We are living in a time where it is essential to have immediate access to correct and up-to-date information. The same applies for pipeline owners. However, it can be quite challenging to easily access all pipeline data and present it in a clear way to enable decision making.
How do you centralize all your pipeline data coming from different sources and field surveys? What is the best way to represent this data in an effective way so you can make important decisions about maintenance activities, risk mitigation, and investments?
In this article, our pipeline integrity experts give you 4 reasons why a Pipeline Information Management System might be the solution you are looking for.
Reason 1 – Get access to one cloud-based repository with high quality validated data
Over the years, there have been different approaches to manage pipeline information. Which one do you currently use?
A first approach is the handover of as-built documentation on paper to the new pipeline owner at the end of every construction project. When a modification is made to a pipeline, this eventually results in incorrect and scattered information. Another – even more common – scenario is that original files get lost and the pipeline owner must rely on outdated low-quality copies. In a nutshell: working with outdated and unclear information.
When CAD systems reached the market, this was a major step forward with regards to managing and sharing data. However, geographical, and descriptive information, is still spread over different tools, and GEO positions are not possible.
What about GIS systems? They improve maintenance activity and limit the loss of pipeline information to a minimum. GIS systems also allow pipeline information to be documented effectively. Even though descriptive data can be linked to graphical objects, this is only the case when the correlations between the different data types are correct. And the sheer volume of data leads to high labor costs. The solution: only using GIS systems for the most important data, which results in long multi-year efforts and still no solution to manage all pipeline data in one system in a structured way.
Pipeline Information Management Systems (PIMS) are based on a combination of previously mentioned tools such as GIS systems. PIMS software differentiates itself from others in the capability to map pipeline data in a geographical context with an enriched database behind it. A PIMS tool brings information together in one platform. Information layers can come from inline inspections, CIP / DCVG surveys, cathodic protection measurements, leak detection, thickness measurements and visual surveys to monitor third party activities.
When you operate a PIMS software tool in a high-security cloud-based environment, it becomes even more user-friendly. Information can then be synchronized on mobile devices for continuous representation of the most current situation. Field data can be translated into relevant information for different stakeholders (contractors, authorities, and partners) instead of looking at ´just more numbers´.
With this high-quality data, pipeline owners can then start performing different analyses. How can PIMS help asset owners with analyzing the pipeline´s condition?
Reason 2 – Perform condition analyses in an agile way
Pipelines are protected against deterioration in a variety of ways. But the effectiveness of these protective systems can diminish over time, and defects can develop in structures. How do you perform a ‘health check’ on your assets? Some pipeline owners perform analyses based on data from DCVG surveys. But this approach can be challenging without a geographical representation of the data. Others use multiple tools, but they lack one complete integrated overview.
A Pipeline Information Management System (PIMS) allows pipeline owners to analyze the pipeline´s condition in an agile and integrated way. Why? Because they can perform their own analyses or easily generate independent reports themselves in one system. The pipeline´s internal and external features are visualized geographically. When a PIMS includes multiple standards, such as ASME B31G, ASME B31G Modified and DNV for Metal Loss Corrosion Analyses, it gives pipeline owners the flexibility to perform condition assessments in different ways and compare scenarios.
Apart from Fitness-For-Purpose assessments and Corrosion Growth Analyses, a software tool can also help with Remaining Life Assessments, and Pipeline Lifecycle Assessments, to project the pipeline´s condition over time. The projection of corrosion growth, Estimated Repair Factors (ERF) and PSafe values give you a credible baseline to make substantiated decisions about the service life and financial benefit of pipelines, the expected level of repair, repair costs and replacement costs.
Reason 3 – Make risk assessments less complicated
Besides condition analyses, risk assessments are another essential component of pipeline integrity management. It is often very complex to assess risks and get insight in where to invest first. Let´s see how a Pipeline Information Management System can help with understanding the probabilities and risks, and the reasons why they might vary along the pipeline.
Every risk assessment begins with the selection of segmentation and method. With a PIMS tool, you can define the risk models such as the W. Kent Muhlbauer method or even custom variants if required. When no programing is required to build these custom risk models, but the user can configure the structure and weights of the components of the risk model himself, it become very convenient to create the adequate risk model for the proper situation. Data from previous assessments can be re-evaluated based on new information or using alternate assumptions. This means that there is no need to re-enter large quantities of data. One can enrich its risk knowledge with a push on a button.
Reason 4 – Developed with the pipeline owner in mind
A highly performant user-friendly Pipeline Information Management System is developed with a clear focus on the pipeline market and with the pipeline owner in mind.
When you decide to invest in a PIMS system, the software needs to be developed to help you with your daily challenges, such as for example managing third party interferences, which is sometimes overlooked. A secure cloud-based platform with automatic exchange of third-party activity data, with one call systems or a mobile app, delivers maximum efficiency to protect pipelines from damage. Other daily components of pipeline integrity management include cathodic protection, leak detection, and Depth Of Cover Surveys.
Pipeline owners want to be able to work on improving their network´s integrity instead of learning how to use a complex software tool or losing valuable time with implementation. They look for a standard software solution that does not require custom programming. Is there such a tool on the market today?
The answer is yes. The Sniffers recently launched its Pipeline Risk & Integrity Management Solution called PRIMS® that has been developed by pipeline engineers for pipeline owners with a focus on the pipeline industry. It is a cloud-based software platform that supports the risk- and integrity needs of pipeline owners.
According to our clients, it is the flexibility and structured representation of data coming from different information layers in a geographical context that makes investing in a Pipeline Information Management System such as PRIMS worthwhile. The convenience to manage pipeline integrity in one software platform really adds value. Get in touch with our experts to discuss the possibilities for your assets.
Did you know we also help our clients with field surveys from pipeline localization, to inspections and third-party interferences? By combining our knowledge and experience from the field, with analysis capabilities with software, we help pipeline owners realize their integrity objectives with a complete range of services and tools.