The Pipeline integrity protection is a complex topic important not just to the pipeline operators. The topic comprises growing safety and environmental concerns, stricter regulatory requirements for pipeline operators to demonstrate and document their facility’s safe operations. The pipeline operators need at the same time maintain productivity and life and safe operation of their vital pipeline asset.
Process industry is following EIC611508/61511 standards for functional safety implementation. These standards provided bases for the processes evaluation. The likelihood and the consequence of critical events are investigated with aim to mitigate the risk to acceptable level. This includes (not limited to) loss of production, technology losses, environmental damage, personnel injuries/fatalities and nowadays very important the loss of company goodwill (reputation).
There is no question about necessity to operate a pipeline, far the cheapest mean of product transportation, in safe manner. This inevitably needs to include the protection of pipeline integrity, associated tank farms and pump/compressor stations. These expectations are asking for complex solution addressing more safety aspects like Leak detection, Tank overfilling, Pipeline over pressurizing, safe compressor/pump shutdown etc. in one solution. Do doubt that this is the trend for the pipeline integrity protection and operation in the short future. Transportation must be seen as a process where modified functional safety approach should be applied; enhancing the best current business practice applied to pipeline design and operation. In addition, regular operator/maintenance personnel training and outsourcing of on-line consultancy of “suspicions” events in the pipeline network can bring substantial benefit to the operator.