Imagine that you just received two valve installation requests from your field operations crew. The first request would better isolate a pipeline segment and the second would save time during blowdown procedures. Both are valid, so how do you choose between the two? If your O&M budget is big enough, you can fund both. But what happens when your budget is limited or your requests start piling up?
One of our customers tackled this problem by using AI valve placement analysis services to prioritize similar requests based on the extent to which each one would reduce potential product release volumes.
This analysis essentially provided a measuring stick with which a budgetary estimate could be paired. The customer was able to weigh various cost factors for installing a valve (such as land acquisition, pipeline depths of cover, etc.) with a known impact to the pipeline system and determine which would be the best use of capital dollars.
How do your valve placements affect the impact that a release could have on the homes, water reservoirs or other areas that may surround your pipeline system? It's a complex question that typically requires a skilled risk professional and a computer model that can simultaneously analyze numerous inputs.
We helped one customer find an answer by using our risk modeling software to run several thousand calculations that determined potential release volumes across their entire 5,700-mile pipeline system. The calculations also showed how emergency flow restriction devices would impact the release volumes, depending on their placement.
As a result of the project, the customer was able to choose valve placements that were modeled to reduce a product release of a single pipeline by 30 percent. Imagine what impact this analysis could have on your entire pipeline system!
In the case of a disaster, how much liquid is likely to be released by your pipeline system, and how fast will that release occur? Valve placement analysis can help you make these values as low as possible. You can then take more control of your emergency response by communicating the resulting release threshold and flow rate to your operations team so they can plan accordingly.
For example, our HCA analysis service models a pipeline rupture 35 miles downstream, and many operators use this information to formulate their emergency response requirements (e.g., a rupture 35 miles downstream at an assumed river flow of 4mph would necessitate a response time requirement of about eight hours).
Then our valve placement analysis service helps operators locate the pipeline sections that most adversely affect emergency response times. Installing EFRDs in these areas can allow you to meet the threshold limit your emergency response plan is designed to handle.
Prioritizing Field Crew Suggestions
Reducing Risk Across a Pipeline System
Informing Emergency Response Plans