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Pipeline Geohazard Assessment: Bridging the Gap Between Integrity Management and Construction Safety Contexts

[+] Author Affiliations
Rodney S. Read

RSRead Consulting, Inc., Okotoks, AB, Canada

Paper No. IPC2018-78225, pp. V003T04A033; 11 pages
  • 2018 12th International Pipeline Conference
  • Volume 3: Operations, Monitoring, and Maintenance; Materials and Joining
  • Calgary, Alberta, Canada, September 24–28, 2018
  • Conference Sponsors: Pipeline Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5188-3
  • Copyright © 2018 by ASME


Geohazards are threats of a geological, geotechnical, hydrological, or seismic/tectonic nature that may negatively affect people, infrastructure and/or the environment. In a pipeline integrity management context, geohazards are considered under the time-independent threat category of Weather-related and Outside Force in the American standard ASME B31.8S. Geotechnical failure of pipelines due to ground movement is addressed in Annex H and elsewhere in the Canadian standard CSA-Z662. Both of these standards allow flexibility in terms of geohazard assessment as part of pipeline integrity management. As a result of this flexibility, many systems for identifying, characterizing, analyzing and managing geohazards have been developed by operators and geotechnical engineering practitioners. The evolution of these systems, and general expectations regarding geohazard assessment, toward quantitative geohazard frequency assessment is a trend in recent pipeline hearings and regulatory filings in Canada. While this trend is intended to frame geohazard assessment in an objective and repeatable manner, partitioning the assessment into a series of conditional probability estimates, the reality is that there is always an element of subjectivity in assigning these conditional probabilities, requiring subject matter expertise and expert judgment to make informed and defensible decisions. Defining a specific risk context (typically loss of containment from a pipeline) and communicating uncertainty are important aspects of applying these types of systems. Adoption of these approaches for alternate risk contexts, such as worker safety during pipeline construction, is challenging in that the specific geohazards and threat scenarios considered for long-term pipeline integrity may or may not adequately represent all credible threats during pipeline construction. This paper explores the commonalities and differences in short- and long-term framing of geohazard assessment, and offers guidance for extending geohazard assessment for long-term pipeline integrity to other contexts such as construction safety.

Copyright © 2018 by ASME



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