Systematising pipeline risk management

Australia’s largest gas pipeline network owner and operator, APA Group is responsible for more than $21 billion of energy assets across Australia.

Under Australian Standard AS2885, APA Group are required to conduct Safety Management Studies (SMS) on all pipelines to ensure compliance and that key management personnel are fully informed of the operational risks associated with the operating assets.

In 2018, APA Group started using Mipela’s X-Info SMS suite to automate this process. X-Info SMS suite is specifically designed to provide pipeline owners with a comprehensive system that can manage their tasks associated with the operation, maintenance, suspension of operation, decommissioning and abandonment along with all their proposed transmission pipeline asset projects AS2885 workflows, quality control and reporting. Where a threat is identified as “credible” and failure is possible, the risk must be managed to ALARP (As Low as Reasonably Possible). X-Info SMS suite guides participants through an Initial Risk Assessment workflow and Residual Risk Assessment to reach ALARP.

Since that first project, APA Group have completed 12 workshops for more than twenty pipelines using X-Info SMS suite. The design SMS workshop for the Western Outer Ring Main project (Victoria) was the latest to be undertaken. APA Group have also loaded over 300 pipeline assets into the SMS database in preparation for the next round of workshops.

“Using a proven methodology and sound system like X-Info SMS suite not only saves a considerable amount of time from study to study but the automated reporting and reminders are critical in managing any identified threats,” said Phill King, Manager Systems and Assurance at APA Group. “Being able to quickly reference and analyse the status of our threats enables us to also to better resource plan and minimise the risk for all,” King added.

Moving forward, the next steps in the APA SMS story is to plan and “flatten the curve” for the upcoming SMS reviews.

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