Risers are a critical infrastructure point for any pipeline operator. Larger operators may have thousands of risers scattered across different states or provinces, often located in remote areas. Riser failure can mean costly repairs, fines, and downtime. Each riser needs to be inspected, maintained, and repaired, but manually monitoring thousands of individual risers can be difficult and costly.
TAQA North operates throughout North America and is one of the largest pipeline operators in Canada. With over 5,300 individual risers to be managed across a pipeline network stretching over 7,500 kilometers, the paperwork alone was overwhelming. Rob Allison is Asset Integrity Manager and Chief Inspector for TAQA. Under Allison’s leadership, in May 2021, TAQA transitioned to a dedicated field service management software solution called FIND.
“Prior to using FIND, we used an electronic archiving and review system,” Allison said. “Then we selectively performed the riser inspection based on coating condition, age and risk. It was a cumbersome and tiresome undertaking.”
“FIND has allowed us to visualize the health of the riser in real time and take appropriate action. FIND provided an organized and scalable means of managing the riser inspection program.”
FIND works by providing field workers with a mobile app that can be installed on any iOS/Android phone or tablet. Company assets are presented on a virtual map that can be filtered to show relevant assets, simplifying the user interface and helping employees identify each location.
For each specific activity – whether it’s riser inspection, valve maintenance or pigging – there is a unique, digital form called a workflow. Field workers fill out this form step-by-step and can even attach pictures or videos – very helpful in identifying errors or damage.
“Using FIND has allowed us to outsource inspection tasks to third-party contractors who were already on site doing other work,” Allison said.
“The workflow was easy and they were up and running in no time. Using FIND and a third party saves our employees from visiting remote locations that were not part of their operations.”
Using workflows, the exact location, date, worker name and other objective data are automatically filled in, eliminating user error. When the form is complete, it is automatically synchronized with the database.
“It also streamlines the inspection process. The digital forms can be completed in less than 30 seconds and save us significant data entry costs,” noted Allison. “I would recommend FIND to any company looking for a cost effective and scalable solution to manage their riser inspection program.”
Back in the office, the dates are plotted on a color-coded card, highlighting which risers need checking, which risers need servicing, and which risers have been recently inspected and found to be working well. For example, if a riser has not been inspected for over two years, it will be highlighted in red. This helps operators prioritize inspection activities by focusing on the most critical assets.
“The visual representation of promoters in FIND has been well received by operations and field managers. The ability to attach digital images to FIND that can be easily reviewed and edited by subject matter experts is a definite benefit,” Allison explained. “The saying that a picture is worth a thousand words applies to FIND.”
When a site requires inspection or maintenance, the manager can assign a site and task to a field worker right within the application. The app tracks how many inspections each employee has been assigned, how many they have completed, and how many issues have been identified with assets.
Automatic notifications can be easily set up and adjusted to individual needs. Operators can flag assets that require attention and flexible reports can detail what has been accomplished. Reports can be set to be automatically emailed to specified users on a regular basis, streamlining report generation.
“FIND has also helped us meet our regulatory obligations,” Allison said. “As part of a VRE reactivation assessment, we can easily locate and retrieve the data required for the application. With an inventory of over 4,000 promoters to manage, FIND has proven its value to the business.”
Using FIND, TAQA inspected more than 4,000 individual risers, approximately 80% of their total pipeline network, in the seven months from May 2021 to February 2022. By using FIND, TAQA has increased its productivity and reduced errors in its processes.
“The benefits of implementing FIND include reduced data collection and management costs, reduced operational risk, and improved regulatory compliance—FIND has reduced our data collection and management costs to $10 per site,” Allison said .
“Our inspection and field management teams are impressed with the app. Data entry is fast, intuitive and the app was a great time saver by eliminating paper copy management. Consistent document management has improved our workflow.”
To learn how Cenozon’s FIND can help you manage your riser inspections or your field operations, visit https://www.cenozon.com/solutions/pipeline-integrity/find/