This week’s Pipeliners Podcast episode features first-time guest Michael Stackhouse discussing crack management as part of an integrity management program.
In this episode, you will learn about the history of crack assessment, how to understand the nature of cracks and then developing the appropriate response, how to manage assets so that cracks don’t become a problem, and how to address the complex aspects of integrity management to ensure pipeline safety.
Pipeline Crack Management: Show Notes, Links, and Insider Terms
- Michael Stackhouse is a leader of Asset Integrity for Phillips 66. Connect with Michael on LinkedIn.
- Phillips 66 is a diversified energy manufacturing and logistics company with more than 140 years of experience supporting global energy needs.
- Integrity Management (Pipeline Integrity Management) is a systematic approach to operate and manage pipelines in a safe manner that complies with PHMSA regulations.
- Cracks in pipeline inspection refer to breaks, splits, flaws, or deformities in the surface of a pipe. Inline inspection tools are used to evaluate the severity of the crack.
- Corrosion in pipeline inspection refers to a type of metal loss anomaly that could indicate the deterioration of a pipe. Inline inspection techniques are used to evaluate the severity of corrosion.
- ILI (Inline Inspection) is a method to assess the integrity and condition of a pipe by determining the existence of cracks, deformities, or other structural issues that could cause a leak.
- Wet-Dry Cycling in pipelines refers to changes to the integrity of the pipeline when exposed to certain conditions that cause corrosion.
- Vetco supplies products, systems, and services for onshore and offshore drilling and production, project management, engineering, procurement and construction services, process systems and equipment, maintenance, modification, and operations.
- Pipetronix supports pipeline integrity assessment, as well as pipeline construction, pipeline pigging, pipeline repairs using strongback composite system and clockspring, pumping, hydro testing, valve maintenance and change out, tank cleaning and inspection, pipeline cleaning, pipeline de-scaling, and de-waxing, and commissioning and decommissioning of pipeline.
- Koch Industries is an American multinational corporation based in Wichita, Kansas. Its subsidiaries are involved in the manufacturing, refining, and distribution of petroleum, chemicals, energy, fiber, intermediates and polymers, minerals, fertilizers, pulp and paper, chemical technology equipment, ranching, finance, commodities trading, and investing.
- API (American Petroleum Institute) is the only national trade association representing all facets of the oil and natural gas industry, which supports 10.3 million U.S. jobs and nearly 8 percent of the U.S. economy.
- API 1176 is a recommended practice developed and published by API that provides pipeline operators with best practices in the integrity management of cracks and threats that give rise to cracking mechanisms.
- AOPL (Association of Oil Pipe Lines) promotes responsible policies, safety excellence, and public support for liquids pipelines.
- PRCI (Pipeline Research Council International) is a community of the world’s leading pipeline companies, vendors, service providers, equipment manufacturers, and other organizations supporting the oil and gas industry.
- Cliff Johnson is the president of the Pipeline Research Council International (PRCI). Connect with Mr. Johnson on LinkedIn.
- Listen to Pipeliners Podcast episode 54 with Cliff Johnson on how the PRCI has developed a data hub to store information from across the pipeline industry.
- Cliff Johnson is the president of the Pipeline Research Council International (PRCI). Connect with Mr. Johnson on LinkedIn.
- ERW (Electrical Resistance Welding) is a welding process where metal parts in contact are permanently joined by heating them with an electric current, melting the metal at the joint.
- NDE (Non-Destructive Evaluation) employs sensor and imaging technology to assess the condition of components, plant, and engineering structures of all kinds during manufacture and in-service.
- Ultrasonic Testing (UT) is a type of non-destructive test (NDT) that uses ultrasonic waves in the test area.
- Ultrasonic Shear Wave is an ultrasonic testing technique used for weld inspections. An ultrasonic transducer introduces an ultrasonic beam into the test area to detect discontinuities in the weld based on the refraction of the ultrasonic beam.
- EMAT (Electromagnetic Acoustical Transducers) is an ultrasonic testing technique that generates sound into the inspected part instead of the transducer.
Pipeline Crack Management: Full Episode Transcript
Russel Treat: Welcome to the Pipeliners Podcast, episode 124, sponsored by Satelytics, a cloud-based geospatial analytics solution processing multi and hyperspectral imagery from satellites, aircraft, drones, and fixed cameras to lower the cost and improve the timeliness of identifying leaks, encroachment, ground movement, and other pipeliner concerns. To learn more about Satelytics, visit satelytics.com.
