Last week, the American Petroleum Institute (API) and Association of Oil Pipelines (AOPL) participated in several key Pipeline Research Council International (PRCI) Fall Technical Committee meetings.  While API and AOPL are engaged in all areas of PRCI pipeline safety research, the Pipeline Safety Excellence Steering Committee (PSE SC) and Performance Excellence Team (PET) have made improving in-line inspection (ILI) capabilities the Strategic Initiative, so the week was spent participating with the PRCI Integrity and Inspection Technical Committee.  

This group is busy completing a significant number of projects to advance ILI, many of which are being conducted at PRCI’s pull-test facility in Houston.  In addition, there are significant efforts to improve non-destructive examination (NDE) testing, to further advance in-the-ditch inspections and enhance ILI analysis.  The Dent Fatigue and Mechanical Damage (DFMD) subgroup, under the API Pipeline Integrity Group (PLIG), also presented on research and initiative to develop dent assessment criteria.  PHMSA’s participation was important in further understanding API and AOPL comments raised around repair criteria in the pre-publication version of the hazardous liquids safety rule posted in January, but pulled back during the regulatory freeze.  A little more research is still needed to support new dent assessment criteria, but the DFMD subgroup is hoping to compile in an API Technical Report next year to allow all operators to benefit.
Additionally, several API-AOPL R&D Work Group members traveled to Germany to visit with ILI vendors in hopes of strengthening collaboration between pipeline operators and vendors.  A particular focus of this effort is to share and effectively analyze critical inspection data, and ultimately improve pipeline safety through prevention of injurious anomalies.  The week was spent framing possible paths forward, recognizing that significant work remains.  The R&D Work Group aims to build upon this initial engagement through contact with other ILI vendors and stakeholders in hopes of furthering progress on a fully integrated sharing approach that supports the industry’s strategic priority of continuous improvement of ILI capabilities.  

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