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Reliability engineering application to pipeline design

Omoya, Olanrewaju Ayobami and Papadopoulou, Kassandra A and Lou, Eric (2019) Reliability engineering application to pipeline design. International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management. ISSN 0265-671X

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Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate the application of reliability engineering to oil and gas (O&G) pipeline systems with the aim of identifying means through which reliability engineering can be used to improve pipeline integrity, specifically with regard to man-made incidents (e.g. material/weld/equipment failure, corrosion, incorrect operation and excavation damages). Design/methodology/approach: A literature review was carried out on the application of reliability tools to O&G pipeline systems and four case studies are presented as examples of how reliability engineering can help to improve pipeline integrity. The scope of the paper is narrowed to four stages of the pipeline life cycle; the decommissioning stage is not part of this research. A survey was also carried out using a questionnaire to check the level of application of reliability tools in the O&G industry. Findings: Data from survey and literature show that a reliability-centred approach can be applied and will improve pipeline reliability where applied; however, there are several hindrances to the effective application of reliability tools, the current methods are time based and focus mainly on design against failure rather than design for reliability. Research limitations/implications: The tools identified do not cover the decommissioning of the pipeline system. Research validation sample size can be broadened to include more pipeline stakeholders/professionals. Pipeline integrity management systems are proprietary information and permission is required from stakeholders to do a detailed practical study. Originality/value: This paper proposes the minimum applied reliability tools for application during the design, operation and maintenance phases targeted at the O&G industry. Critically, this paper provides a case for an integrated approach to applying reliability and maintenance tools that are required to reduce pipeline failure incidents in the O&G industry.

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