Expansion of existing residential and commercial areas, or the construction of new developments in the vicinity of high pressure gas transmission pipelines can change a Location Class 1 into a Class 2 or Class 3 location. Operators are left with a pipeline that no longer meets the requirements of its design code.
Reducing the maximum allowable operating pressure of a pipeline, or re-routing it away from the population, can meet the requirements of a design code, such as CSA Z662 or ASME B31.8, but such options have both high costs and significant operational difficulties.
Quantitative risk assessment has been employed successfully for many years, by pipeline operators, to determine risk based land use planning zones, or to justify code infringements caused by new developments. By calculating the risk to a specific population from a pipeline, and comparing it with suitable acceptability criteria, a pipeline may be shown to contribute no more risk to a population than other pipelines operating entirely in accordance with the design codes.
Risks may be demonstrated to be ‘as low as reasonably practicable’, through the use of cost benefit analysis, without additional mitigation, allowing precious pipeline maintenance funds to be spent most effectively in areas where they will have the highest impact on risk.
This paper shows how quantitative risk assessment may be used to justify continued safe operation of a pipeline at its original operating stress following a change of class designation, illustrated with a case study from Western Europe.