This paper provides guidelines to identify all threats and assess a pipeline’s susceptibility to those threats in order to select appropriate and effective mitigation, monitoring, and prevention measures prior to being reactivated. The intent of this paper is to provide pipeline operators, consultants, and regulatory agencies with a generic threat-assessment approach that has to be customized to the pipeline-specific characteristics and conditions, and the regulatory requirements of its own jurisdiction.
A literature review and authors’ experiences across the pipeline industry have identified the need for a generic, yet complete, approach that guides pipeline integrity engineers in the methodologies that adequately and effectively assess threats prior to reactivation, and that can be validated in a timely manner during the operations.
Pipeline operators may be called on to reactivate pipelines that are facing challenges such as ageing, changes in operational conditions, lack of maintenance, and inconsistent integrity practices, while facing constraints from increasing population density, higher pressure and flow throughput requirements of a competitive marketplace, and regulatory requirements insisting on higher levels of safety and protection of the environment.
This paper is structured with the following components to assist the reader in conducting threat assessments:
- current regulations and recognized industry standards with respect to reactivating pipelines;
- definition of and differentiation between hazard and threat;
- hazard identification analysis for the known and potential situations, events and conditions; and
- threat susceptibility and identification analysis process for the known categories derived from the hazard identification process.
A case study is described as an example of applying the guidelines to conduct threat susceptibility and identification assessments of a pipeline prior to its reactivation. The results from the threat susceptibility and identification assessment process can help operators, consultants, and regulators in determining effective inspection, mitigation, prevention and monitoring measures.