Pipeline river crossings are typically managed by using a combination of flood monitoring, ground inspections, integrity assessments, and remediations. Using a probabilistic model to assess the likelihood of failure at river crossings would enable combined consideration of all factors that contribute to the failure threat, provide site rankings to support discrete mitigation prioritizations, allow for evaluation of whether a crossing is acceptable in regard to a risk target, and provide a “check” to the deterministic integrity management methods. This paper describes two models for estimating the pipeline probability of failure at river crossings.

The first model is a qualitative scoring model that can be easily implemented by operators and consultants. This model employs a weighting-factors approach to consider the multiple variables that contribute to pipeline exposures and overstress given exposure. The results may be applied to threat rank diverse crossings, as well estimate the probability of failure at a crossing relative to that at historical failure sites.

The second model is a semi-quantitative model that 1) estimates the likelihood of a crossing exposure occurring, 2) estimates the associated scour length, 3) assesses the pipelines critical span length, and 4) quantifies the probability that a span length longer than the critical span length could form. This model may be applied to achieve the same goals as the qualitative model, and also compare the probability of failure at a river crossing to a reliability target. Due to the complexity of this model and the paper length limits, it is conceptually described within this paper.

The results demonstrated that the model output site rankings correlated reasonably with those estimated by pipeline integrity program managers, the scour depth and length prediction results were consistent with measured historical scours, and the pipeline probability of failure at the assessed river crossings were within expected ranges.

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