• Ryan Crider

Handling High Consequence Areas

A high consequence area (HCA) is an environmental area which has a high likelihood of severe, and possible detrimental impact in the event that a failure of pipeline integrity management occurs. Pipeline integrity maintenance in high consequence areas is a challenging and complex issue to overcome. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) states that consequences of inadvertent oil and gas pipeline releases can differ greatly, depending on the location, as well as the commodity involved in the release. Adverse effects to human health and safety, along with environmental degradation and damage to personal or commercial property can result from pipeline releases.

PHMSA also notes that implementation and enforcement of pipeline safety regulations help to identify and protect high consequence areas. HCA regulatory laws can recognize specific areas in which a potential release could have the most significant adverse consequences. Once a high consequence ares has been identified, operators are then required to devote additional focus and effort surrounding the HCA. Performing an in-depth analysis of the HCA helps to ensure that the integrity of the pipeline is upheld.

In order to safely and confidently handle an issue arising in a high consequence area, a pipeline operator must develop a strong relationship with a partner or contractor who is highly competent, experienced, tenured and trustworthy. This partner must be able to handle HCA, high risk integrity digs in a safe and cost effective manner. The unintended consequences of performing any high risk integrity dig without a knowledgable partner adds unnecessary risk that must be avoided at all costs. The response time, resources required, HCA expertise, and safety records are all critical factors which should be used to identify a qualified contracting partner. It is imperative to find an experienced and comprehensive pipeline repair agency to ensure the safety of the pipeline, as well as effective coating removal, pipeline repair and replacement, timely flow assurance and maximum uptime. This can be accomplished by quickly deploying and installing the provider’s suite of proprietary repair solutions, enabling demobilization within a tight schedule.

At Dean, we have 27 years of expertise, as well as the right equipment required to make these type of repairs in HCAs, and reduce the risk associated with working in these high risk environments. We are centrally located along the southern coast to make the mobilization of this specialized equipment quick and seamless. Dean has a highly experienced staff with the knowledge required to access these areas of concern while also maintaining asset crew and safety throughout the entire process.

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