A pipeline risk assessment software is becoming an important requirement for oil & gas operators worldwide as they are increasingly adopting a risk-based approach for integrity management to achieve operational excellence without compromising safety and reliability. There are many software options on the market with some promising to perform detailed assessments to quantify risks along the pipeline network. However, the reality is that few software programs have the flexibility to adapt to operator specific requirements. These expensive software options often produce unrealistic outputs that ultimately confuse the operator. In the end, with no other choice available, more often than not they get discarded.
AIE’s Veracity Pipeline is a cloud-based software. The advantages of the Veracity software include:
- User-friendly interface; most users can grasp its functionality easily with minimal training.
- Role based accessibility ensuring data security.
- Threats linked to data i.e. it can additionally act as a data management software and hence, is a solution for fundamental challenge faced by many operators.
- Threat assessment considering experience gained by the operator & industry over the years. No threats are missed, and no threats are exaggerated.
- Generating integrity management plans based on risk and by providing visibility and traceability to integrity activities.
- Multiple reporting options which can be run at different levels of detail according to the intended audience.
AIE recently successfully implemented multiple pipeline risk assessments using its Veracity Pipeline software for another customer in the MENA region, a major operator having a pipeline network of around 1100 km. Previously, the operator was carrying out the risk assessments using a programmed MS Access sheet provided by its stakeholder, an international oil & gas company. These assessments had limitations whereby it overstated some risks as it was unable to consider some existing mitigations in place and it was not efficient due to limited pipeline segmentation.
Our client’s pipeline network is constructed of corrosion resistant alloys (CRA), carbon steel (CS) and internally lined CS pipes. The network consists of:
- Gathering lines and headers (CRA lines) which transport wet gas from well heads to central processing facilities (CPFs);
- CO2 injection (CS) lines;
- Water injection (internally lined CS) lines;
- Dry gas (CS) pipelines connecting the CPFs; and
- An export (CS) pipeline transporting sale gas to national distribution centre.
AIE divided each pipeline in the network into multiple segments based on the parameters which affect failure probability and consequences such as pipeline attributes (wall thickness, diameter, coating, etc.), installation conditions (buried, above ground, field joints, casings, etc.) and location (rural desert, farm land, road crossing, river crossing, hill slope, etc.). Subsequently, each segment was individually reviewed to identify credible threats and evaluate the risk based on their historical data.
A total of 591 segments were created. The risk assessment of these segments established 3046 ‘low’ risks, 2151 ‘medium’ risks, 116 ‘high’ risks and 0 ‘very high’ risks. The major learnings from the risk assessments were:
- Threat awareness: Few additional threats identified from comprehensive data review. For e.g. mechanical overloading threat recognised for few pipelines which were crossing land slide prone areas and dry river beds.
- Risk reduction: Risks of some threats were downgraded with the help of supporting data. For e.g. Risk of chlorides stress corrosion cracking & hydrogen induced stress cracking due to CP overprotection for CRAs were reduced by studying the operator/industry experience, environment and stresses acting at susceptible locations.
- Optimisation: Mitigation activities were focussed and inspections were optimised as improved segmentation enabled us to capture changes in risk along the pipeline network.
Migration to AIE’s Veracity software from the operator’s existing risk management system was very simple given Veracity Pipeline has the capability of accepting bulk data related to pipeline design, segmentation and existing risk mitigation techniques with the help of load sheets. Additionally, availability of relevant data in Veracity for easy review enabled the risk assessment workshop to run successfully and quickly within 3 days even though the network was large and complex. At the end of workshop, our client was very impressed with the features of AIE’s Veracity Software. This case study has established the importance of having a robust and effective software tool that complements sound engineering judgement.