Pipeline isolations and interventions using hot taps and in-line isolation tools are used widely across the oil and gas industry for the maintenance of pipelines, platforms and process plants. They may also be used to facilitate tie-ins for the connection of new facilities or the diversion of operating pipelines. They require a clear understanding of risk and the factors that can lead to failure, which can have a safety, environmental or business impact affecting both the operator and supplier.

A fresh look at the risks and how they can be effectively managed was carried out. The reviews showed that whilst there was a strong emphasis on personal safety and technical standards there was a need to maintain an emphasis on overall process safety.

Using a global contract for the provision of services for isolations and interventions BP has worked closely with leading Suppliers (Furmanite, STATS Group, TD Williamson, TEAM Industrial Services) in this area to develop a framework for driving improvement and consistent delivery of these services.

The work builds on some of the best practices developed with improving success rates with In-Line Inspection (ILI) and develops the process from the definition of safe and successful isolations through to the importance of capturing lessons learnt.

The paper develops the processes for the definition of safe and successful isolations and interventions by addressing:

• Definition of success

• The engagement process and requirements for information.

• Development of a common risk model based on failure data across all of the Suppliers

• Use of effective quality management systems and key performance metrics

• Development of an industry competency framework for technicians

• Use of a clear lessons learnt process and the importance of performance reviews.

Safe and successful isolations and interventions require effective management, clear communication and systematic engagement. They are achieved through a relationship between the operator and the supplier that is built on trust, open conversation and a willingness to improve; where both operator and supplier work together with common objectives and a common understanding of risk.

The process outlined in this paper creates an opportunity to raise standards across the industry, building on knowledge, experience and best practices.

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