Announcer: The Pipeliners Podcast, where professionals, Bubba geeks, and industry insiders share their knowledge and experience about technology, projects, and pipeline operations. Now your host, Russel Treat.
Russel: Thanks for listening to the Pipeliners Podcast. I appreciate you taking the time. To show that appreciation, we give away a customized YETI tumbler to one listener each episode. This week, our winner is Jody Lambright with Valero. Congratulations, Jody, your YETI is on its way. To learn how you can win this prize pack, stick around until the end of the episode.
This week, we’re very fortunate. I have Michael Stackhouse join us. Michael’s been involved in integrity management for many years and he’s coming to the Pipeliners Podcast to help me get educated about crack management as a part of an integrity management program. Michael, welcome to the Pipeliners Podcast.
Michael Stackhouse: Thank you very much.
Russel: If you would, as we’re getting kicked off here, why don’t you tell us a little bit about your background, how you got into pipeline integrity management, who you work for, all that kind of good stuff.
Michael: Yes, sir, thank you. I’ve been in the asset integrity world since 1985. It’s been 35 years. I started out on the ILI vendor side. I worked for Vetco and Pipetronix. Shortly after Pipetronix, I had an operator contact me and ask me to join their integrity engineering field, and that was Koch Industries.
After working on the ILI vendor side, I helped Koch Industries develop their digging and assessment criterias, their digging assessment procedures, and then I joined them in 1998.
Ever since, I’ve been on the operator side. I currently work for Phillips 66 as an Asset Integrity Manager. I’ve been there for about four years now, back home here in Houston.
Russel: Awesome. If you’re in Houston…We were talking about this before we got on the mic. We’re all working from home these days. I’m sure that’s quite the adventure, trying to do integrity management from the house.
Michael: [laughs] Yeah, it definitely is. I think we’re all trying to live through this new norm. I’ll tell you what, the remote working has been pretty easy.
In fact, I think we’re all getting a little more out of each other with remote working. I think we’re all also selecting our meetings a little bit smarter, maybe a bit more efficiently. We’re getting on those meetings and getting off those meetings a little quicker. I think we’re all doing a little bit more work than what I thought we would.
Russel: Yeah, I think that’s probably true enough. I’m certainly seeing that in my work. Although, it is becoming a little bit like groundhog day. Every day is kind of the same. It’s a little strange.
The other thing that’s a little strange, I can’t remember how long it’s been since I went an entire first quarter of the year and didn’t make a single business trip.
Michael: [laughs] You’re so right. The other thing that’s interesting is I wear socks very little now.
Russel: Somebody asked me earlier today on a call, who’s keeping their COVID-19 beard after the crisis? My comment to that was, the jury’s out. So far my wife is not a fan.
Anyways, look, I asked you to come on to talk about cracks and crack management, because there’s a lot of stuff going on around cracks. You’ve been at this a long time. Maybe you can talk a little bit about the history of crack assessment, and how that has evolved since you first started in the business.
Michael: First of all, the knowledge of cracks has evolved. I think that’s the most critical piece of this. The sharing of the information as an industry is another huge, big evolution. Let me start with the knowledge piece.
As we were having failures as an industry, and as we start sharing those failures, the industry gets a little smarter. Over the past, I would say, 10 years, the operators are sharing that information so much more readily and available to the rest of us. I think that’s hugely helped the industry.
When I first started, I don’t think the operators talked that much at all. Now, we’re all on these industry calls together. We’re on API, AOPL, PRCI. We talk almost on a monthly basis now as an industry through these different committees, committee meetings, and other sharing events.
I think that’s been huge because we’re talking a lot more. Through the talking, we’re getting to know how we manage cracks internally and how we should be managing them as an industry. How we should be getting together as an industry, tackling the crack management together instead of siloed through an individual operator.
Russel: This is so core to pipeline safety. It’s so direct line of sight between safe operations and incidents, right, when you start talking about integrity management.
One of the things I think, and I asked this question, in my experience when I meet with somebody who’s another expert in the field that I’m an expert in, and we start having a conversation, oftentimes there’s 80 or 90 percent or even more agreement about issues and responses and all that sort of thing.
In that other 5 or 10 percent, there’s almost always one or two things that to the uneducated ear might be insignificant, but to the educated ear make all the difference in the world.
That collaboration, that information sharing, is extremely critical. It’s the way we move from 99.997 to 99.9999 in terms of safety effectiveness.
