One of the primary goals of Oil and Gas pipeline operators is to ensure continuous and reliable delivery of crude/refined products to customers while ensuring safety of its employees, the public, customers, environment and its assets. They are faced with the increasingly complex process of maintaining the delivery of crude oil/gas/refined products at the minimal cost and impact on the surrounding environment. Pipelines are exposed to various risks such as natural forces, tectonic movements, inundation, storms, erosion, landslides, corrosion, excavation, material of construction, weld or joint failure, equipment failure, incorrect operations and asset mal-performance. In addition, Operators face strenuous regulatory governance and reporting requirements which in turn demand extensive data capture and information flows. Given the environmental focus, the regulatory and reporting requirements will continue to become more meticulous on reporting and pipeline maintenance.
Pipeline operators utilize IT and Automation Technologies such as Asset Management, GIS, Portals, SCADA, Leak Detection, Condition Monitoring, Reliability-centered Maintenance etc both for pipeline operation and its safety. In addition they deploy manual methods for maintaining integrity such as inspections, surveys, maintenance schedules, helicopter patrolling, intelligent pigging, DCVG survey, ECDA, SCCDA and other specific processes.
With automation and emergence of Human Machine Interface applications, pipeline operators now can develop graphics-based visualization of Pipeline control and monitoring systems; they can further deploy an IT framework incorporating individual integrity programs, integrating them for getting a holistic view of the risks and threats looming across the pipeline. The solution can have an intelligent information database, analytics in conjunction with field processes and activities. It shall encompass applications and procedures of pipeline engineering, operations, monitoring, inspection, maintenance and repairs, safety/design data and construction.
With all type risks and threat information available on clicks, it shall not only help operators to take preventive actions, avoiding payouts of hefty compensation from untoward incidents, but also help in plan financial outlay for mitigating threats like asset replacement etc. They can visualize the entire pipeline network, overlaid over multiple layers of GIS maps. Individual section-wise risks like metal loss, subsidence, faults and incidents of external aggression etc shall be displayed in context of the surroundings for assessing the impact of the incident on the environment.
Complexities of O&G Pipeline Integrity Management Programs
A.Multiple and Independent Integrity Techniques
Oil and Gas pipeline companies deploy numerous integrity programs using latest techniques but lack holistic picture. There are complex individualistic engineering procedures which generate stack-hold of images, data, charts and graphs. They need to be interpreted in context of the surrounding environment for determining the threat outcome. Integrity Programs vary over geographies depending upon local regulatory laws.
Integrity programs related to Corrosion
Bulk of the Integrity programs in Oil and Gas pipelines are involved in detecting, monitoring, controlling and mitigating metal loss. Bulk of Pipeline maintenance effort is centered on preventing and repairing corrosion related defects. The programs are focused on condition assessment, mitigation, life assessment, and risk modeling. Broadly the following investigations are analyzed from corrosion point of view.
•External Corrosion Direct Assessment (ECDA), Bell-hole Excavations & Inspections •Internal Corrosion Direct Assessment (ICDA) MFL, UT Hydro-static testing •Stress Corrosion Cracking Direct Assessment (SCCDA)
•Stray Current & Interference Analyses...