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Pipeline Integrity Threat Assessments

Engineering-Based Approach to Pipeline Threat Management

To assist the pipeline industry in its integrity management efforts, we have developed the Engineering-Based Integrity Management Program® (EB-IMP®). While the foundation of this initiative is the API 579/ASME FFS-1 Fitness for Service standard, the EB-IMP goes beyond the traditional API 579/ASME FFS-1 three-level assessment process to incorporate two additional steps that include assessment by experimental methods and development of repair techniques.

The EB-IMP methodology is an extension of Stress Engineering’s work for pipeline companies in evaluating anomalies such as dents and mechanical damage using finite element analysis (FEA) and full-scale testing. Additionally, we have led industry’s efforts to evaluate composite repair technologies for pipelines. These repair technologies serve as the basis for the EB-IMP’s Level 5 repair assessment. Pipeline companies all around the world have used our EB-IMP process, and we believe that it gives operators confidence to safely operate their pipelines based on a thorough understanding of anomalies.

Develop Operating Criteria by Testing Defect or Condition Performance

Stress Engineering Services evaluates pipeline threats and failures to determine the safe limits of prospective operations for our clients. We analyze dents, cracks, and other pipeline threats to ensure the upmost safety. In addition, we identify roadblocks to long-term operation and help ensure that they are accounted for before installation or repair.

We thoroughly assess each situation by defining its parameters and safety factors while incorporating between stress points. We use advanced FEA and computer modeling, materials engineering, burst testing, field instrumentation, and monitoring to help our clients guard against catastrophic failure and to maintain mechanical integrity. Above all, we are an experienced, multi-disciplined, hands-on technological and problem-solving resource for transportation infrastructure operators.

Build Criteria by Comparing Finite Element Results with Lab Tests

The results of the engineering and FEA analyses can be confirmed via a qualified testing program. Testing can involve either pipe material removed from service or newly constructed pipe, depending on the desired outcome of the study. Our testing approach for evaluating mechanical integrity is extremely powerful and provides pipeline operators a means to quantify integrity concerns not possible using only standard assessment methods. As the leader in pipeline testing, we are able to provide important insights to the pipeline’s performance when subjected to actual operating conditions.

Validate Non-excavation and Prioritized Maintenance Activity

The impact of excavation damage on pipeline safety and the environment can far outweigh the potential benefits. A discriminant assessment of pipeline integrity threats allows the operator to reduce risk and develop a comprehensive solution. Stress Engineering Services has developed processes to prioritize pipeline flaws that maximize pipeline integrity and assure appropriate action for each threat.

Assess Composite and Steel Repairs for Use on Nonstandard Defects

Composite materials have primarily been used for repairing corroded pipelines with the goal of restoring strength to damaged sections. However, composite materials have also been used to successfully repair dents, wrinkle bends, induction bends, vintage girth welds, and pipe fittings including elbows and tees. In addition, although the majority of composite materials research has been focused on repairing onshore pipelines, numerous studies have been conducted on assessing the repair and reinforcement of offshore risers and pipelines.

We recognize the role that engineering testing and analyses play in validating the performance of composite repair systems. We have evaluated more composite repair systems than any other organization in the world, and we are committed to continue building this valuable knowledge base. Our primary focus is on applying our vast experience and resources to integrate innovative applications of new materials to repair and reinforce risers and pipelines safely.

Subsea Engineering and Structural Integrity

Subsea pipelines and flowlines are periodically subject to threats that can drastically affect the integrity of the pipeline and possibly cause failure. Knowing how to assess these types of damage is often challenging, especially considering the potential for product release. Also, operators are hesitant to shut down operation or remove lines from service unless deemed absolutely necessary.

Using our technological skills, field expertise, and advanced analytical capabilities, we work with operators to assess the extent of pipeline damage and develop viable solutions. In addition, we assist clients with various repair activities, including the design of subsea pig launchers, diverless ancillary equipment such as pipe lift frames, pipe-indexing bases, and hydraulic clamp installation aids.