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How do you Monitor and Maintain Pipeline Integrity?

Interview by Helen Winsor, Oil & Gas IQ

Morten Nielsen, Operation Integrity Supervisor at Hess, joins Oil and Gas IQ to discuss protecting pipeline integrity in operation through lifetime evaluation. Oil & Gas IQ: Morten, hello. Welcome to the show. How are you today? M Nielsen: I'm fine, Helen. Thank you very much for inviting me to be on the show, looking forward to it. Oil & Gas IQ: Thank you so much for joining us today. I'd like to ask you about your side of this industry. Firstly, as an Operation Integrity Supervisor you're closely involved with the lifetime extension of aging pipes and the evaluation of design parameters to improve this. Let's talk first about the types of challenges in maintaining pipeline integrity and the main pipe defects that tend to come about. M Nielsen: Yes Helen, the challenges are many. Of course one of the typical characteristics of aging production facilities is the changes in the composition of the media thats being transported in a pipeline. This can be water, H2S, wax, flow rates. What you can say is that the internal environment will be changing over time. Another issue is of course the external environment that can also be changing. First of all, we always have to consider it when we're installing new structures, such as a structure that is sitting next to a pipeline, or it could also be another pipeline that is sort of part of the infrastructure in relation to the facility. They will, of course, have an influence on the surrounding seabed, how the seabed is looking, and that could mean that you, for instance, would have a larger free spin on the pipeline, consequently the maintenance of these things is that you have to consider a number of things and they have to be in order to maintain the integrity of a pipeline. These main components are monitoring of the composition of the flow in the pipeline, monitoring of the critical components such as those I mentioned before. If you suddenly get a high number of H2S, you can't leave that in the pipeline, and of course the corrosion in the hip turn and the doses that youre using it to them, that is very much related to the flow rate as well. Both this and also the inspection method that you're applying, both internally and externally, for inspection is vital for making sure that the maintenance of the pipeline integrity is 100%. Defects on pipelines are of course different. Corrosion can be caused by many things, but basically its in improper protection of the pipeline in relation to the media that you're flowing through the pipeline, but also around the pipeline, so making sure that you have correct provision for the corrosion protection of the pipeline is vital. Another issue, of course, of defect is cracks in the pipeline. That could be a combination of both corrosion thats causing your pipeline thickness to be reduced, hence the stress that you

are applying to the pipeline, for instance, a water injection system or oil export line can very much be a cause of cracking open the pipeline. Stress could be caused by an object suddenly entering directly on top of your pipeline, which could also be a significant issue for pipelines. Oil & Gas IQ: Leading on from this onto the solutions; what are the key requirements that you have to take into consideration when setting about making improvements to your pipe design? M Nielsen: Whats very much an issue here as the challenge, if you're talking about an aging pipeline, is not so much in the design because thats really not an option. You can't really do much about the existing design on a pipeline. You can of course apply different coats to that specific pipeline, but in many cases this is not really an option. Oil & Gas IQ: So what solutions do you use then? M Nielsen: By saying coat I mean the application of the method that you have to inspect it to the schedule that you need to follow, and these are all things, different coats exist and some of them can and will be better than others, depending on how you have built your pipeline, but it is many times governed by the time you actually constructed and laid out the pipeline, so its more the way that you are operating the pipeline that is important. By monitoring, by inspection and proper measures, you will be able to operate a pipeline beyond its original design life in many cases. Oil & Gas IQ: Could you elaborate a bit more on the solutions that you use in this area? M Nielsen: Of course the solution has to be designed to that specific pipeline that you are operating, and of course there is always an optimal solution to an optimal pipeline, but in many cases, how the pipeline has been built has also to do with the financial situation when the pipeline was actually constructed and laid down, where you can ask the question of design life. Isnt it always the issue that design life is never long enough for the operation that takes place? Its always like that. I only know a few fields that have actually stopped operating before the end of design life. The majority of all the fields that we have in the North Sea is, or will, go way beyond the expected original baseline or design life. Oil & Gas IQ: Its a key issue across industry at the moment, isnt it? Obviously another of the integral parts of your role is to adopt a risk-based approach. What are the key tenets of your approach over at Hess, and also how do safety measures come into play? M Nielsen: To take safety first, which we at Hess consider an integrated part of our integrity, where we consolidate the issues of safeguarding personnel, the environment, and of course the asset, and in relation to pipelines, the environment plays a very large role because the majority of the accidents with the seaward pipelines is as they are rupturing and sending out the media into the environment that they are in, so it is, of course, majorly important that we do not do this. By adopting a risk-based inspection method, you are putting a system in place where you are doing the right inspection monitoring or whatever you need to and following the correct schedule for when you have to do these different things, because there is no reason for inspecting a pipeline without you having to anticipate you will find some things that you are looking for. That could be, for instance, corrosion. There is no reason for doing inspection for corrosion if you do not anticipate it and all the parameters indicate that you do not have a problem with that, so it has to do with knowing the media that you are sending through a pipeline, and as I mentioned before, the change in media would be a significant contribution to that fact, of when we have to inspect. Oil & Gas IQ: Pre-empting problems, I guess. Morten, what are the current monitoring and inspection systems used by Hess? Can you tell me a bit about the methodology and

