Author: Anthony Herman
Pipeline Integrity Management Solutions Beyond Excel and GIS
Elevate with NIMA
In a Nutshell:
Pipeline Integrity Management Software (PIMS) is used to support Integrity Management programs.
As an operator, you invest heavily in in-line inspections, receiving data and reports in exchange. Then you typically use MS Excel and GIS systems to dive further into the data, likely creating copies of copies, datasets derived from datasets, and analyses upon analyses – sound familiar? If so, you are swimming in a world of unmanaged, unverifiable and untraceable data ambiguity; more critically, you certainly are not audit-ready.
Whether you live in that world or in one that is organized more by a modern-day PIMS solution, the common goal that unites us is the pursuit of zero incidents.
Embracing our role in this, we leverage our extensive pipeline integrity and software expertise to empower operators to make better-informed, more-tactical decisions. Along with our PIMS solution (NIMA) and services, we can layer in ROSEN’s Integrity Data Warehouse (IDW) – a data lake of inspection data we can use to perform predictive analytics on your un-inspectable pipelines.
We have practical, proven pipeline integrity management methods and have successfully worked with hundreds of operators worldwide. NIMA offers operators certainty in their pipeline integrity management processes by providing:
- Autonomous definition and modification of integrity management processes and algorithms as needed
- Unlimited options in terms of adaptation to individual requirements
- Interpolation, visualization, reporting and export of inspection data to meet integrity processes
- Vendor-agnostic solutions capable of integrating multiple sources of data, including geospatial databases
- Information regarding where operators meet or do not meet compliance with standards and regulations
Let us dive into NIMA.
Every operator has a standard landscape to navigate in order to achieve an effective pipeline integrity management program. This landscape varies from operator to operator but typically consists of national regulations, internal company processes, and globally recognized norms and standards. To maintain compliance, it is crucial that all regulations and standard norms are followed and kept up to date. Implementing a system and software that enables accurate data analytics and efficiency in reporting to support this process becomes incredibly valuable.
What can NIMA do?
NIMA brings people and processes together in a technology platform that delivers accurate analysis and results to integrity engineers. NIMA combines the technology platform with thoughtfully crafted, thoroughly tested and expertly curated process templates, each of which addresses a specific asset integrity need. Process templates are inherently flexible, and the source code is visible to the client – there is no black box with NIMA.
Process templates are the key value items in the NIMA architecture. In-house experts develop process templates with methods proven in the delivery of hundreds of integrity assessments per year. Currently, there are 20 templates, each customizable to a client’s specific needs.
Case Study – a look at a recent project
ROSEN recently engaged with an operator who urgently required a solution that allowed for a qualitative risk assessment to satisfy a specific regulator requirement. ROSEN was able to satisfy their requirements with the NIMA Integrity Management Pro solution with the qualitative risk assessment (QRA) process template extension. The QRA extension enables rapid and intuitive qualitative risk assessment of pipelines to depict an asset’s risk ranking against the client’s risk matrix. The process template utilizes the widely respected asset health and criticality approach, which is based on conditional statements to allocate the system to the relevant risk classification.
Background – it began with a conversation
This specific operator was approached by ROSEN’s Integrity Solutions team asking how they were managing their integrity data. A conversation began on what was keeping them up at night. Turns out they were struggling to manage their risk reporting obligations to their regulator. After just a few focused meetings and a dive into the operators integrity management plan, ROSEN came back with a solution that combined NIMA with a specific risk management module (in this case a QRA process template) along with expert engineering services that addressed their internal criteria and met their obligations to the regulator within the deadline.
Implementation – how did it go?
The project scope followed a standard NIMA implementation, but there were added complexities, which required a unique approach to integrate a proprietary GIS database. Fortunately, ROSEN has a deep bench of data experts, who worked in lockstep with the operator’s experts to extract and transform the client data and load it into a staging area for NIMA to process. While NIMA is vendor-agnostic and can process a variety of data formats, such as SQL, ESRI UPDM-styled geodatabases and flat files (Excel), it is a common issue for pipeline operators to have data structures and formats that are unique to their organization. Hence, NIMA’s design flexibility based on a 3P framework comprised of people, process and platform was the right fit to bring all the project components together.
ROSEN and the client agreed to focus on a subset of their pipeline network to meet immediate regulatory needs, knowing that ROSEN would be setting them up to process other areas of their network when their own internal resources took over the software, processing and data analytics. The project had the following components and deliverables:
- Setup and Implementation of a NIMA SaaS Solution, accessible to the client 24/7 via web browser
- A Risk Assessment Methodology Review
a. Integration of client specific “known” and “unknown” risks
b. Integration of lessons learned from other ROSEN implementations
- Data Collection and Integration:
a. Extracting and processing the client data for QRA
b. Gathering and importing data from public domains
c. Customizing risk algorithms based on client requests
d. Increasing automation of ETL routines
- Qualitative Threat Assessment
- Qualitative Consequence Assessment
- Risk Assessment, delivered via dashboards and data exports on the subset of the client’s pipeline network
The project began in the 2nd quarter of 2022 and followed an aggressive timeline. In addition to a short deadline, the project involved a number of client stakeholders as well as ROSEN experts from around the globe. Efficient collaboration and cooperation from all stakeholders allowed the project to be completed on time and on budget.
The project closeout also included QRA extension training for the client’s users, with additional NIMA IM basic user training and training on FME-to-NIMA processes. With the software and QRA process template in place and the knowledge to execute, the client is now able to expand this process to the rest of their network, which consists of hundreds of pipelines.