The application of reliability-based structural integrity enables the process of quantitative risk assessment as part of pipelines’ integrity management program (IMP). This paper explores two topics that present challenges in terms of the practical adoption of a reliability-based IMP. The first challenge is the balance between perceived and true risk when implementing a quantitative reliability-based integrity model. This is a cornerstone for building stakeholder confidence in the calculated probability of failure (PoF) which is applied to safety and economically driven integrity decisions. The second challenge is the assurance that all relevant sources of uncertainty have been incorporated, which is essential for ensuring an accurate representation of the risk of failure of the pipeline. The level of conservatism (i.e. sufficient margin of error to maintain safety) incorporated when addressing these challenges may create a situation where calculated PoFs become inflated; becoming disproportionate to the failure history and contradictory to the current safe operation of pipelines being modeled. Two different PoF calibration approaches are proposed as practical options to address these challenges. The first method calibrates model error using an operator’s in-service failure history (i.e. failures that occurred under normal operation). The second method uses a set of failure data (including hydrostatic test failures and in-service failures) as selected by the operator considering key factors to ensure adequate representation of their specific pipeline system. These options will be demonstrated by assessing the integrity reliability of a hypothetical pipeline system. This work is expected to help evaluate the feasibility of challenging current practices regarding practical inclusion of epistemic uncertainty in integrity reliability analysis of pipelines.

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