The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has drafted a direct assessment (DA) white paper to summarize the current state of direct assessment activities and practice. Several industry organizations, associations and operating companies have subsequently added content to this white paper improving the accuracy and updating the current state of direct assessment in the pipeline industry. This white paper includes information on DA standards development, drivers, current efforts to further develop DA and an overview of the path forward. Several recent high profile pipeline failures drove the public expectation that pipeline operators understand and improve the integrity of their pipelines. PHMSA has promulgated regulations to require this improved understanding and management of pipeline integrity. During the preparation of the new integrity management requirements, it was recognized that some gas transmission pipelines could not be inspected using then-available assessment techniques, pressure testing and in-line inspection. As a result, PHMSA along with the industry developed and codified several processes for assessing these lines. These processes, which utilized proven tools as part of assessment processes, are collectively called DA.

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