Direct Assessment

A Client owns and operates a 12km long 36 diameter natural gas pipeline. The pipeline has a nominal wall thickness of 15.7mm, is constructed from API 5l X65 grade steel and has a maximum operating pressure of 70barg. The pipeline was commissioned in 1999 and has been operating safely since that time.

The pipeline was designed in accordance with BS 8010 Parts 1 and 2, with consideration given to the Institute of Gas Engineers Recommendations, IGE/TD/1, IGE/TD/9 and IGE/TD/12. One of the requirements of IGE/TD/1 is that the time interval between in-line inspections should not normally exceed 10 years. However, IGE/TD/1 Edition 4 allows the time interval to be exceeded if justification can be demonstrated using risk based techniques.

For older pipelines it is often possible to determine the required time dependent failure probability based on the results of previous ILIs. This allows the time to the next ILI to be determined. This time will depend on what has been found previously and values of other pipeline parameters. However, in the case of this pipeline there were no previous ILI data.

In view of the above, a probabilistic approach to External Corrosion Direct Assessment (ECDA) was adopted. The method makes use of above ground survey results rather than ILI data. However in this instance, rather than being used to determine the time interval to the next above ground survey, the method was used to determine the time interval to the next (first) ILI.

The method is based on structural reliability analysis (SRA), which is used to determine the time dependent probability of failure based on available data.

In view of the quantity and quality of the available above ground survey data, it was possible to use the method to extend the time to the next ILL by several years.