of a guidance document for API 1104, similar to the copyright restrictions, it was not possible to include the text of
commentary section contained in AWS D1.1, Structural API 1104 in the guidance document. The resulting guidance
Welding Code – Steel,(3) would alleviate some of the concerns document therefore contains only the guidance material, which
raised above. AWS D1.1 is the most widely used reference for requires that both documents be available to the user for
structural steel welding. The commentary section of this code effective use of the guidance document. In the guidance
provides users with valuable information pertaining to document, users are strongly encouraged to read the paragraph
interpretation, rationale, and applicability of the code. The in API 1104 and then read the guidance material that
Canadian standard CSA Z662- Oil and Gas Pipeline Systems(4) corresponds to that paragraph.
also contains a commentary document for this purpose.
The outline of the guidance document follows the outline in
REVIEW OF INDUSTRY NEEDS AND PRACTICES the API 1104 document itself. Sections of the guidance
The needs of the industry with respect to what sections of document are preceded with the letter “G” for “guidance”. For
API 1104 require clarification or supplementary guidance were example, 5.3.2.11 in API 1104 is titled “Type and Removal of
Lineup Clamp”. In the guidance document, guidance material

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for this section can be found in G5.3.2.11. Tables and figures in high-strength pipelines constructed using high-productivity
the guidance document are also preceded with the letter “G” to mechanized welding equipment. Guidance pertaining to
differentiate between these and the tables and figures in API Appendix A of API 1104 (alternative acceptance standards
1104 itself. based on fitness-for-purpose criteria) and Appendix B (in-
service welding) was also developed.
Some of the guidance material is repeated in several places
in the guidance document. It is anticipated that this document Two examples that describe the development of the
will not be read cover-to-cover, but that certain sections will be guidance material, both of which pertain to qualification of
referred to on as needed basis (i.e., it will be used as a look-up welding procedures (Section 5 in API 1104), are provided
document) This repetition is intentional and is intended to below:
provide the required guidance in each of the places where it is
needed. For example, someone who is qualifying procedures Example 1 – Wall Thickness Groupings for
for mechanized welding (Section 12) may not think to look in Specification Information
Section 5 (procedure qualification for manual welding) for
essential variable guidance pertaining to preheating and inter- When developing a welding procedure, 5.3.2.3 of API 1104
pass temperature, so the guidance material is provided in both (specification information for diameters and wall thicknesses)
places. indicates:

DEVELOPMENT OF GUIDANCE MATERIAL The ranges of outside diameters and wall thicknesses over
which the procedure is applicable shall be identified.
The majority of the effort for this project focused on the Examples of suggested groupings are shown in 6.2.2, items
development of material for the guidance document. Where d and e.
necessary, items that were determined to be in need of guidance
were researched to identify the source of the requirement and The guidance material for 5.3.2.3, in part, indicates:
the rationale behind the requirement. The guidance material
was developed from this and using a variety of resources. The suggested groupings shown in 6.2.2, items d and e are
These resources included: just that – suggested groupings. Other groupings can be
used provided that there is technical justification for doing
• AWS API-M:2006 – Study Guide for API Standard so based on sound engineering judgment. Guidance can
1104 be found in a variety of other codes and standards. For
example, some codes limit wall thickness to which the
• API 1104 Technical Inquiries Database procedure is applicable from some minimum thickness to
2t, where t is the wall thickness used for procedure
• CSA Z662 – Oil and Gas Pipeline Systems – code and qualification.
commentary
The suggestion that some minimum thickness to 2t might
be a reasonable alternative to the wall thickness groupings
• ASME Section IX – Welding and Brazing
shown in 6.2.2 was taken from ASME Section IX (QW-451).
Qualifications(11)
For procedures qualified on material that is over 3⁄8 inch (10
mm) thick but less than 3⁄4 inch (19 mm) thick, the thickness
• AWS B2.1-84 – Standard for Welding Procedure and
range qualified according to ASME Section IX is 3⁄16 inch (5
Performance Qualification
mm) to 2t. AWS B2.1-84 includes this same provision
(Paragraph 2.4.1).
• AWS D1.1:2000, Structural Welding Code – Steel
Example 2 – Essential Variable for Joint Design
• Proposed revisions to API 1104 (from committee
member correspondence) When determining the applicability of a qualified welding
procedure, 5.4.2.3 of API 1104 (essential variable requirements
• Project team member experience for joint design) indicates:

• Inquiries to PRCI member company representatives A major change in joint design (for example, from V
groove to U groove) constitutes an essential variable.
To the extent that it was possible, the guidance that was Minor changes in the angle of bevel or the land of the
developed pertains to both conventional pipelines constructed welding groove are not essential variables.
using conventional stove-pipe welding practices and modern

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The guidance material for 5.4.2.3, in part, indicates: The guidance document contains a disclaimer in the
Forward section that reads as follows:
API 1104 does not define what constitutes a minor change
in joint design. It would seem reasonable to allow changes The guidance material contained in this document is not
to the bevel angle of up to + 20%/-5% of the nominal value part of the API 1104 standard and it has not been reviewed
and changes to the root opening or land of up to +/- 50% or approved by the committee responsible for API 1104
of the nominal value without the need for requalification. (API-AGA Joint Committee on Oil and Gas Pipeline Field
Welding Practices). Accordingly, this guidance material
The suggested ranges given in the guidance material were does not provide formal interpretations of the standard. To
taken from CSA Z662 (Clause 7.6.5) for manual or semi- request formal interpretations by the committee, the
automatic welding. The guidance material for 5.4.2.3 also procedure outlined in the Forward section of API 1104
indicates should be followed.

