ABS Consulting

Pipeline integrity rule

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Historically, transportation of oil and gas by pipelines remains the safest and most economical mode compared to other modes. However, pipeline integrity does cause a concern to the public and environment along the pipeline route because of its ever presence at the location for its entire useful life. U.S. pipeline failure incidents in the late ’90s accelerated the process of mandating pipeline integrity rules which, when implemented, will assure safe, reliable and environmentally responsible operation of oil and gas pipelines. The pipeline integrity rule for Hazardous Liquid (CFR 49 § 195.452) and Natural Gas (CFR 49 § 192 Subpart O) became effective May 29, 2001, and Jan. 14, 2004, respectively. These regulations are a result of seven years of technical studies that focused on causes of failure in pipelines and best practices in mitigating these failure causes. These studies identified 21 failure causes that were categorized into the following nine categories — Corrosion External, Corrosion Internal, Stress Corrosion Cracking, Pipe Manufacturing Defects, Pipe Fabrication Defects, Equipment Failure, Third-Party Damage, Incorrect Operation
and Natural Forces. As the U.S. pipeline industry started to implement the new rules, API, ASME and NACE International standard bodies pulled resources and presented a host of standards to help meet compliance to the pipeline integrity rules. These standards are now being adopted by international pipeline operators as a benchmark, especially in countries where no local regulations on pipeline integrity exist. Internationally, some of the major operators have already developed advanced models of pipeline integrity management programs based on the standards.

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