Date of this Version
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS) in conjunction with the energy pipeline industry’s collaborative R&D program administered jointly by Pipeline Research Council International, Inc (PRCI) and the Gas Technology Institute (GTI) hosted the Joint Government and Industry Pipeline R&D Forum. The Forum brought together over 130 representatives from State, Federal and foreign government offices along with domestic and foreign natural gas and hazardous liquid pipeline operators. The Forum’s goals included identifying key challenges facing industry and government, sharing information on current research efforts, and identifying research that can help to meet the challenges.
The Forum was successful in identifying key challenges facing industry and government. The OPS, National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST), Association for Oil Pipelines, Interstate Natural Gas Association of America, American Gas Association, PRCI, and GTI identified the following as a few of the key technical challenges facing their organizations: ageing pipelines and facilities, limitations in the strength of pipe materials and their resistance to mechanical and chemical damage, limitations in existing techniques to locate steel and plastic pipe to avoid excavation damage, absence of proven techniques to remotely monitor right-of-ways, assessment of pipe segments that cannot be pigged, ability to detect small leaks, acceptability of inservice repair techniques, and limitations in the ability to evaluate the integrity of prime movers (e.g., pumps, compressors) to support preventive maintenance decisions. In addition to these technical challenges, speakers described several other institutional and communication-related challenges, including: the need for R&D expenditures to be viewed as useful by the full range of operator constituents, better communication of the value and impact of investments in pipeline R&D, managing the continuity of supply while maintaining predictable prices, and preserving and expanding the pool of experienced and expert people in the industry. Forum participants identified additional challenges in the technical track sessions. A list of these challenges is located in the Appendix.