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When it comes to identifying pipeline integrity risks, midstream operators today have more sensor technology to choose from than ever. When it’s time to analyze the resulting data, however, operators often fall back to tried and true tools such as Microsoft Excel. This typically involves comparing new and earlier test results on spreadsheets to find indications of a pressing threat. Now, however, operators have a new data analysis option, a solution that can help them capitalize on the full business value their pipeline inspections offer.

Cognitive Integrity Management™ (CIM) is a quick, efficient way of analyzing the tremendous volumes of data captured by ILI tools to identify imminent threats and code violations. Rather than having engineers spend hours filtering data in Excel—and correlating linear and orientation data sets—CIM normalizes the inspection tools’ findings. Then, guided by algorithms, the software analyzes the data and provides comprehensive insights on the health of operators’ assets. As a result, operators can better prioritize repairs and minimize the risk of unnecessary digs to repair or replace lines: digs that could result in costly interruptions to product flow.

Not only does using CIM help operators allocate expenditures more effectively, it opens the door to pipeline integrity program optimizations never before possible.

Regulatory Compliance

Staying on top of regulatory requirements can be challenging and time consuming. CIM can make it more manageable. The technology combs pipeline inspection data for more than 98 conditions that could interfere with compliance. There’s no limit to the amount of analysis the system can provide on that data: Operators can ask the CIM to consider as many factors as necessary to develop a complete picture of their assets’ health and integrity risks. CIM’s analysis includes interactive threats: co-existing conditions that, together, increase the potential for pipeline failure. Operators also have the option of requesting customized CIM reports to gain insights that will help them ensure compliance with new or complex pipeline regulations. Because CIM can be used to model likely anomaly growth, operators can take a more proactive approach to integrity management and better plan their dig programs. What’s more, when CIM alerts operators to a pipeline threat, it allows them to search their assets for the same condition, enabling a more effective approach to repairs.

By utilizing CIM, operators reduce the likelihood that they’ll miss an existing or potential regulatory violation. That, in turn, lessens the risk of costly work interruptions due to audits.

Company Efficiency

Operators have the option of making CIM accessible to all relevant departments within their company. As a result, they are better able to fully leverage CIM’s capacities. Because everyone is accessing the same data and analytics, there are fewer instances of miscommunications and duplicated efforts. Company leaders recommend and execute well-informed integrity management programs, based on a deep understanding of pipelines’ health and risks.

Peer Input and Shared Learning

Every time that CIM reviews operators’ data, from their day-to-day practices to pipeline conditions, the technology gains new criteria to consider the next time it analyzes data. This “shared learning” benefits every company that uses the CIM going forward, without disclosing any confidential details—or even the identities—of current or past users. Shared learning makes CIM analysis increasingly relevant to pipeline operators and helps them ensure effective pipeline integrity processes

Insight Reports

The end-result of the CIM analysis is an insight report with the technology’s analytics. Generating these reports can take months for people; the technology can generate them automatically and update them each time new data is ingested. Hundreds of reports are available, along with customized options. And as new report templates are created, they’re made available to all CIM users.

These CIM reports equip operators to make the best integrity management decisions for their assets. Operators can prioritize repairs and minimize the risk of unnecessary repair or replacement projects with the potential to cause costly interruptions to product flow.

Engineers, meanwhile, are freed from the time-consuming work of reading reports so they can concentrate on higher-value activities.

A Win-Win

CIM makes it possible for operators to capitalize fully on their pipeline inspection activities. With it, operators are better able to detect and prioritize the repair of existing threats, to catch growing anomalies before they lead to failure, and to minimize the costs and product-flow interruptions associated with unnecessary digs. In the end, CAPEX and OPEX resources are optimized, and operators more effectively protect their assets.