Best Practices for Preventing Pipeline Leaks

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Pipeline integrity” refers to a comprehensive program that ensures hazardous commodities are not inadvertently released from a pipeline and minimizes the impact if a release does occur. There are three phases to “pipeline integrity:” prevention, detection, and mitigation. Prevention, the first line of defense against the release of hazardous commodities, encompasses activities and solutions that seek to avoid commodity release from occurring in the first place. Prevention is obviously of paramount importance and its process can be split into three categories, which include design and construction, operation and maintenance, and training and education.

Pipeline Integrity

The first phase involves properly siting the route and specifying the technical requirements, like hydraulic calculations and physical properties of piping. There are a few important considerations for process simulation, design and construction, which include how best to:

  • Avoid geo-hazards along pipeline route
  • Ensure that the pump or compressor is sized correctly
  • Ensure that surge suppression equipment is sized correctly
  • Protect the pipeline against corrosion

Pipeline simulation tools and technologies make it easier than ever for pipeline operators to address these design and construction factors.

Once a pipeline is in service, continuously monitoring the operational and structural conditions within the pipeline is critical to warn of circumstances that, if not mitigated, could lead to a release. Inspection and monitoring technologies provide pipeline operators with the information they need to accurately assess the health of their pipelines and perform proactive maintenance on “at risk” areas. Some of the most important aspects to monitor and inspect include:

  • Operating pressure
  • Internal and external integrity of the pipeline
  • Depth of cover
  • Ground temperature and excavation activity

Educating and training pipeline operators is the final stage of prevention once the pipeline is designed, constructed, and brought into service. In charge of operating expensive pipeline assets, operators should be required to go through training, or at least have certification, to meet the best practices for prevention. This will ensure that they are exposed to situations or conditions that could potentially lead to a commodity release. Taking precautions to educate residents and third parties have sufficient information can also help avoid problems.

Interested to learn more about the 3 phases of pipeline integrity – download the whitepaper.

The saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” holds true for pipeline integrity. The costs associated with avoiding a release are much less than the cost of cleanup, fines, and other civil liabilities – not to mention the damage to a company’s reputation. The best defense against a release is to proactively minimize the chances of its occurrence in the first place. With technology and tools existing today that help anticipate potential threats to the pipeline and identify warning signs, pipeline operators can work to prevent pipeline leaks before detection and mitigation practices are needed.

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  • Deb Pearl

    7 years ago

    When walking around during different warehouses tours, I noticed that there were a lot of pipes and it got me curious about what they do to make sure the pipes are in good condition. That is great to know that there is “pipeline integrity,” and it is used to make sure all the pipes are ok! I’m glad that they have something to make sure everything is running smoothly. Thanks for the information!

  • Prevention and detection are critical components of pipeline safety. We should focus on preventio such as with vigorous monitoring, maintenance and using of inspection programs to keep our pipelines healthy and fit. Also, building a team to check leak detection division researches and assesses commercially available technologies to improve safety.

  • I like that you mentioned how geo-hazards, corrosions, and compressors can be prevented with proper inspection and the likes. That’s pretty nice to learn since being able to keep the pipelines running properly would be beneficial not only for the business but also for the safety of the employees’ safety. I see why pipeline services would be quite important for them since it might mean life or death. Thanks for the informative read about the best practices to prevent pipeline leaks!

  • Woah! I never knew that one should inspect an oil pipe system first for operating pressure, internal and external integrity, depth of cover, ground temperature, and excavation activity. If I were to maintain an oil pipe, I would make sure that getting an oil pipe replacement would be from trusted suppliers. Not only will this help speed up the repair but also be able to maintain the oil system based on the data that one has used before including the factors you mentioned.

  • Pipeline leaks are not only headache for everyone but it is also wastage of water. So, it is quite necessary that people take care of prevention regarding pipeline leaks. It should be done properly. Thank you very much for sharing this information here! It would be nice if you share some more!

  • Thanks for helping me understand that being educated about the pipeline will ensure that the operation will be up to par. As you said, we must look at their certifications to ensure that they know what to do to ensure the integrity of the pipes. With that in mind, my uncle should hire a professional to get the pipes checked in the property they bought before they actually use it.

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