Topic: Risk Assessment

Resources to assist the practicing pipeline risk assessor in obtaining complete and accurate risk estimates.

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 […]

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

Statistical Life Valuation

As monetization of risk becomes more mainstream, values must be assigned to the potential for human injury or fatality.  The risk assessor need not generate values himself since such numbers are published in various sources.  This includes values that have been used in US government decision-making for years. Here is some example guidance:  VSL Guidance 2013 […]

Can you explain more about Geohazards and Weather-Related Outside Forces?

Geohazards and Weather-Related Outside Force The threat category ‘Outside Force’ in a risk assessment typically includes forces such as ground/earth movement, flooding, cold weather, and lightning. When buried pipelines cross sloping terrain, there is a danger that soil movement (down the slope) will impose an excessive load on the pipe that could lead to failure.  […]

Optimizing the use of Inspection Results

A limitation that continues to plague older risk assessment methodologies is the inability to fully include the results of inspections.  None dispute the value of inspection and its critical role in failure avoidance.  Yet, neither the classical statistics-centric QRA nor the common relative risk ranking methodologies, can capture inspection activity in a meaningful way. A […]

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 […]

The Test of Time Estimation of Exposure

In the absence of more compelling evidence, an appropriate starting point for the exposure estimation may be the fact that a component or collection of components has not failed after x years in service. This involves the notion of having ‘withstood the test of time’. A component having survived a threat, especially for many years, […]

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 […]