Michael: Yeah, you’re exactly right. Pipeline safety is not a competitive advantage amongst our industry. We should be sharing that information. I think that was a key turnaround for our industry was to work together.
I’ll give you another example. The ILI industry has always pushed their specifications on the operators. Currently, the operators are getting together and saying, “Well, we’re the customer. We’re the end user. What do we need? What do we want?”
We’re actually having a different dialogue with the ILI vendors today on where the crack management and the crack ILI tools ought to go. Instead of them telling us what their specifications are, we’re telling them what our specifications should be. We’re waiting for them to meet those specifications now.
Russel: Yeah, so now instead of the vendors driving industry, industry is driving the vendors.
Michael: Right, but it’s more of a partnership now. It’s not really us driving them. It’s us working with them to get them where we all know we ought to be.
Russel: You start out talking about knowledge, and then I think the other thing you talked about was collaboration. We’ve talked about this a little bit, but what’s evolved historically around that?
Michael: Well, the first thing we did is API put together a survey on cracks. We did this early on in 2015, I think. What we learned was we were managing cracks differently. That quickly got us all to an understanding that we probably ought to put together some specifications or some standards around crack management so we were doing it the same.
In 2016, all of our sponsors at API pushed us to come up with a recommended practice. We did develop and publish recommended practice on crack management — and it’s API 1176 — and we got that published in 2016. That’s one area where we pushed as an industry.
The other thing is through PRCI. We’ve put together strategic initiatives around crack management through PRCI.
Russel: We’ve had Cliff Johnson with PRCI on. It’s been quite some time. Maybe you could tell everybody a little bit about what is PRCI.
Michael: PRCI is a group. It’s an international committee, where we all put our funding in order to drive research, as an industry. All of us put a little bit of funding into a big pool, and then through our governance of PRCI — it’s Pipeline Research Council International — we fund different research.
Currently, what we have going on is we’re all funding a crack management strategic initiative through PRCI to better the industry around crack management and ILI capabilities.
Russel: I want to ask a question about crack management and why the focus on crack management. 2015, in the context of the evolution of pipeline safety, is pretty current, right?
Russel: What is it about crack and crack management that requires some special focus, if you will?
Michael: It’s a unique defect in our pipe that is challenging to manage. What we learned was you need other people’s thoughts and knowledge around it through their experiences and their failures. If you combine all the failures and failure reports, you can learn a ton together.
Each one of us may have had our own issues, but when you can put all the issues together, you learn a lot more, and you can share a lot more. That’s how the 1176 was put together. It was put together through the thoughts, ideas, and issues that we’ve all had individually, compiled together for us to put together the standard.
Russel: The other things you look at in ILI, and I’m very, very far from an expert in ILI. I know enough about it to talk about it and be a little dangerous. I would say that ILI has come along from a geometry and corrosion inspection place and has evolved into more advanced things like cracks. Would that be true?
Michael: Yes, sir, it is. The ILI technologies themselves have come a long ways, and they continue to get better, as a technology, on a daily basis. ILI is only a piece of the crack management.
The other things that we’ve learned through putting together everybody’s thoughts and everybody’s learnings around the failures was you have to know a lot about the material properties of the pipe.
You have to know a lot about the toughness of the pipe and the pipe body and the bond line of the seams. You have to know a lot about how you’re operating the pipe. A huge piece of crack management, truthfully, is how you operate the pipe, especially for liquid operators.
One of the key preventive mitigating measures for crack management is limit your pressure cycles. Limit the intensity and the frequency of your pressure cycles.
Russel: That makes so much sense to me. I think most people in the pipeline world would explain this, but I have at least one listener that knows nothing about pipelining. Again, I’m going to call out my wife. [laughs] The way to think about this is, if you’re familiar with a coat hanger, you grab it and you start bending it, eventually, if you bend it enough, it’ll break apart.
It’s the same thing with a pressure cycle. I put pressure on it, I expand the pipe. I take the pressure off, and it contracts. As I do that, over time, it becomes too much at some point is what we’re getting at.
Michael: What we’re dealing with is, for the seam defects, a manufacturing flaw that by itself is benign. Through the way you operate the asset, it cycles to a defect, to a crack. That crack grows over time. You’re right. It is like a coat hanger or even a paper clip. You bend a paper clip once, nothing happens. At a certain point, the frequency will get to you, and it will break at a certain point.
