Offshore pipelines are a viable option for the safe transport ofhydrocarbons in the Arctic. For continued safe and cost efficient operation, itis important to ensure integrity as well as minimize field inspection andintervention. This can be achieved through an optimized Inspection andMaintenance (IM) program. Determining the required frequency of IM, in a costefficient manner is critical for ensuring integrity and optimizing inspectionand maintenance costs without compromising safety. For piggable lines, smartpigs are used for In-Line Inspection (ILI). A conservative approach (small IMintervals) can be costly, increases the human / Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV)exposure and yield little new information. A strategy with too little IM canlead to unexpected failures, as too little information is acquired on thecondition of the pipeline. An optimal IM strategy based on the condition ofpipeline is developed in this paper.
In this paper, major Arctic offshore pipeline integrity challenges areevaluated. Considering these challenges, a Risk Based Integrity Modeling (RBIM)framework has been proposed. Design challenges from the effects of ice gouging, strudel scour, frost heave, permafrost thaw settlement, and upheaval bucklingcan be mitigated through proper trenching and burial, as well as conditionmonitoring during operation. The major integrity challenges during operationmay arise from the progressive structural deterioration processes and changesin the right-of-way seabed conditions. The structural deterioration processeswill include time-dependent processes such as corrosion, cracking, andpermafrost thaw settlement. Non-time dependent (random) processes, such asthird party damage, ice gouging, strudel scour, and upheaval buckling will poseadditional risk during operation, but are not addressed in this paper. Theseeffects can be partially addressed through ILI and periodic seabed surveyinspections.
The risk to an Arctic offshore pipeline will be evaluated with respect tothe deterioration processes. The risk is estimated as a combination of theprobability of failure and its consequences. The probability of failure isestimated using the Bayesian analysis. Modeling the structural degradationprocesses using Bayesian analysis is not a new concept; however, modelingdegradation processes using non-conjugate pairs is a new technique that isdiscussed in this paper. Bayesian analysis is based on the estimation of prior, likelihood, and posterior probabilities. Field ILI data is used in theanalysis. The posterior models possess better predictive capabilities of futurefailures. The consequences are estimated in terms of the cost of failure andthe planned IM program. Cost of failure includes the cost of lost product, costof shutdown, cost of spill cleanup, cost of environmental damage and liability. Cost of IM includes the cost to access the pipeline, gauge defects, and carryout inspection and necessary minimal maintenance. Implementation of theproposed RBIM will improve pipeline integrity, increase safety, reducepotential shutdowns, and reduce operational costs.