Pipeline life-cycle extension strategies - Decades of failure-free and economic pipeline operation in Germany
Proceedings Publication Date
Safe and secure energy transport is paramount for all economies in the world. Safety, reliability, integrity and economics of oil & gas transported via pipelines are key parameters for the acceptance of all stakeholders involved. Still oil & gas is the fossil backbone of today’s energy systems but natural gas will also support renewable energies in the future. Thus according to BP´s Energy Outlook 2035 gas demand will strongly increase (+160%) in all regions. For diversification of gas resources the transport of LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) will also increase compared to import by pipeline gas. When talking about pipeline safety a strong decrease of environmental impact or safety risks for employees or the population over the past 40 years has to be mentioned. Worldwide statistics prove these trends and Germanys low figures belong to the leading quartile. For competent operators, strict national codes and standards have to be applied or even overachieved dependent on the routing. By applying the DVGW (German Technical and Scientific Association for Gas and Water) standards in Germany even aging infrastructure (100 years+) may be operated in the most safe and secure manner. Properly established and audited company management systems grant minimum costs and effective long term budget forecasts. A major part is the PIMS (Pipeline Integrity Management System) where all relevant information, integrity evaluation methods, repair tools and standards for the pipeline are laid down in the most transparent way. PIMS is supported by smart pigging tools, geographic information systems (GIS) and proper data storage. Together with other management tools for compressors, pressure and regulating facilities etc. and innovative maintenance methods a long and economical reasonable pipeline life-cycle is granted. The presentation is based on the authors experience with oil & gas pipeline operating companies working under most stringent German laws and standards.