Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
LEARNING THROUGH OTHER’S EXPERIENCES
It has always been the case that we try to gain from other people’s experiences, be they positive or negative. In industry, we do not always have the opportunity or the time to personally experience all aspects of a particular situation.
The execution of pipeline projects is no different. Few have the chance to take a project from proposal through all phases of engineering, procurement, construction and completion for commissioning representing either as the project developer or the executing engineer or constructor. Even fewer of those that have this somewhat unique experience have been through the process more than once. It is therefore important that those engineers and managers responsible for pipeline project execution broaden their knowledge via the experience of others.
Pre-commissioning is not just testing
Pipeline pre-commissioning is a relevant example. Thought of by most as being the ‘testing’ of the pipeline after the construction, it is actually so much more. The pre-commissioning activities are a check and acceptance that the installed pipeline has been completed to the required standard, they prove the pipeline capable of containing the transported fluid safely and they form the basis for the integrity management that will follow through the entire life of the pipeline.
The pre-commissioning considerations commence at the earliest stages of the project, and both impact and are impacted by the design. Trap configurations, bend radii and layouts of the pipeline ends for access all impact the pipeline’s pre-commissioning.
The pre-commissioning of offshore pipelines can be especially interesting with the potential complications due to weather, development schedules and market forces impacting availability of personnel, equipment and vessels.
As pre-commissioning is usually the last of the contracted development activities, the schedule is usually very tight as any project float has been previously used, the budget is under the most rigorous scrutiny by management and the majority of the project team have been demobilised or reassigned just when it is likely that a small problem or schedule delay can lead to a major problem such as missing the ‘pipeline available for commissioning’ date.
Only with careful planning and full knowledge of the requirements, potential pitfalls and positive mitigation plans can the pre-commissioning of the pipeline be executed successfully.
Training courses presented by experts with the hands-on experience of the various aspects of pipeline pre-commissioning are an important opportunity for interested engineers and managers to become more familiar with the subject and potentially save both time and money in the execution of their next pipeline project.
Published on behalf of William J. Atteridge, BSc in Civil Engineering. He is a Chartered Engineer, CEng, with the Engineering Council UK, a Chartered Marine Engineer, CMarEng, and a Member of the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology, MIMarEST.
He has over 40 years’ experience in project development, technical & planning studies, concept, FEED and detailed engineering design, construction supervision and engineering and project management within the onshore and offshore pipeline sector in oil & gas industries. He will be leading an upcoming training course, Subsea Pipeline Pre-Commissioning Operations Management. It is a 4-day training course held on 23-26 March 2020 (Kuala Lumpur).
This course will take delegates through the pre-commissioning activities, from the detail design issues related to testing, mechanical completion of the pipeline construction and the preparation activities. Key issues such as risk assessments, environment protection, licences/permits, safety training, logistics and interfaces will be addressed. Training will address pre-commissioning preparations, scopes of work and major issues will be interactive with the delegates.