Earlier this year, the NTSB issued their 2021-2022 Most Wanted List that called for pipeline operators to improve pipeline leak detection and mitigation. NTSB’s recommendation included specific actions for operators to take, such as improving incident reporting practices and updating policies and procedures.
The NTSB also identified the need for assets to be equipped with pipeline leak detection systems and automatic shutoff valves to allow for quick mitigation. While that is critical, we believe that operators need to take another important step to support mitigation efforts.
Specifically, operators need to enhance communication between the pipeline control room and field operations. When controllers and field personnel are in sync, this can make the difference between a small incident and something more significant.
This is why we recommend that pipeline operators utilize an integrated software toolset to optimize the connection between the control room and field.
How Integrated Tools Supports Pipeline Leak Detection Systems
When there is a potential incident, there is no time for telephone tag. But, how often do your control room personnel waste valuable time trying to track down field personnel to ask them what they are seeing in the field? Consider this common situation in the control room:
- An alarm is presented on the controller’s HMI display.
- The controller calls the on-site technician about the alarm, but there is no answer.
- The controller leaves a voicemail and jots down their notes about the alarm.
- The voicemail is not returned for hours.
- The field technician eventually returns the phone call, but the controller is off-shift.
- More time passes before the control room and the field eventually connect about the alarm.
Does this scenario sound like a common occurrence in your control room? If so, it’s time to break down silos and eliminate call-out phone tag by using tools that support your pipeline leak detection system and enhance mitigation efforts.
At EnerSys, we offer an integrated toolset that supports electronic call-outs and communication between the control room and field operations that supports safety and efficiency.
Consider Our Toolkit to Support Control Room Communication
Our POEMS® Control Room Management software suite (CRM Suite) includes integrated software modules (Muddy Boots and CRMgr) that enable controllers to initiate callouts from the control room.
Using our tools, users perform investigatory callouts in CRMgr that connect to the Muddy Boots field operations platform. Controllers can track responses from the field and record activity as it happens. This also supports the need for control room managers to see activity in real-time to support their operation’s leak detection mitigation efforts.
On the other side of the equation, field personnel will receive the request in Muddy Boots on their mobile device. Field supervisors will also be alerted to the response and can monitor open issues on their Muddy Boots dashboard.
Consider how this plays out when communication is harmonized between the control room and the field:
- The pipeline controller receives immediate feedback from the field (no more waiting for a phone call response).
- The field supervisor can quickly assign a resource to respond to the callout.
- Controllers can view a log of all outstanding callouts (as opposed to manually writing down notes that could be lost or misunderstood).
- Control room supervisors can monitor all outstanding callouts in real-time without having to track down the controller that initiated the callout if they are off-shift.
- The field can review electronic notes from the control room and record their response in Muddy Boots.
- The final completion status or resolution is logged in Muddy Boots and communicated to the control room via CRMgr.
- The control room can verify that the issue has been resolved and can close the callout.
This process creates efficiencies, supports safety through the rapid response to each alarm, and enables controllers to stay focused on what is being presented to them in the control room so that they can maintain situational awareness throughout their shift.
The added benefit is that recordkeeping automatically happens in the CRM Suite platform as the work is being performed. This way, when it’s time for a PHMSA audit, your operation can automatically generate reports that satisfy regulatory inquiries. We call it Natural Compliance.
Utilize Our Toolset As Part of a Complete Leak Detection Solution
Our toolkit supports how the work is performed in the control room and the field to support mitigation efforts. Perhaps your operation requires a larger solution to support your overall pipeline leak detection system.
Through the combination of our subject matter expertise and our partnership with Atmos International, we can provide your operation with a holistic solution that will enable you to gather quality data about leaks and create real-time views of the data in your SCADA system to make informed decisions.
To prevent escalation from an alarm to an incident, we recommend leveraging the Atmos pipeline leak detection system to quickly detect leaks, accurately locate leaks, minimize false alarms, and work effectively in all operating conditions.
Now is the time to elevate your pipeline leak detection efforts through our solution, software tools, and consulting support. We are here to help you respond to NTSB’s recommendation to improve pipeline leak detection and mitigation.
– Call the EnerSys team at 281-598-7100 to schedule a consultation or educational demo of our integrated software tools. You can also contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or complete our website contact form. Ask for EnerSys General Manager Ross Adams or VP Business Development Dale Schafer to help you get started.