The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and the National Association of Pipeline Safety Representatives are jointly sponsoring the public meeting June 27 in Fort Worth, Texas.
A meeting to gauge gas distribution pipeline operators’ readiness for federal and state inspections of their integrity management programs has been set for June 27 in Fort Worth, Texas, by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and the National Association of Pipeline Safety Representatives. It is open to the public and will be webcast, according to PHMSA’s announcement.
PHMSA published a final rule in December 2009 setting requirements for ensuring the continued integrity of gas distribution pipelines; it gave operators until Aug. 2, 2011, to implement them. PHMSA and states have conducted some inspections and have many more inspections coming up, the notice says.
According to MATCOR’s Nick Judd, Houston-based corrosion engineer, “The company used to pick up less than 200 miles a year in pipeline integrity management (PIM) projects. Today, we are already doing more PIM; we’re growing to serve much more, and it’s no stretch to say we’ve got the capabilities.”
In deploying a broader range of experience-based capabilities, MATCOR knows that Pipeline Integrity Management is a crucial tool for operators and asset managers who have to do more in monitoring pipeline corrosion and assuring pipeline integrity. Judd maintains that MATCOR is present and accounted for in all the ways that reinforce the corporate theme, “Integrity that Works.”
“Today, everyone we hire is NACE-certified, starting with entry Level 1 and going through succeeding Levels 2 and 3,” he notes. “Our PIM professionals have to be Level 1 at least. We also staff with a mixture of graduate engineers in various disciplines and field-experienced personnel. Then we combine the two so we can go the extra distance for every PIM customer. Both Judd and MATCOR Executive Vice President Glenn Schreffler agree that the company’s personnel have to have both the “book learning” and the field experience to deliver effective PIM services.
“People who do not know MATCOR don’t yet recognize how highly qualified we all are in programmed corrosion prevention, and in reporting on the results,” says Judd.
The foundation is always NACE certification. Why? NACE has known for many years that there’s a need for supporting and reinforcing the integrity in corrosion prevention. NACE standards meet the needs of all segments of the infrastructure industry; they are written and approved by instructors and professors, government officials and regulatory experts, and especially by industry professionals…including some MATCOR experts. Judd maintains, “There need to be levels of testable knowledge leading to certification in corrosion, cathodic protection, and coatings and linings – this is part and parcel of our approach to PIM. So we make certain today that our technicians are NACE-certified by corporate mandate. Our internal OQ disciplines are just as rigorous.” (Judd is one of MATCOR’s Operator Qualification specialists as well.)
Integrity management of pipelines is an organized, integrated and comprehensive process that counters threats to pipeline safety. But as is now plain, PIM is about people. To be successful, MATCOR people not only meet widely recognized PIM standards but are able to apply them meticulously. “In PIM assignments, the crews I send out may have to meet weather challenges, or equipment difficulties – but never problems of applied knowledge or data acquisition or reporting.”
Effective PIM service delivery encompasses every one of the knowledge/data/reporting demands. “We carefully and successfully completed one ECDA (External Corrosion Detection Analysis) project for a very short segment of a customer’s pipelines, notes Judd. “We dotted every i, we crossed every t – we met and exceeded the expectations of the customer’s Corrosion Integrity Manager.”
“Even so, we were still pretty gratified when we got a callback from this customer, an opportunity to do more work, because our job performance was so good. Our new, larger project involves ICDA, (internal corrosion direct assessment), which also means extra computer modeling. I went over the PIM game plan with this customer and noted that we were going to need much more data to ensure success on this newer, large-scale project.”
“The customer agreed to help meet these requirements. And since he knows our data is superbly accurate, he is using the information we collect and analyze to revamp the alignment sheets on a 35-pipeline system.”
“This customer manager also feels that the MATCOR people working on this project understand the delicate differences among some of ‘his’ transportation system elements, which include gap and transmission mains, in-plant systems and distribution lines.”
“And for him – just as we’re doing for everyone now – MATCOR goes the extra distance, ensuring that we turn the data into analyses and report those within 48 hours of receiving the data.”
Whether MATCOR is conducting ECDAs, ICDAs, root cause analyses or ongoing maintenance and repair supervision, every element is documented and reported. So for MATCOR in PIM, there is an additional factor at work. “US Department of Transportation regulators are frequently on our sites,” says Judd, “closely monitoring how we actually conduct these processes and programs. We have an in-depth understanding of their reporting demands and we can use this savvy to help operators pass regulatory scrutiny with flying colors. It is one more level of reassurance – again supported by MATCOR’s multiple levels of experience and dedication to going the extra mile.”
For Judd, none of this is a stretch. His obligation to integrity reinforces the company’s. “Whenever I leave a meeting, I always want to be certain I have said the same things today that I said last year, and will continue to say next year, in terms of commitments made and delivered upon.”
“When MATCOR says, ‘We will do it,’ it’ll get done. Period.”
An International Petrochemical Company contracted with MATCOR to review assessment data gathered more than 10 years earlier. MATCOR’s initial findings showed the existing Cathodic Protection System was struggling to maintain criteria. To determine the exact cause of the problems MATCOR launched a comprehensive survey of 20 miles of 26 inch pipeline.
From the initial review of the pipeline, it became clear that the existing Cathodic Protection system did not have the capacity to distribute DC current effectively. MATCOR’s technicians performed Close Interval Surveys (CIS), Pipeline Current Mapping (PCM), and Direct Current Voltage Gradient (DCVG) surveys. In addition, MATCOR took soil samples and had them analyzed, measuring pH, sulfates and sulfides, chlorides and moisture content. The results corresponded with the smart pig runs, which further validated the testing and data analysis. The survey revealed significant coating degradation.
It was clear from the current requirement test results that a new Cathodic Protection System was necessary. The client’s choice was MATCOR’s patented Mini-Deep Anode System, which is very easily installed without disruption to the pipeline.
In all, 15 Mini-Deep Anodes were used to protect 40-plus miles of pipeline and connecting laterals.
MATCOR strategically placed ground beds approximately one mile east and west of the rectifiers. On a new pipeline, each MATCOR Mini-Deep Anode can protect many miles of line, but since these pipelines experienced coating degradation, MATCOR designed the system to protect the existing lines from low structure to electrolyte potentials.
Upon completion of the testing and commissioning of the rectifier and ground bed system, this pipeline system, with associated laterals, was able to achieve -850mV OFF potential throughout its entire length.
The client was concerned that the 100mV criterion would have to be used in certain areas due to poor coating conditions; however, this was not the case. MATCOR achieved complete integrity by incorporating the correct combination of engineering, design, and cooperation from the client.
The Mini-Deep Anodes will protect the system for 20 years or more.