That’s what we’re learning, is how do you manage the asset differently so that you aren’t taking these benign hook crack mill defects and growing them out or cracking them out.
Russel: Unpack for me a little bit. What is a manufactured hook crack defect?
Michael: It was a defect that was developed through the manufacturing process of a certain type of ERW seam. There’s quite a few different types.
Russel: You’re going to have to give me the acronym, please. ERW?
Michael: Sorry. Electrical resistant welding, and then you had some flash welding. Some of those, through the process of how they manufacture them, introduced little mill defects inherently in them that, over time, will crack out based on how you’re operating them.
You have pipe body cracks, which are generally stress corrosion cracking. You have others, like in the seams, that are developed from manufacturing defects that hook and crack out based on how you’re operating them or based on how you’re cycling.
Russel: That goes to how the pipe’s originally manufactured, right?
Michael: Yes, sir.
Russel: Again, that’s something I know very little about, but I would assume that the way you make pipeline is you start out with, obviously, raw metal. You’re going to work that into sheets, and then you’re going to roll it and get it to come together.
Michael: That’s exactly right. The seams are when you roll that together and then bond the seams together. In the early manufacturing, sometimes those bonds weren’t as strong as we would like them to be today. Through the years, 1980 and beyond, they were a lot stronger bonds in those seams. The pipes are good, it’s just, through the way we’re operating them, we were making them a little weaker.
Russel: It’s like anything that’s mechanical. If I run it long enough, it’s eventually going to wear out.
Michael: That’s exactly right.
Russel: The flip side of that is the better I take care of it, the longer I’m going to be able to run it and run it reliably.
Michael: Right, and you can change the way you operate it to extend the life of them.
Russel: If I use an automobile analogy, if I change the oil frequently, if I don’t brake real hard all the time, if I don’t accelerate real hard all the time, I’m going to get more mileage out of my car. That’s why everybody wants to buy a car from the grandma and not from the 16 year old.
Michael: [laughs] That’s a good way to put it.
Russel: [laughs] What I try to do to integrate this stuff into my thinking is I try to come up with these analogies, and it helps. I realize that analogies are often flawed or limited, but it helps me understand and incorporate it into my understanding about how all this stuff works.
Michael: We talked about inline inspection tools. We talked about pressure cycle management. We’ve also gotten a lot better with data integration, combining all the data that you have to fingerprint scenarios that may be indicative of cracks or where to predict where you might have issues.
Targeting data integration, combining all of your inline inspections with your flood protection, with your coatings, with your wet dry cycling, you can do a lot of data integration to help out as well. We’ve learned a ton there.
Russel: That actually is probably a whole conversation just on its own, this idea of data integration. The amount of data that you deal with to do analysis for integrity management, it’s mind-boggling.
Michael: It really is. Even if we just talk about pressure cycle management, the amount of data you have on all your pressure sensors and your pressure data from the control center is massive.
Distilling that down to, what is a cycle, how much is it cycling, what’s the frequency of cycling, is pretty mind-boggling, too. We’ve gotten a lot better to where you can monitor that a lot more often.
Russel: It’s one thing to think about it at the pressure instruments. The other part of this is that the pressure instruments are often separated by miles, if not tens of miles, and I really want to know pressure that happened on each string of pipe.
Michael: That’s exactly right.
Russel: Now I’ve got to take those pressure transmitter numbers and combine that with, what was the density of the fluid that’s in the pipe, and do some hydraulic calculations and figure out, what was the pressure cycle on that piece of pipe?
That additional data creation, it’s many fold, an order of magnitude even, more data than what you’ve just got in the control room.
Michael: That’s exactly right, and then the learnings and the collaboration as an industry, we’ve all gotten a lot better with that.
The other thing we’ve gotten better at is validating our inline inspection tools. If we go back to that a little bit, we’ve learned that you have to take ownership in that information and you have to validate each bucket of defects within those tools to understand the overall accuracy of the inline inspection tools.
We’ve gotten a lot better at that. We’ve all, as an industry, done a ton more digs. With that information, we can learn and share, as an industry, how good the tools are. How do you build response protocols off of the inline inspection data in order to help manage cracks as well?
Russel: Again, it’s mind-boggling. If I might shift this a little bit, I want to talk a little bit more about the industry collaboration. Certainly, collaborating between the operators and the vendors, most people probably have some familiarity with how that works. Even if they’re not in integrity management, they know how that works in other disciplines around pipelining.
