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Q&A - Pipeline Integrity & Corrosion Control with David Wint

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How important is corrosion control for today's transmission pipelines? What pipeline integrity measures should be considered when constructing a new pipeline? How have federal regulations and industry guidelines affected pipeline operations? How responsive is the industry with developing pipeline integrity regulations? What are some challenges in maintaining healthy, efficient pipelines? What common theme have you witnessed with pipeline failure cases? How difficult is it balancing project management with integrity management? Overall, how can the industry improve upon current pipeline safety/integrity practices? Pipeline integrity practices differ from country to country, but I know that a number of nationalized companies want to self-regulate their pipelines to emulate and adopt many of the U.S. pipeline integrity regulations. Very critical, considering corrosion is the second highest risk threat to transmission pipelines. Many pipeline systems are getting older and have inferior pipeline coating systems. These pipelines require greater corrosion mitigation measures. Over the past few years, the industry has placed more emphasis on internal corrosion, and stricter guidelines have been developed because of an incident that occurred in New Mexico where there were 12 fatalities. Many operators may not be aware of risk threat associated with their pipeline systems until aer a failure has occurred. In some instances, the proper integrity assessment methods are not applicable to the risk threats that exist on specific pipelines. Very difficult. Predicting the number of pipeline repairs or replacements that are necessary for remediation is nearly impossible. This can greatly affect the project cost and schedule. The desire for the latest and greatest technology, which may not be applicable to a pipeline system. Another concern is non-regulated natural gas pipelines transporting large volumes of NGL's, especially in the unconventional shale play markets. As an industry, we fail to recognize what risk is posed to the public and environment if these pipelines were to fail and the liquids are released. Operators have the option to re-route pipelines to avoid high-consequence areas (HCAs) and waterways to minimize damage in the event of an unintentional pipeline failure. Another precaution involves the use of high yield strength line pipe. Today's industry uses line pipe with higher yield strength steel and thinner pipe wall thicknesses where in many cases there are no corrosion tolerances applied. The economic impact has been significant. However, the requirements have been equally beneficial for ensuring operations and maintenance (O&M) procedures are effective. During federal audits, regulators require companies to have performance matrices to measure the effectiveness of their pipeline integrity efforts. Federal and State Regulatory agencies are very reactive to establishing and implementing new regulations whenever an incident occurs. The Exxon Valdez Alaska, Olympic Pipeline Bellingham, WA, and El Paso Pipeline Carlsbad, NM incidents have all resulted in additional regulations, and it is anticipated that additional pipeline regulations will be adopted as a result of the PG&E San Bruno, CA incident. One major challenge is establishing the baseline integrity assessment as early as possible in the pipeline's lifecycle. The biggest problem with aging pipelines and in-line inspections is that you do not know when onset corrosion or time-dependent anomalous conditions began. If you have a 40-year-old pipeline and discover corrosion metal loss, determining when it occurred can be difficult if the integrity assessment method is limited to pressure testing. Does every country follow the same regulations for pipeline integrity? Pipeline Integrity & Corrosion Control An Interview with David Wint: Director of Pipeline Integrity Audubon Field Solutions What does an effective integrity management program (IMP) entail? An effective integrity management program (IMP) means having a written, "living" plan that's updated annually. The IMP should include an HCA analysis, risk analysis and gas or liquid dispersion modeling, a baseline assessment plan, repair and remediation program, and a performance matrix. auduboncompanies.com

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