Having a policy on Asset Integrity Management is essential for pipeline operators desiring to manage risks in a safe and cost-efficient manner. Furthermore, it enables operators to face challenges such as responsible extension of the asset lifetime, growing public awareness with need for transparency, pressure from authorities, evaluation of incidents, compliance to regulations, etc. This policy needs execution in practice. The new international standard for Asset Management, ISO 55000, provides an umbrella for doing just this. Taking this approach will ultimately integrate the different roles in the organisation and lead to a common language throughout. It translates policy into strategic asset management plans and furthermore into operational plans for inspection and repair.
First, the organisation is evaluated and an adequate asset register is built. A condition assessment of the assets is carried out (health check) and several threats are identified and evaluated. Inspection priorities are set and the applicability of inspection methods is evaluated. Once appropriate inspections have been performed, the outcomes can be used for further maintenance planning and re-inspection. In order to do so, an assessment of inspection data combined with other available data of the asset and its environment is done. To support this process, Pipeline Integrity Management Software (PIMS) can be a very useful tool. The choice of software system is best made when considering the process it is meant to support. Picking a system independently of this can lead to the inability to fully support the desired PIM process. Suggestions for mitigating measures will complete the Plan/Do/Check/Act cycle. Feedback of information into the system will lead to a new assessment, by which the loop is closed and a continual improvement cycle is started.