2016 Pipeline Week Conference, Houston

Good turnout for Pennwell/PODS/GITA-backed event. Chevron on compliance-driven maintenance and inspection. Geomorphic on remote control boat inspection. Rosen on geospatial simulation. Summit/BSD on 'mega gas’ rule. Infosys on process maturity. BSD on the ’summer of incidents.'

The upstream may be struggling through the downturn but, judging from the 700 plus attendees and forty or so presentations made at last month’s Pennwell/PODS/GITA* Pipeline Week conference, the midstream segment is keeping busy. What’s hot in Pipeline? Drone-based mapping and surveillance and compliance.

Chevron’s Paul Herrmann presented on ‘compliance-driven pipeline maintenance and inspection data collection.’ Chevron needed an end-to-end field data collection process to meet regulatory and operational requirements.

The solution manages pipeline repair approvals, in-field workflows and data capture to the PODS system of record. This supports ongoing operations, asset integrity and regulatory compliance activities. New Century provided the PODS database and API, and CartoPac the field data workflow management and data validation solution.

Jeff Barry (Geomorphic Solutions) demonstrated the use of unmanned vehicles (both aerial drones and remote control vessels) in pipeline integrity management. Remote control boats equipped with GPS, depth and sonar instrumentation are cheaper and safer than boats and divers.

A typical use case is to evaluate the flood risk at a water crossing before deciding on a costly replacement or potential shut-in. In addition, a buried hydrophone array can be deployed to monitor real-time changes in pipeline acoustics during a flood event. Geomorphic’s technology has been tested at the Idaho Center for EcoHydraulics Research.

Otto Huisman showed how Rosen’s geospatial simulation is used in ‘consequence assessment’ i.e. what happens if a pipeline springs a leak. Rosen’s approach builds on the ISO 3100 standard for risk management.

Model functionality includes high consequence area (HCA) mapping of spills and gas dispersion and explosion risk. The latter should incorporate real time weather information so that potential hazard zones take account of wind speed and direction. Risk is presented in summary ‘linear risk integral’ plots.

Although some speak of ‘burdensome’ regulations, for Matthew Stratmann (Summit Midstream) and Nichole Killingsworth (BSD Consulting), ‘Compliance is king!’ And the key to compliance is streamlining data from multiple sources into PODS Spatial. The US Phmsa regulator is proposing a new ‘mega gas rule’ that will encompass testing, corrosion inspection, HCA and integrity verification in a ‘traceable, verifiable and complete’ process. A similar new rule is proposed for liquid pipelines. Summit is migrating its legacy data into PODS in its safety and compliance push.

Dipayan Mitra (Infosys) observed that Phmsa reporting requirements have rocketed in the last decade, but that this has led to a gradual decrease in serious incidents over the last two decades. Infosys’ analysis of Phmsa orders to operators show that the greatest risk comes from outside the pipe and lies in ‘process maturity’ and records management. Infosys proposes a pipeline integrity business risk metric along with a conceptual architecture for risk management. Infosys has a patent (US 8510147) that describes a ‘method and system for calculating pipeline integrity business risk score for a pipeline network is provided. The method includes a step of first calculating a structural risk score, an operational risk score and a commercial risk score for each pipeline segment in a pipeline network.’

Rene Ramirez (BSD) offered a less sanguine analysis of the current situation, recalling the 2016 ‘summer of incidents’ and an aging pipeline infrastructure that has seen an incident or fine in eight of the last ten weeks. Non-compliance is often evidenced during the construction phase, in part due to poor data acquisition and traceability to source documentation. Audits are now more frequent and they are lasting longer. A major issue is the mismatch between the GIS-focused systems of the operator and the CAD and document systems used in construction. BSD advocates a ‘simple change in delivery specifications’ to make as built data reliable, traceable and complete. More from the GITA/Pipeline Week home page.

* Pipeline open data standards/Geospatial information and technology association.

Click here to comment on this article

Click here to view this article in context on a desktop

© Oil IT Journal - all rights reserved.