Safety Assurance Auditing for Pipeline Risk Management
Since its introduction in 1999 as an informative Annex to the CSA Z662 Canadian Oil & Gas Pipeline Systems code, risk management has matured to become a core element in Canadian and USA standards, regulations and best practices, including CSA Z662-19 and API Recommended Practice 1173, Pipeline Safety Management Systems. Risk assessment has gained importance across multiple sectors of industry as a result of the need to quantify the likelihood and impact of an event that has not occurred but can be anticipated based on information that is known. When expressed in quantitative terms, risk has the additional benefit of enabling an understanding of level of exposure to an adverse event by stakeholders who are not familiar with the subject matter.
CSA Z662-19 requires a safety management system to provide for the protection people, the environment and property throughout the lifecyle of the pipeline, including design, construction, operations and decommissioning. As a component of the management system, estimated level of risk has become a governing criteria for safe operation where risk principally stems from threats to primary containment and causes of pipe degradation. For assessed risks that exceed allowable limits, the management system specifies actions for risk mitigation and integrity-related operational controls appropriate to bring the risk down to a tolerable level. To ensure the functioning of the management system, API RP 1173 calls for a process of audits and evaluations to periodically measure pipeline safety performance and verify that the objectives of the risk mitigation and operational controls are being achieved.
Since level of risk as a measure of safety is replacing statistics on loss incidents and downtime to effect repairs, a process of comparing targeted-to-achieved risk reduction will be required to measure the performance of the safety management system. There is an increasing trend among Oil & Gas pipeline operators to audit their risk mitigation integrity processes and practices against safety management system specifications. This presentation will expand on risk management practices for pipelines and explore the opportunity to introduce safety assurance auditing as a component of safety management.