technology that you use, and indeed whether you're working on any new systems and what the end goals are by the deployment stage? M Nielsen: Typically, what we have been doing so far is that the major channels we have in our specific field are to be able to monitor the specific media that we are sending through the system. The reason for not mentioning inspection right now is that we actually have a specific pipeline that cannot be inspected in the traditional way of taking inspection, so the majority of things that we have been doing to monitor the media are that we are sending a medium through the pipeline. So its to do with the daily work thats saying that once we are sending a medium through it, we need to make sure that the water contents, the salt contents, the containment of wax in the fluid are be kept at a certain level, and if we cannot fulfil that criteria that of course will trigger a process where you have to deal with the issue where you have gone beyond the point of being within your specification on that media. Saying that, in mind is of course the fact that we have been using a technology based on the risk-based approach from DNV so far to be able to monitor and to be able to say whether we have a problem or not with our specific pipeline, and beyond that point we have actually come to the conclusion that we now will have to be ensuring for ourselves that the integrity of the pipeline is 100%. And the only way we can do that right now is to start to deploy an internal picking inspection, which is something that we are working on right now. Oil & Gas IQ: How do you achieve maximum operational performance without compromising the integrity of the pipeline transport system? M Nielsen: Today, we have put in place a specific operational criterion on how we operate our pipeline. This means that we have included this in our operational procedures, which is then becoming a sort of a standard that we have to apply all the time. This means that for the different ways that we operate the pipeline, we have the different scenarios described and we are able to take our measures against it when something is changing. That you can only, of course, get to a certain point of the integrity; make sure that the integrity of the pipeline is 100%, or is kept to a maximum. To a certain point, you will have to meet the challenge of what I mentioned before, that we'll have to do an internal inspection of the pipeline itself to be able to form a baseline, also to be able to measure ourselves against the operational criteria that we have stipulated, because we, at this present moment, are not quite sure whether they are feasible or whether they are over the top. Oil & Gas IQ: Looking ahead, what advances do you see affecting the industry? Is there anything key in the pipeline, so to speak, that you can report on? M Nielsen: Of course, one of the major challenges is that we need to make sure that in the design phase, designers really do evaluate which process they want to put in place in order to make sure that the integrity of the pipeline is kept 100%. I think that in the good old days, a pipeline was just something you laid down on the seabed and then more or less just forgot all about unless there was a local requirement from the authorities to make sure that you do an inspection of the pipeline. It was more a necessary evil that you needed to have a means of transportation from A to B to making sure that you kept your infrastructure between your platform and other facility, or the receiving part of the facility. So the industry today needs to make sure that it is able to keep the integrity of the pipeline, and there are several ways that the industry should do that. The industry today should be able to improve the principle of monitoring and, of course, the principle of inspection, and there are a lot of things that are going on right now in different ways of inspection and monitoring the system. Online monitoring is vital in order to maintain data that is important for your pipeline. Oil & Gas IQ: Finally, I understand, Morten, you'll be on the specialist speaker panel at this years Pipeline Integrity Maintenance Forum, which is taking place in Amsterdam from 11th -

13th October. For anybody interested in attending, could you give us a snapshot of the key learning points that they could expect to gain from your presentation? M Nielsen: I'd like to share some of our experience with the operation of a pipeline that actually cannot be inspected, and also the operation of a pipeline that is and will be used beyond normal design life. And hopefully I'll be able to share some of the learnings from what we are working on right now, of doing intelligent picking of a pipeline that we really werent able to pick originally. So I'm very eager to share that information and I'm quite sure that a lot of people are fighting the same problems as we are having at this current moment. Oil & Gas IQ: We hope it provides a good forum for discussion. Thank you very much again for your time today. Its been really interesting to hear about the developments at Hess. Thank you, Morten. M Nielsen: No problem Helen, looking forward to October.

For more details about the Pipeline Integrity Maintenance Forum, which will take place in th th Amsterdam from 11 - 13 October, please visit the website: www.pipelineintegrityforum.com or alternatively call the team on tel: +44 (0) 207 368 9300 or email: enquire@iqpc.co.uk.

IQPC Please note that we do all we can to ensure accuracy within the translation to word of audio interviews but that errors may still understandably occur in some cases. If you believe that a serious inaccuracy has been made within the text, please contact +44 (0) 207 368 9425 or email helen.winsor@iqpc.co.uk.