Lacking complete and accurate data, many pipeline companies have adopted various forms of relative (index-based) risk assessment models(2) which help define their acceptable risk position based on available pipeline data, limited resources and corporate beliefs. Through this proven risk assessment process, company management establishes their unique risk algorithm by benchmarking variables which contribute to the likelihood of failure, and the associated consequences of failure, for all pipeline systems. This algorithm then acts as a pipeline data filter to identify pipeline areas at greater risk relative to others.

A progressive relative risk assessment process can change an operator’s safety and resource allocation culture, resulting in reduced pipeline failure rates, increased operating flexibility and improved financial performance.

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