Assessing Pipeline Reliability


Preventing pipeline failures is a key goal of all pipeline operators and pipeline integrity organizations. Safety and cost optimization are often used to calculate an appropriate reliability target. Failure to effectively optimize the pipeline reliability cost-benefit analysis increases operational costs either through increased inspection and repair costs or through increased costs associated with pipeline failures.

Current reliability models are largely based on a simple defect model (e.g. ASME B31G). Research has shown that burst pressure and remaining strength calculations are more accurate when using a more complex approach to defect models. The Effective Area, or RSTRENG, method is the standard for determining the remaining strength of damaged pipelines. Incorporating this approach into reliability models should improve the calculations of the probability of failure. This will provide operators with the ability to more accurately model cost-benefit curves and, consequently, reduce operating costs.

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