A 'general' way to a special management
Pipeline inspection technologies are a key component of GE Oil & Gas' offering to the energy sector. Rami Qasem, president & CEO for the global digital major's oil and gas division in the MENAT region, describes the company's pipeline integrity portfolio
How important is it to have efficient and cost-effective pipeline management?
Pipelines are one of the safest means of transporting large quantities of hydrocarbons from one location to another, whether on land or at sea. The importance of pipeline integrity cannot be overstated in today’s economic environment where the oil and gas industry stakeholders are focussing on enhancing operational efficiency.
Pipeline inspection technologies are a key component of our end-to-end solutions for the industry, and ensuring pipeline integrity is critical to improving risk management, and making quicker and faster decisions that maintain safety standards. The overarching goal for us in supporting our partners is to achieve zero pipeline failures. Having the ability to produce traceable, verifiable and complete records, to support the MAOP (Max Allowable Operating Pressure) on any system is therefore becoming essential. Regular inspections with the latest in-line inspection (ILI) tools help monitor for changes in the pipeline condition and provides data that helps the pipeline operator predict potential problems before they become real problems.
Could you explain GE Oil & Gas’ scope of work in the pipeline integrity space?
Together with our customers, our goal is no unplanned downtime. Our solutions drive efficiency and profitability for pipelines, gas storage terminals and distribution systems worldwide. We are particularly proud of PII Pipeline Solutions, our joint venture with Al Shaheen, which has inspected over 1 million kilometres of pipeline worldwide, over the last 35 years. PII’s advanced assessment techniques deliver customer focussed pipeline integrity services. Technological expertise, field experience, and advanced data management capabilities help our customers meet increasingly stringent regulatory requirements, and enhance the safety, productivity and life of their asset. Now, we have scaled to the next level with our Industrial Internet solutions – the launch of Pipeline Management, based on GE’s Predix software platform. Pipeline Management enables oil and gas pipeline operators increase visibility, safety, and efficiency throughout their systems.
Could you give me an idea of the companies GE Oil & Gas provides pipeline management and maintenance services to?
GE Oil & Gas is a ‘full stream’ company, working from exploration and production to downstream. We work with all majors in the industry – and we offer them the entire spectrum of our services, including our new Pipeline Management solutions. A great example of the integrated model of technology delivery is underlined in our contract with the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) – a partnership between BP, the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) and Turkey’s state-owned BOTA (Petroleum Pipeline Corporation).
Talk about a pipeline maintenance and management technology that GE Oil & Gas specialises in.
GE’s Asset Performance Management (APM) Pipeline offering includes making pipeline architecture intelligent, and focussing on data streams from valves, pumps and compressors, as well as the electronic monitoring equipment such as SCADA, metres and gauges. In addition to this, data on the structural integrity of pipelines derived from ILI and other monitoring systems can enable real time assessments of the system’s integrity.
Building analytics into a database housing all the data on a pipeline system, using both ‘in and on’ pipe data streams capturing changing variables such as climate and seismic events, supports pro-active rather than reactive management of the system. It thereby helps extract the maximum efficiency by providing the best possible through-put pressures to meet peak demand.
We can take a pipeline operator’s existing data and record and incorporate it into a comprehensive and secure GIS-linked database, providing a digital ‘record’ that interacts with existing systems and monitoring techniques. This can provide a gap analysis, benchmarking an operator’s systems and processes against industry best practice. Over time, more accurate and reliable data can be introduced from GE’s services and equipment to generate a ‘big data’ machine, that will continue to evolve and improve to help extend pipeline asset life.
How big a role does digitalisation/automation play in pipeline management and achieving asset integrity?
Digital industrial solutions are the future of pipeline management and help to give customers faster access to critical information, in order to help them make safer decisions to avoid failures and costly downtime. Our Asset Performance Management Pipeline Solution offers the software to build a database using ‘Predix’ to satisfy the Intelligent Pipeline vision. This could also include fibre optic data to detect leaks or intrusion into the pipeline right of way, and provide real time monitoring of the system’s integrity as well as operating performance efficiency.