Statistics maintained by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)(1) suggest increasing trends in internal corrosion incidents on hazardous liquid and natural gas transmission pipelines in the United States. In spite of improvements in pipeline integrity and risk management, pipeline degradation due to internal corrosion continues to cause leaks and failures. In some cases, pipeline operators may be missing opportunities to learn from these incidents, and thereby develop improved approaches to mitigation and prevention. This paper demonstrates an analytical methodology to learn from internal corrosion incidents that consists of three levels of analysis; determining the immediate (mechanistic) cause, identifying the basic or contributing causes, and analyzing the root causes from a management systems perspective. A hypothetical example case is used to demonstrate how each of these levels of analysis (techniques) is conducted. Pipeline operators can use one or more of these analyses to learn from internal corrosion incidents and identify steps for continuous improvement of internal corrosion management programs. The methodology presented in this paper is equally applicable to any type of integrity threat. To fully implement lessons learned and realize the value of the analysis, the need for planning and follow-through is also discussed.

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