One Tonne - Carbon Credit Markets

Integrity Management Inspections

In the context of pipeline operations, the term "integrity" means that a pipeline system maintains its structural integrity and does not leak or rupture. "Integrity management" encompasses the many activities pipeline operators must undertake to ensure that releases do not occur.
Recently-enacted IM regulations place new requirements on operators to provide assurance of safe pipeline operation in locations where a pipeline failure might have significant adverse consequences. These locations are referred to as High Consequence Areas, or HCAs.
Prior to the development of IM regulations and HCA-based decision-making, pipelines in remote and unpopulated areas received just as much scrutiny from operators and regulators as those running through heavily populated areas. Integrity management reflects common sense in protecting the public and in the spending of taxpayer dollars.
The IM rules require:
  • Periodic integrity assessment of pipelines that could affect HCAs. Integrity assessments are performed by in-line inspection (also referred to as "smart pigging"), hydrostatic pressure testing, or direct assessment. Through these assessment methods, potentially injurious pipeline defects that have the potential to eventually weaken the pipe, or even cause it to fail, are identified early on and can be repaired, thus improving the pipe's integrity.
  • Development and implementation of a set of safety management and analytical processes, collectively referred to as an integrity management program (IMP). The purpose of the program is to assure pipeline operators have systematic, rigorous, and documented processes in place to protect HCAs.
Integrity management inspections are comprehensive, and a team of inspectors is often used to conduct the inspection. For operators with significant pipeline mileage, integrity management inspections generally require two weeks.

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