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Risk Mitigation In Pipeline Operations

A Solution for 7 Important Risk Factors in Pipeline Operations

When our team talks to pipeline executives, the one word that always comes up in conversations is risk. These risks could present themselves in a variety of ways:

  • Daily risks: Are controllers accurately responding to alarms?
  • Timely risks: Are we able to generate reports for a PHMSA audit to demonstrate compliance?
  • Irregular risks: Are we prepared to react to a leak, weather event, or abnormal operating condition?

The question is whether your operation is taking the best approach to address the daily, timely, and irregular risks to ensure compliance and safety.

Solutions for 7 Risk Factors Facing Your Operation

We take risk very seriously when we assess a pipeline operation, implement a solution, and manage the change. Consider how we support your risk mitigation approach through our POEMS Control Room Management (CRM) Suite software.

1. Pipeline leak. The biggest risk factor for any pipeline operation is a leak because of the potential damage that could be caused. The key is ensuring that controllers are properly supported to address a leak alarm that comes into the control room.

– We built the ALMgr tool in the CRM Suite to help controllers understand how to react to an alarm, improve their response time to the alarm, and create regular reports that demonstrate compliance. We also include an analysis feature to improve efficiency for future leak alarms.

2. Inaccurate response to alarms. A related risk is controllers not responding properly to alarms. This could be because of alarm floods, incomplete shift handover from one controller to another controller, or controllers not having quick access to guidelines to guide their response.

– One of the most important features of our ALMgr tool is the ability to create alarm response sheets to guide each controller’s response to each alarm. The alarm response sheet will support each controller’s ability to achieve situational awareness, then take the proper steps to address the alarm.

3. Incomplete or inaccurate paperwork. Technology has made it easier to create complete and accurate paperwork to ensure compliance when faced with an audit. However, many operators are concerned about moving away from their current model of using pen & paper or dated software to generate paperwork. This creates compliance risk through lost or incomplete records.

– We created the CRMgr tool to help operators generate compliance logs that capture critical actions and activity in the control room. Through this tool, you can simplify the audit process and generate appropriate reports that ensure compliance.

4. Employee turnover or satisfaction. Controllers need to be supported through a proper fatigue management program. Not only is this critical from a compliance standpoint to adhere to the PHMSA CRM Rule, but it is also important to ensure that controllers are supported and satisfied in their role. Otherwise, you risk safety and compliance gaps if you routinely need to recruit, hire, onboard, and train new controllers.

– Our FatigueMgr tool includes two critical components to manage the risks associated with fatigue and employee satisfaction in the control room: Workload Analysis to manage each controller’s workload and HOS Scheduler to track hours of service. The tools ensure compliance with the CRM Rule, ensure that each controller has vigilance time while at work, and ensure sufficient time for rest between shifts.

5. Following policies & procedures. Each pipeline operation is responsible for implementing policies and procedures that align with the CRM Rule, then reviewing and updating the internal requirements based on the latest recommendations. There is a risk of non-compliance if you have not performed this review and update.

– Within the CRM Suite is our ComplyMgr tool that supports critical elements of risk management. ComplyMgr traces your operation’s policies and procedures to audit protocols, links procedures to federal regulations and industry standards (such as API 1168, AI 1755, and API 1165), and simplifies the process of tracking regulatory changes to determine when and if your policies and procedures require updating.

6. Weather-related issues. No one can predict when a major weather event such as Hurricane Harvey will have a significant impact on pipeline operations. However, you can be prepared to mitigate the risk associated with a major event through a fully-integrated software solution.

– We have seen operators try to utilize software tools from multiple vendors to support each area of pipeline operations. However, these tools oftentimes do not talk to each other, creating risks when your software absolutely must communicate effectively during a major event. Our CRM Suite software suite covers all areas of pipeline operations, each tool communicates to share information, and each person is supported in their role when they need to react quickly during an event.

7. Meeting customer requirements. Finally, there is a financial risk of not being able to meet customer requirements such as taking/delivering volume or meeting the specifications of a contract.

– One of the primary benefits of using EnerSys software such as the CRM Suite is that we capture your entire pipeline operations to systematically implement the latest technology and significantly reduce the total cost of ownership. Through this approach, we ease the financial burden of supporting the control room so that you can focus on managing operations.

Find Support for Each Pipeline Executive Risk Area

While all risk areas are important to address, some may be more important for your operation compared to others. That’s why we take the time to assess your pipeline operation to identify the greatest areas of concern and then implement the best solution.

We would appreciate the opportunity to discuss your risks and set up a POEMS demo so that we can demonstrate how we provide software support for each critical area of your pipeline operation.

To schedule a brief, no-obligation demo with our team, please complete our contact form, email us at sales@enersyscorp.com, or call us directly at 281-598-7100.

Russel Treat

Russel Treat is an industry leader, software entrepreneur, podcaster, and trusted subject matter expert specializing in oil and gas pipeline operations, custody transfer measurement, leak detection, and automation. Russel’s extensive knowledge of pipeline and control room operations gained over 30 years of projects led to the creation of a complete software suite known as POEMS ™ (Pipeline Operations Excellence Management System) delivered through EnerSys Corporation.

As CEO of EnerSys, Russel is committed to delivering the highest value to pipeline operators by addressing their greatest needs and concerns, especially operational efficiency, safety and government regulation.