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March 31, 2018 / Klaas van Alphen
Category: International 

PRCI Research Exchange Report

PRCI hosted its annual Research Exchange Meeting on March 6-7, 2018 at the Hyatt Regency Miami in Miami, Florida. The Research Exchange Meeting is scheduled each year to provide PRCI members, research partners, and external stakeholders with a report on the important research results and outcomes for completed research projects and programs.

Energy Pipelines CRC Research Manager, Klaas van Alphen, attended the meeting which included two days of technical presentations. The presentations covered a variety of safety and integrity management topics, including corrosion assessment, geo-hazards, coatings, right of way monitoring, mechanical damage, design considerations, material characteristics and properties, developing traceable, complete, and verifiable records, in-line inspection performance and enhancement, NDE technology enhancements and validation, and leak detection.

This event is the key annual knowledge transfer window for PRCI and it provided a great opportunity to learn how to move the research results into practice. Most of the presentations at the meeting were provided by the PRCI operator member companies demonstrating how they applied the research outcomes into their daily operations.

It was pleasing to see that Energy Pipelines CRC research projects complement the PRCI research portfolio in many areas.

In addition to the technical project presentation, there was a strategic session on the establishment of a pipeline data hub. The session was driven by an increased push to improve and strengthen the tools used to verify pipeline safety and integrity. Other industries have faced similar crossroads. Warren Randolph from the Federal Aviation Administration, provided an overview of how the North American aviation industry addressed this challenge by creating a centralised database for understanding issues facing airworthiness and what the value has been the aviation industry. Walter Kresic, PRCI Board Vice Chair and Enbridge VP of Integrity R&D, led the discussion on how PRCI can play a central role in the creation of the pipeline data hub. The roadmap for this initiative builds on the PRCI strong membership, covering all relevant pipeline stakeholders, and deep skill sets related to pipeline engineering and operations, as well at the vast amount of datasets already gathered in PRCI’s research projects. It is envisaged that after first developing an industry framework for information sharing, a virtual technology development centre (V-TDC) could be created to drive future safety improvements.

Another interesting workshop, delivered by Mark Piazza (Colonial Pipeline Company), focussed on the application of research results to improve pipeline dent fatigue integrity management. Research on dent fatigue accumulation and failure due to fatigue cracking at dents has been conducted since the 1970s. However, none of that work resulted in the development of comprehensive guidelines or industry standards on dent fatigue and mechanical damage integrity management. Therefore, in 2006, PRCI initiated a comprehensive research program on mechanical damage.

The research completed by PRCI over the past twelve years has delivered results that have been adopted by pipeline operators to identify, characterise, and appropriately manage dent fatigue threats to pipeline integrity. This workshop provided direct experience of how operators are applying these results and incorporating the research findings into their integrity management programs.

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