Pipeline Management 4.0 – A New Paradigm for Pipeline Safety and Profitability

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Pipeline Management 4.0 – A New Paradigm for Pipeline Safety and Profitability

Thu, 02/15/2018 - 08:08
HIMA Paul Hildebrandt
HIMA Paul Hildebrandt

Pipelines are the most economic and secure transport systems for oil, gas, and other products. But they can rupture, leak, or be damaged or destroyed by improper operation, theft, cyberattacks, terrorism or sabotage. Every day, many millions of tons of liquids and gases are transported via overland pipelines or pipelines within facilities. As a means of conveying masses of material, pipelines must fulfill strict safety, cybersecurity availability, and environmental requirements.

One particular pipeline hazard is leakage. If a leak occurs, it needs to be detected and located as quickly as possible – especially if the pipeline is transporting fluids or gases that can contaminate water or are toxic or flammable. The quicker that countermeasures are initiated, the less severe the damages caused by the leak. Damage to a pipeline can have various causes. The consequences and cleanup of damages caused by pipeline leakages can cost the operator huge sums of money – not to mention the potential harm to people, the environment, and reputation. On the one hand, costs arise according to the value of the product that is leaking from the pipeline. The later a leak is discovered, the more money is lost in this way. But, in many cases, the costs arising from the subsequent cleanup and fines are many times higher than those caused by the loss of materials. Rapid leak detection can significantly reduce these costs.

To help companies run their pipelines safely and cybersecure, HIMA combined software and hardware to create a unique solution for pipelines. HIMA calls it a hybrid solution. It is the combination of an emergency shutdown system and a leak detection system. The new integrated hybrid solution for pipeline management offers pipeline operators considerable benefits. It complies with current and upcoming global safety standards according to SIL 3. It ensures maximum functional safety and extremely high reliability by automatically shutting down any affected areas during critical situations. And it offers maximum cybersecurity. As a result, it cuts the operating costs of pipelines, significantly reduces false alarms, and increases the profitability of installations. At the same time, the closed HIMA system with integrated cybersecurity provides a strong line of defense against cyberattacks.

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