A complete Pipeline Integrity Management System is the need of the hour. Apart from keeping in mind the enormous environment concerns in this rapidly dwindling era of hydrocarbons, a successful pipeline owner always strives to profitably operate their precious assets.
To operate a pipeline efficiently, a plan is required to maintain its health and increase the remaining life. Various types of pipelines pose various problems which the owner needs to resolve systematically and with a well-ordered approach.
A similar challenge was faced by a refinery in India. The refinery has a design capacity to process 15 MMTPA of crude per annum. The imports and exports are carried out through the local Port Trust which is one of the deepest inner harbour on the west coast. Multiple pipelines run to and from the refinery and the port trust (approximate distance — 10 km).
The subject pipeline in question currently transports Mixed Xylene (MX) from refinery to port. The pipeline has a diversified operating history with various other products being transferred in the past. However, the pipeline is used very scarcely.
The problem posed by the subject pipeline was similar to what many other cross-country pipelines face — the pipeline was not piggable. Five (5) other parallel pipelines share the same right-of-way, all of which are piggable and have their integrity assessment performed via Intelligent Pigging on a planned basis. There was also a concern about collecting the most accurate data since the pipeline had not undergone an integrity assessment since its commissioning in 2001. However, it was yearly pressure tested to ensure integrity of the pipeline. Parallel pipelines pose a bigger challenge for obtaining accurate data for a particular pipeline amongst them.
Keeping all this in mind, a complete integrity management was planned for the MX pipeline and thus concluded on performing a turnkey Direct Assessment (DA) program. The DA program included Internal Corrosion Direct Assessment (ICDA) to assess and manage the threats of internal corrosion, External Corrosion Direct Assessment (ECDA) for external corrosion threats and Stress Corrosion Cracking Direct Assessment (SCCDA) for determining susceptibility towards the threat of stress corrosion cracking on the pipeline.
Utilization of latest technologies helped in adapting and overcoming the multiple problems faced by legacy technologies especially in difficult ROW conditions and complex pipeline networks, such as the MX pipeline. This paper provides an insight into how an operator can combine latest available technologies and deploy it in unison with the complete integrity management plan.