The pipeline industry has made a number of commitments to move towards their goal of zero incidents, from using the latest technologies, to creating recommended practices with regulators and forming industry work groups to share best practices. Pipeline operators are implementing integrity management programs to ensure their assets are maintained. These strategies include using in-line inspection tools, or “smart pigs,” to determine the condition of the pipeline. Smart pigs can detect corrosion, cracking or other defects in the pipe wall and are used to plan preventive maintenance. Operators also use this data to plan for future repairs.
Smart pigs aren’t the only tool used by the industry to ensure safety. Operators have invested financial resources to ensure their infrastructure is reliable, including spending over $2.2 billion in 2014 to evaluate, inspect and maintain pipelines. Pipeline companies finance research projects on various pipeline challenges, such as cracking, hydro-testing, and non-destructive examination. Some of this research is coordinated by the industry alone and additional work is completed by collaborating with pipeline regulatory agencies.
Learn more about additional pipeline initiatives to improve safety:
AOPL/API: U.S. Liquids Pipeline Usage & Mileage Report (November 2015)