In a report titled Flexible Pipe Integrity Management Guidance & Good Practice, Wood Group has published its findings from the Sureflex joint industry project, a global effort that began in 2015 to improve knowledge and understanding of flexible pipe integrity management by assessing inspection and monitoring tools and technologies. As part of the project, data regarding inspection, monitoring, degradation and integrity management practices was gathered and analyzed, global damage and failure statistics were updated, and industry guidelines on flexible pipe integrity management best practices were developed.
Key findings from the report include:
- Flexible pipe failure rates have been in decline since the mid-1990s, as technology and design has matured and application has expanded to more challenging environments
- Failure rates related to late-life assets such as corrosion and fatigue may still be an area of risk. Therefore, the guidelines call for continued vigilance of systems entering late-life phases using robust inspection and monitoring applications to support risk-based decision making.
“The Sureflex JIP is the largest of its kind focused on flexible pipe integrity management, involving input from more than 40 member and non-member organisations, and reflects the industry’s desire to focus on improving the understanding of integrity issues,” Ian MacLeod, asset integrity solutions engineering manager for Wood Group, said. “Flexible pipe systems are still a relatively young technology when compared to the operational experience of rigid pipeline systems and tend to be used in more complex applications. Although the majority of reported incidents are dominated by annulus flooding and sheath damage events, the overall damage and failure statistics presented in the report demonstrate the reliability of flexible pipe.”
The Sureflex joint industry project was supported by a group of 13 participants including major operators such as BP, Shell and Repsol Sinopec, flexible pipe manufacturers, and certification and regulatory bodies, including the UK’s Health & Safety Executive.