Topic: Myths and Misconceptions

Interview

The Outlook for Pipeline Risk Assessment A 2014* Interview with W. Kent Muhlbauer *but still relevant! PHMSA has recently expressed criticism regarding how Integrity Management Plan (IMP) risk assessment (RA) for pipelines is being conducted.  Do you also see problems? There is a wide range of practice among pipeline operators right now.  Some RA is […]

Updating guidance documents for pipeline threat identification and risk assessment

Unfortunately, the US guidance documents for pipeline risk assessment are still not up to date.  This continues to be a source of confusion for some and frustration for others. Please click this link to read the pdf file of this article.

Troubles with Weightings

There is currently great disparity in approaches and level of rigor applied to risk assessment by pipeline operators.  This is largely due to the absence of complete standards or guidelines covering this complex topic.  The disparity leads to inconsistent and problematic risk management, as was discussed in a previous column. Most operators desire sound and […]

Pipeline Risk Assessment–The Trouble with Weightings

Tackling specifics of pipeline risk in bite-sized portions to make this challenging subject more approachable. Troubles with Weightings There is currently great disparity in approaches and level of rigor applied to risk assessment by pipeline operators.  This is largely due to the absence of complete standards or guidelines covering this complex topic.  The disparity leads […]

Formal Risk Assessment—Is it helping me?

Ever consider that true risk management sometimes occurs only at the lower levels of some pipeline organizations?  That is, personnel performing field activities are in effect setting risk levels for the company.  Their choices of day-to-day activities are essentially driving risk management and thereby establishing corporate risk levels.  This is not just theoretical—real choices are […]

Myth Busting—I don’t have enough data (Part 2)

In the first part of this discussion, we hopefully dispelled some myths about low data availability.  We discussed how reasoning is used to generate data and how many useful pieces of risk insight emerge from even simple pieces of knowledge. We also contrasted a statistical approach to risk assessment with a physics based approach.  The […]

Pipeline Risk Assessment—Myth Busting Part 1

In the first installment of this column, we introduced the concept of pipeline risk assessment Essential Elements.  This is a list of ingredients that arguably must be included in any pipeline risk assessment.  In this installment, let’s examine “I can’t do good RA because I don’t have enough data.” There are at least two aspects […]

I want to keep using our relative points scoring system. I don’t see why we should change.

Perhaps first question is this: ‘is your scoring system really giving you new knowledge and useful insights into actual risks?’ If not, then that alone should be a compelling reason to change—especially when modern risk assessment is both more efficient and less expensive. See more extensive discussion here.

It sounds like you have methods that very accurately predict failure potential. Is this true?

Unfortunately, no. While the new modelling approaches are powerful and the best we’ve ever had, there is still huge uncertainty. We are unable to accurately predict failures on specific pipe segments except in extreme cases. With good underlying data, we can do a decent job of predicting the behaviour of numerous pipe segments over longer […]