GITA—GIS for oil and gas pipelines conference

ESC Engineering, EQT Corp., Blue Marble, Eagle Information Mapping, PHSMA presentations

Speaking at the recent GITA-backed GIS for oil and gas pipelines conference in Houston, David Rogers reported on a GIS/GPS combo that his company, ESC Engineering developed for BP’s San Juan operations. The system uses a GIS/GPS combo to mitigate rising road vehicle accident rates amongst employees and contractors. ESC brokered a licensing agreement with Garmin for a custom version of MapSource and converted BP’s detailed roads and facilities data for use with the dashboard navigation units. The system provides operators with turn-by-turn driving instructions resulting in a decrease in incidents and improved operator productivity.

David Supp described EQT Corp.’s GIS-coupled enterprise asset management system to manage its 11,670 mile pipeline network. EQT’s system combines an ESRI APDM-based GIS with IBM/Maximo EAM. Global Information Systems’ ‘GForms’ were used as a general purpose data entry and reporting interface (including GIS) to the EAM. Using ESRI as a central repository for Maximo required a major data cleansing effort. But this has paid off in a wider audience for a single source of live spatial data shared by all stakeholders via the pipeline operations dashboard.

Blue Marble Geographics’ president Pat Cunningham provided a refresher course on geopsatial data management with a twist. Along with the niceties of geoid, projection systems and so forth, there is the issue of when GIS data was recorded. US intra-plate movement of several centimeters per century mean that, since WGS 84 was established, ‘your coordinates aren’t where you left them!’

Tracy Thorleifson (Eagle Information Mapping) reflected on pipeline data governance observing that ‘your pipeline database is not the real pipeline.’ The database may not represent individual pipe joints, older systems may not have information that is mandatory for modern reporting and information may not be current. Thorleifson advocates using manufacturing processes like six sigma and ‘lean’ to minimize data defects in the pipeline database. Data edits need tracking at the attribute level—not just on a per record basis as supported by current models like PODS and APDM.

John Jacobi of the pipeline and hazardous materials safety administration (PHSMA) tempered an earlier message observing that ‘the sky is not falling in!’ The long term trend in pipeline incidents with death or major injury shows a steady, 3% per year decline since 1986. Spills with environmental consequences are also on the decline. Notwithstanding the good news, the world is changing as a recent rash of incidents has sparked media interest, fear and ‘elephants’ wading into the debate. These are influencing the congressional reauthorization of the pipeline safety program which will set the regulatory agenda for the next four years. The industry has its work cut out in the face of the multiple commissions and enquiries underway. Presentations on 1103.

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