The responsibility for managing an asset safely, efficiently and to optimize productivity lies solely with the pipeline operators. To achieve these objectives, operators are implementing comprehensive pipeline integrity management programs. These programs may be driven by a country’s pipeline regulator or in many cases may be “self-directed” by the pipeline operator especially in countries where pipeline regulators do not exist.
A critical aspect of an operator’s Integrity Management Plan (IMP) is to evaluate the history, limitations and the key threats for each pipeline and accordingly select the most appropriate integrity tool. The guidelines for assessing piggable lines has been well documented but until recently there was not much awareness for assessment of non-piggable pipelines. A lot of these non-piggable pipelines transverse through high consequence areas and usually minimal historic records are available for these lines. To add to the risk factor, usually these lines also lack any baseline assessment.
The US regulators, that is Office of Pipeline Safety had recognized the need for establishment of codes and standards for integrity assessment of all pipelines more than a decade ago. This led to comprehensive mandatory rules, standards and codes for the US pipeline operators to follow regardless of the line being piggable or non-piggable. In India the story has been a bit different. In the past few years, our governing body for development of self-regulatory standards for the Indian oil and gas industry that is Oil Industry Safety Directorate (OISD) recognized a need for development of a standard specifically for integrity assessment of non-piggable pipelines. The standard was formalized and accepted by the Indian Ministry of Petroleum in September 2013 as OISD 233.
OISD 233 standard is based on assessing the time dependent threats of External Corrosion (EC) and Internal Corrosion (IC) through applying the non-intrusive techniques of “Direct Assessment”. The four-step, iterative DA (ECDA, ICDA and SCCDA) process requires the integration of data from available line histories, multiple indirect field surveys, direct examination and the subsequent post assessment of the documented results.
This paper presents the case study where the Indian pipeline operators took a self-initiative and implemented DA programs for prioritizing the integrity assessment of their most critical non-piggable pipelines even before the OISD 233 standard was established. The paper also looks into the relevance of the standard to the events and other case studies following the release of OISD 233.