This study promises a better overview of the status of systems and may help reduce the risk of incidents and provide more predictable operation of the facilities. This project aims to elucidate areas where there is knowledge and information that is not being utilised and incorporated into systems for continuous improvement and risk reduction. There is a further aim of examining how to approach this issue across domains, systems and standards.
Potential for systematising information
Follow-up of the integrity of pipeline systems and subsea installations is key to undertaking the safe and cost-effective operation of systems. Approaches for understanding and reporting on systems involve direct and indirect information derived from inspections, monitoring, measurements, analyses and evaluations. A risk-based approach is typically used to determine what activities to perform to cast light on integrity, and how often to perform them. A lot of information is available from data from normal operations, instrumentation, inspections, modifications, incidents, investigations, etc. There is still potential here for improving the systematisation of this information and using modern tools and technologies to acquire more and better information about the integrity of systems. We believe that the current approach to what needs to be measured/instrumented, how to do this, how to utilise available data and how this contributes to continuous improvement and risk reduction, is too weak and insufficiently systematised.
There is a lot of data and information available for continuous monitoring of pipeline systems and subsea installations, and a range of technologies have been developed that can be implemented in new projects or retrofitted to existing ones and that will aid broader understanding and better management of integrity. Some of the current challenges lie in handling very different types, formats and volumes of data, of varying quality and precision, and then combining them into a coherent whole. Some present-day assessments are ultimately qualitative in nature and based on human involvement. We believe that, with the right competence, systems and tools, these assessments can be made more continuous and quantitative through the use of computer technology and digitalisation.
The Management Regulations, Section 19 on the collection, processing and use of data, the Facilities Regulations, Section 8 on safety functions and Section 17 on instrumentation for monitoring and recording, and the Activities Regulations, Section 31 on monitoring and control and Section 47 on a maintenance programme, among others, require that matters of significance for prudent execution of the activities as regards health and safety, are monitored and kept under control at all times. The companies concerned must be aware of the condition of their equipment, both individually and in combination, and work continuously to reduce risk. They must also work continuously to identify the processes, activities and products that require improvement and implement necessary improvement measures.
The study covered the following topics with reference to the integrity of pipeline systems (including risers) and subsea installations:
- Overview of typical pipeline systems and subsea installations and definition of interfaces
- Identification and overview of information available for better follow-up and integrity management (qualitative assessment of benefit/information)
- Models for integrity development/degradation
- Overview of technologies and solutions that can be used to collect data and provide more reliable information, including qualitative assessment of benefits.
- Initiatives for improvement and experience transfer