Risk management of pipelines is a complex challenge due to the dynamic environment of the real world coupled with a wide range of system types installed over many decades. Various methods of risk assessment are currently being used in industry, many of which utilize relative scoring. These assessments are often not designed for the new integrity management program (IMP) requirements and are under direct challenge by regulators.
SemGroup had historically used relative risk assessment methodologies to help support risk management decision-making. While the formality offered by these early methods provided benefits, it was recognized that, in order to more effectively manage risk and better meet the United States IMP objectives, a more effective risk assessment would be needed.
A rapid and inexpensive migration into a better risk assessment platform was sought. The platform needed to be applicable not only to pipeline miles, but also to station facilities and all related components. The risk results had to be readily understandable and scalable, capturing risks from ‘trap to trap’ in addition to risks accompanying each segment.
The solution appeared in the form a quantitative risk assessment that was ‘physics based’ rather than the classical statistics based QRA. This paper will outline the steps involved in this transition process and show how quantitative risk assessment may be efficiently implemented to better guide integrity decision-making, illustrated with a case study from SemGroup.