Same kind of comment in terms of collaborating within the various operators, same kind of comment there. One of the things I want to ask you about is what about collaborating within the various departments inside the operator itself, like between the control room, the hydraulic engineering, and the integrity management? What have you seen evolve there? Where is that headed?
Michael: That’s a good comment. Through this cycle management alone, from a liquid operator side, we’ve had to collaborate integrity, operations, control center, and scheduling.
Russel: I didn’t even think about scheduling, but it makes perfect sense.
Michael: In order to bring your cycles down, to manage your cycles as an operator, you have to talk to who’s operating the asset, who’s controlling it, and who’s scheduling it.
What we learned real quickly was we’re all following suit to the schedule, but the schedule sometimes is what’s causing the cycles. If you just talk to the scheduler, they can schedule the asset a hair differently to bring those cycles down.
Typically, what we learned was there’s a lot of low hanging fruit just to get them in the same room to try to bring the information to their level to where they can understand what you’re talking about. Sometimes, integrity people talk a little differently than the controllers or talk a little differently than schedulers. They try to get the information…
Russel: It’s even worse than that I think, Michael. I think sometimes we use the same language to say different things. I’m very serious about that.
I can use a lot of examples in my domain around automation, controls, communication, and all that. If I talk to a field automation guy and a measurement guy, I can use the same words, but they mean very different things in the specific technical details between the two parties that you’re asking.
Michael: That’s a great point.
Russel: A lot of times, those conversations, on the surface, you think you’re communicating, but when you unpack it, you’re not. It’s actually worse than, “I don’t understand.” It’s, “I think I understand, but I don’t understand.”
Michael: You’re exactly right. It takes several meetings to get on the same page prior to being able to work on a specific project to lower cycles.
Russel: Right, and it might be as simple as something like, instead of putting heavy product and light product back to back, I’m just going to move things around so that I don’t cycle as quickly or as often.
Michael: You’re exactly right. Even in between batches, you have a head pressure, which is a cycle. That’s a really good way to put it.
We did. We had to get all four groups together. We had to get the data to where we all understood it. Real quick, we learned that we were all doing things against each other.
I’ll give you another example, too, energy management. We’re trying to be more efficient in how we manage the energy consumption, but sometimes that creates cycles. We had to bring that to the table as well to where we weren’t all working against each other.
Russel: Said a different way, everybody, every department’s doing their best to optimize their part of the business. One of the things that you’re pointing out here in the discovery is that when everybody’s optimizing their piece, they can be de-optimizing the system.
Michael: Or de-optimizing one of the other groups.
Michael: That’s a good way to put it.
Russel: It really is a team effort.
Michael: It totally is. You’re right about the collaboration, the communication, learning different avenues to communicate. We all work for the same team, but you don’t usually get together that often. Putting those building blocks in place, going to their staff meetings and talking to them helped out a ton.
Russel: It’s a hard, hard discipline to implement and maintain.
Michael: Yes, sir.
Russel: It doesn’t take very long, and you start getting back into this place of, “Oh, well I know what those guys need. I’ll just do my stuff.” It’s just tough. Each of us in our own disciplines, we’ve got a full-time job and probably more so. I don’t hire anybody until I need two people.
We all have more than we can do, right? It’s just part of it.
Michael: Yeah, definitely.
Russel: Earlier, you were talking about some of the organizations. You talked about API, and we’ve talked a little bit about liquids. How is this different for the gas operators?
Michael: The gas operators don’t have the cycling issues that the liquid operators have, but they do have their challenges. For one, you don’t have a liquid in the pipe to couple the ultrasound signal that is generally used on the liquid operator side for managing cracks. It’s harder to get an ultrasonic tool through a gas line.
Typically, most of us are using ultrasonic shear wave as an ILI to find, manage, and remediate our cracks. It’s hard to do that in a gas line, so recently, the industry’s come up with EMAT technology.
That’s electromagnetic acoustical transducers that can be run in the pipe to find cracks without a medium, without the liquid.
They don’t have the pressure cycles. They don’t typically have the seam issues that the liquid operators have, but they do have stress, corrosion, and cracking issues that they’re having to deal with just like the liquid operators as well. The hard part is they don’t have as many tools in their toolbox to manage that. They have the EMAT.
On the liquid side, the shear wave crack ultrasonics is the go-to for us, so we haven’t run that much EMAT. The gas guys are starting to run a lot more EMAT. What would be interesting is start blending those together. That might be some of the evolution that you see later on or that we grow into, some more of that data integration between technologies.
