Pipeline management software such as leak detection and simulation tools collect pipeline data that can be used to improve the efficiency and safety of pipeline operations, and to add substantial cost savings. Many of these software gather information as diverse as the changes in pipeline roughness, instrument performance, and reliability. They can tell whether a pipeline ever runs slack, is over pressured or drains down when not in use, and much more. In addition, the project engineers implementing these systems collect valuable information on a pipeline’s configuration, equipment hydraulic behaviour and on the products transported in a pipeline. A pipeline owner should consider how he can use this information to improve pipeline operations and maintenance programs.

The information and data LDS and simulation engineers collect and evaluate come from many departments in a pipeline company. This information includes P&ID drawings, operating plans, instrument data sheets, equipment data sheets, product data sheets, communications protocols and design drawings. This data, sometimes not otherwise captured and communicated within the operating company, is required by pipeline operators in their formal MOC process as required in 49 CFR Part 195.446(f).

Once commissioned leak detection systems and simulation systems continue to collect data on the state of a pipeline’s equipment; when components fail and how often they fail. The data collected also indicates how efficiently a pipeline is operated and how well the leak detection systems are working (data critical to meeting the API 1175 recommendations for performance tracking and improvement planning in a company’s leak detection program).

Pipelines companies would benefit from policies to manage the integrity, availability, usability of this data. Who will benefit from it? Where will it be stored? Who should act on it? How long should they keep it? Companies can use this data to meet the PHMSA requirements and to improve the efficiency of their operations.

By: Atmos International
Date: 16 April 2019