A change from a butt weld to a fillet weld is a major The Forward section goes on to say the following:
change in joint design, thus requiring that a new procedure
be qualified. A change from a fillet weld to a groove weld The guidance material contained in this document includes
of a branch connection is also a major change in joint the opinions of the authors and contributors and not
design, thus requiring that a new procedure be qualified. necessarily those of API or PRCI.
However, a branch connection can consist of a groove
weld and a fillet weld. Therefore, for welding full- While the authors believe that guidance document will
encirclement sleeves that involve only fillet welds, a indeed be useful to both users and regulators, there are certainly
welding procedure qualified for a branch connection improvements that are possible. For example, the guidance
(groove and fillet weld) is sufficient. However, a welding material for some sections is more comprehensive than for
procedure qualified by welding a full encirclement sleeve others. In addition to periodic updates, further revisions of the
(fillet weld only) is not sufficient for welding a branch guidance document can incorporate expanded guidance for
connection that includes a groove weld. these less-comprehensive sections. In a current project for
PRCI,(12) the guidance document is being updated for the
This guidance material was derived from a combination of recently-released Twenty-first Edition of API 1104.(13) During
responses listed in the API 1104 Technical Inquiries Database this update, the improvements described above are also being
(Inquiry Nos. 1104-I-0810-96, 1104-I-1122-96, and 1104 I incorporated.
0608 04).
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
INDUSTRY REVIEW
The use of the guidance document will allow both users
As draft sections of the guidance document were and regulators to better understand the intent regarding the
developed, these were sent to various industry representatives interpretation of some requirements, the rationale behind the
for review. These included current members of the API 1104 requirements, and the applicability of API 1104 to both
committee, former (retired) committee members, conventional and modern high-strength pipelines. The use of
representatives from PRCI member companies, Federal this document will also increase the safety and reliability of
regulators in the United States, and other interested individuals. newly constructed pipeline by avoiding misinterpretation of
Comments and suggestions from these individuals were requirements. It will also allow users to confidently tailor
incorporated into the draft sections, as appropriate. welding procedures to better fit the requirements for their
specific needs without fear of violating arbitrarily established
RESULTING GUIDANCE DOCUMENT ranges and groupings. This may in turn reduce the cost of
pipeline construction and maintenance activities.
Following review and revision, each the draft sections was
used to develop a final version of the guidance document. The ACKNOLEGEMENTS
primary focus of this task was the development of an easy to
read, cohesive document that will be useful to both users and The authors would like to thank those individuals who
regulators. The final version of the guidance document is contributed to the development of the guidance material, either
provided in an appendix to the final report for this project, through direct contributions of material or by reviewing drafts
which described the development of the guidance document.. of the guidance material. These individuals include, but are not
limited to, Alan Beckett (Alyeska Pipeline Service Company),
Geoff Rogers (then with Spectra Energy), Jan van der Ent

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(Applus RTD), James Barber (Marathon Pipe Line LLC), Ken [5.] API 1104 Technical Inquiries Database –
Lee (Lincoln Electric Company, now with US Department of http://committees.api.org/standards/tech/
Transportation), Jim McHaney (Microalloying International), pplnti.html
Gery Bauman (US Department of Transportation), Joe Kiefer
(ConocoPhillips), and Bob Wright (retired API 1104 committee [6.] AWS B2.1-84, Standard for Welding Procedure and
member). Permission from American Welding Society for the Performance Qualification, American Welding Society,
use of the existing guidance material in AWS API-M:2006 Miami, Florida, 1984.
(Study Guide for API Standard 1104) is also greatly
appreciated. The authors would also like to thank Steve Rapp [7.] Bruce, W. A., “Recent Changes in Code Requirements for
(Spectra Energy), who conceived the idea of this project and Repair of In-Service Pipelines by Welding,” International
acted as the project leader for PRCI, the PRCI project team Pipeline Conference – IPC 2000 (Calgary), 2000.
members, and Tara Podnar and Libby Brannon at DNV GL for
their contributions in the early stage of this project. [8.] Underwood, A. C., “It Pays to Understand Pipeline
Standards,” Welding Design & Fabrication, February 1979.
REFERENCES
[9.] Wang Y.-Y, Liu, M., Horsley, D., and Bauman, G., “A
[1.] API Standard 1104, Welding of Pipelines and Related Tiered Approach to Girth Weld Defect Acceptance Criteria
Facilities, American Petroleum Institute, Washington, D.C., for Stress-Based Design of Pipelines”, International
Twentieth Edition, November 2005. Pipeline Conference – IPC 2006 (Calgary), 2006.

[2.] Bruce, W. A., Amend, W. E., and Wang, Y.-Y., Guidelines [10.] AWS API-M:2006, Study Guide for API Standard
for Interpretation and Application of API 1104, Final 1104, American Welding Society, Miami, Florida, 2006.
Report for PRCI Contract API-1-2, Pipeline Research
Council International, Inc., Arlington, Virginia, April 2010. [11.] ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code, Section IX:
http://prci.org/index.php/pm/pubs_localdetails/?docid=602 Welding and Brazing Qualifications, American Society of
Mechanical Engineers, New York, New York, July 2007.
[3.] AWS D1.1:2000, Structural Welding Code – Steel,
American Welding Society, Miami, Florida, 2000. [12.] Bruce, W. A., Update and Further Development of
PRCI Guidance Document for API Standard 1104,
[4.] CSA Z662-03, Oil and Gas Pipeline Systems, Canadian Proposal to Pipeline Research Council International, Inc.,
Standards Association, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, Arlington, Virginia, December 2011.
2003.
[13.] API Standard 1104, Welding of Pipelines and Related
Facilities, American Petroleum Institute, Washington, D.C.,
Twenty-first Edition, September 2013.

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