MMS Awards Pipeline Integrity Study to DNV

Due to the growing concern about the integrity of Federal offshore pipelines, the Minerals Management Service (MMS) has now awarded DNV a contract to conduct a study of pipeline integrity management methods. The report will serve as the basis for a future guideline.

There are more than 32,000 kilometers of lines in service in the Gulf of Mexico and some of them have been in operation for 40 years, which is beyond their anticipated service life. Hence, because of age, type of use, geo-hazards and location, there is growing concern about the integrity of some of the pipelines. There is also concern about the susceptibility of pipelines to corrosion.

Despite the growing attention given to deepwater developments, the MMS remains attentive to the needs of existing operations. The organization recognizes the many improvements made to pipeline materials, design, construction, and management over the past several decades. However, the MMS also realizes that improved inspection and monitoring systems could benefit both existing and proposed pipeline systems.

With this in mind, the MMS wants to develop a methodology for assessing the safety of existing and future pipelines through the Technical Assessment and Research Program (TAR). DNV has been awarded the execution of TAR project #565 'Guidelines for the Integrity Assessment Methods of Piggable and Unpiggable Pipelines in the Gulf of Mexico'.

This project will examine pipeline data including failure data, and review offshore pipeline integrity management industry practices and regulatory requirements. Finally, it will deliver recommendations on how to assess the integrity of offshore pipelines in the Gulf of Mexico.

The study aims to identify state-of-the-art and best industry practices for pipeline integrity management. Voluntary industry input and assistance on this matter will therefore be sought. The MMS goal is to use the study results as basis for a future guideline.