Papers # 2018 Las-Vegas
The Polyethylene (PE) pipeline business is constantly experiencing change. In the not too distant past, lower performance materials and a lack of understanding of major risks to pipeline structural and operation integrity meant that we needed standards that ensured a good quality pipe, careful installation and a strong emphasis on managing risk with conservative Safety Factors. However, research and experience have provided a better understanding of the major risks, such as long-term brittle pipe failures due to slow crack growth as well as susceptibility to third party damage. Consequently management strategies about pipeline “integrity” evolved to using enhanced pipe materials as well as design and operation practices addressing the risk of in-service defects and damages recognized as a major threat to pipeline safety. Standards and National Codes have also changed to accommodate the innovation in materials, pipeline design and monitoring integrity during service life. Many of the current regulations are not prescriptive; they are explicitly goal setting allowing operators of pipelines to base design and operation on “fitness for purpose”. More and more of pipe line operators use risk based design supported by structural reliability methods to design cost efficient and safe pipelines.