Pipeline integrity management is a process for assessing and mitigating pipeline risk in order to reduce both the likelihood and consequences of incidents. The US Department of Transportation (DOT), having responsibility for ensuring the safe operation of the nation's pipeline transportation infrastructure, adopted federal integrity management regulations for both the hazardous liquid and the gas pipeline industries. Hazardous liquid pipeline integrity management rules went into effect in May 2001. The Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002 established regulations for gas pipeline integrity management in December 2002. Additionally, the State of Texas implemented pipeline integrity management rules for hazardous liquids and natural gas pipelines in February of 2002.
Enterprise Products Operating LLC (Enterprise Products) and its subsidiaries have a comprehensive pipeline integrity management program for maintaining the reliability and safety of its pipeline systems. Proper inspection and maintenance is critical to safe and reliable pipeline operations. All hazardous liquid and gas transmission pipelines located in High Consequence Areas are subject to ongoing inspections, in compliance with federal regulations, specifically 49 CFR Part 192 subpart O for gas pipelines, and 49 CFR Part 195.452 for hazardous liquids pipelines.
Pipeline inspection is accomplished using methods approved by the DOT such as special tools inserted into the pipeline, called "smart pigs", or through pressure testing the line to higher than normal operating pressures. Pipeline defects that would significantly impact safe pipeline operation are excavated and repaired in a timely manner. Emphasis is placed on maintaining public safety, minimizing environmental impact, and on minimizing customer outages. Some of the benefits derived from the implementation of an integrity management program include:
- Reducing consequences of accidents, serious injuries, and property damage.
- Avoiding unintentional releases.
- Avoiding the impact of unexpected supply interruptions.
- Providing increased assurance in pipeline safety.