Topic: Risk Assessment Methodologies

The Essential Elements of Pipeline Risk Assessment

Here’s an update to the original 2012 article introducing the essential elements of pipeline risk assessment. Little has changed–the originally introduced elements seem to be robust and comprehensive, as suggested by having weathered a few years of scrutiny now. PIN_March_2018_Kent_Muhlbauer

Risk Profiling

Pipeline Risk Assessment—Risk Profiling In earlier installments of this column, we introduced the concept of pipeline risk assessment Essential Elements (EE’s).  That guideline is a list of ingredients that must be included in any pipeline risk assessment before that assessment can be considered complete.  Following these guidelines helps to ensure a technically sound risk assessment […]

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. Read more . . . Please click this link to read the pdf file of this article.

Pipeline Risk Assessment

Risk assessment on any facility is most efficiently done by first dividing the facility into components with unchanging risk characteristics. For a cross-country pipeline, this involves collecting data on all portions of the pipeline and its surroundings and then using this data to ‘dynamically segment’ the pipeline into segments of varying length. Risk algorithms are […]

Damage vs failure: a risk assessment needs to know the difference

To measure resistance in a way most useful to a risk assessment, we must estimate the possible presence of weaknesses, the rate of emergence of future weaknesses, and the role of each weakness in strength reduction. By W. Kent Muhlbauer, WKM Consulting, Austin, TX, USA Since several of our recent columns have dealt with management-of-risk […]

Measuring Failure Potential—What is Attacking? 

How Effective are Defenses?  Can it Survive? In several previous columns, we have noted the need for a very specific approach to measuring failure probability (PoF).  Three factors must be independently measured/estimated in order to fully understand PoF.  Let’s explore those factors a bit deeper here. Regardless of the definition of ‘failure’ being used, failure […]

Pipeline Risk Assessment: Threat Interaction—A Case of Confusing Terminology

As we continue this exploration of pipeline risk assessment, let’s tackle some terminology obstacles.  Pipeline risk assessment is a challenging topic on its own, so added confusion from terminology is most unwelcome. Background In some recent regulatory initiatives, a criticism has arisen regarding some pipeline operators’ failure to properly account for ‘threat interaction’ in their […]

The PHMSA has recently criticised how Integrity Management Plan (IMP) risk assessments (RAs) for pipelines are being conducted. Do you also see problems?

There is a wide range of practice among pipeline operators right now. Some RA is admittedly in need of improvement, not yet meeting the intent of the IMP regulation. However, I believe that is not due to lack of good intention, but rather incomplete understanding of risk. Risk is a relatively new concept, and is […]

Intelligent simplifications

The challenge when constructing a risk assessment model is to fully understand the mechanisms at work and then to identify the optimum number of detailed variables for the model’s intended use. This follows the reductionist approach previously discussed—breaking the problem down into pieces for later reassembly into meaningful risk estimates. We must understand and embrace […]