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—A Measurement Tool

Last time, we introduced the concept of essential elements for pipeline risk assessment.  These are the “let’s all get on the same page” aspects that every risk assessment should have in common. An important Essential Element calls for the use of measurements instead of any other kind of rating scheme (eg, indexes, points, scores, descriptors, […]

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.

What’s behind the EE guideline document that DNV and you recently released?

We are advocating a degree of standardisation that serves all stakeholders. This list of essential elements sets forth the minimum ingredients for acceptable pipeline risk assessment. Every RA should have these elements. A specific methodology and detailed processes are intentionally not essential elements, so there is room for creativity and customised solutions. DNV’s recognition of […]

So are there are now pipeline RA approaches that are both better and cheaper than past practice?

Yes. RA that follows the Essential Elements* (EE) guidelines avoids the pitfalls that befall many older methods. Yet, we can still apply all of the data that was collected for the previous approaches. Pitfall avoidance, full transparency, and re-use of data makes the approach more efficient than other practices. Plus, the recommended approaches now generate […]

Are you advocating exclusively a quantitative or probabilistic RA?

Terminology has been getting in the way of understanding in the field of RA. Terms like quantitative, semi-quantitative, qualitative, probabilistic, etc. mean different things to different people. I do believe that for a true understanding of risk and for the vast majority of regulatory, legal, and technical uses of pipeline RAs, numerical risk estimates in […]

Why do we need more robust results? Why not just use scores?

Even though they were developed to help simplify an analysis, scoring and indexing systems actually add an unnecessary level of complexity and obscurity to a risk assessment. Statistics-centric QRA’s suffer from lack of specificity to the assets being assessed. Numerical estimates of risk – a measure of some consequence over time and space, like ‘failures […]