Russel: I think that you’re absolutely right. I think you’re going to see a couple of things. Certainly, we’re going to see new technologies, new instrumentation packages, and new ways of getting this data. I think the other thing you’re going to see is that we’re going to see interesting combinations of instrumentation on a tool because there’s value in gathering all that data together.
Even though I don’t necessarily know exactly where it is on the pipe, I know pretty much where it is on the pipe relative to other things, versus separate tool runs and trying to get things overlaid the right way.
Michael: Yes, sir.
Russel: I think you’re going to see a lot more interest in, how do I pull this all together in a way that I can actually understand what this data means? How do I get this data into a context that I can look at it and have it be a resource for decision making around where do I dig, and where do I mitigate?
Michael: Yes, sir. I think you’re exactly right. Speaking of that technology, there’s a whole ‘nother piece to this that we haven’t talked about. That’s the validation part. When you do your excavation, you bring out a whole ‘nother technology base in the ditch to validate where those cracks are because you can’t see them with the naked eye.
You’re bringing in NDE in the ditch.
Russel: Non-destructive inspection.
Michael: Yes sir, exactly.
Russel: Handheld stuff, so that I can know I am looking exact on this particular segment between this well and this well. I’m right here.
Michael: That’s exactly right. We’ve seen some big challenges with the quality of in the ditch inspections. We’re having to tackle the in line inspection quality, but we’re also having to tackle the in the ditch NDE quality as well.
Russel: What kind of things are problems in the ditch?
Michael: You’re typically dealing with thinner wall and a round pipe. Most the technologies that have come up through the industry have been on flat plate or thicker asset bases, like an inch thick or even greater.
Now we’re parsing that down to a quarter inch wall, and it’s on an eight inch pipe that’s round, and it is a lot more challenging to find defects with using ultrasonics from the outside of the pipe.
Russel: Most of the handheld equipment is designed to be set on top of a plate and look down.
Michael: Yes, sir.
Russel: Versus set underneath a round piece of metal and look up, for example.
Michael: That’s a good way to put it. Most of the qualifications that have come up through the industry have been on that thicker plate. We’ve learned that we need to have tighter specifications and tighter verifications or qualifications on thinner metal and round metal.
We’ve been putting that in place. We have another initiative through API where we’re pushing the industry to use our samples to validate qualifications of pipeline defects. Can the technicians find pipeline defects?
Russel: Oh, wow. That sounds like a PRCI project right there.
Michael: Well, it…
Russel: It’d be like the ditch inspector’s rodeo right there. Set up a whole bunch of different pipes, put them all in a ditch, fill them all half full with water, and see who can find the defects.
Michael: That’s exactly right. That’s what we’ve been doing. We’ve been all taking samples and storing them at the Technology Development Center at PRCI. We’re inviting the NDE companies to validate their qualifications on pipeline defects.
Russel: Yeah. That right there is a very interesting subject itself about how that all works and such. To me, that gets really, really interesting because there’s a lot of complexities for that as a vendor, right? There’s a lot of risk in doing those kind of things.
Michael: Yeah, definitely. What we learned recently was we started meeting with the product owners. They have a stake in the game with how their tools perform. You meet with the provider of the technology in the ditch, and they’re usually service providers, and they have their own qualifications.
We have our standards as operators. How do you blend all of that together and get on a common ground to improve the industry?
Russel: The guys that are making the tools are making those tools for multiple service providers, and the service providers are providing those services for multiple operators.
Michael: Yes, sir.
Russel: The operators all have their own unique requirements, given their program and their pipe and their operations.
Again, there’s a whole ‘nother conversation there. It does point out — when you start talking about pipeline safety management and these programs and such — it does point out why it’s so important to get to industry standards in some consistency, because that’s the only way we as an industry are really going to move the needle to four 9s.
Michael: You’re exactly right. I hope you see, based on our conversation today, how massive crack management is.
Russel: Michael, this is one of the reasons I wanted to get you on to talk. Just in some of my work, I’ve been exposed on the peripheries of some of the things around crack management. Frankly, I didn’t understand the complexities. This has been very helpful for me.
I’m going to do something I occasionally do. I try to come up with a couple of key takeaways.
I think that one of my key takeaways is that it’s really not about finding cracks — because all pipelines have cracks — it’s understanding the nature of the cracks you have, and how to manage your assets so that the cracks you have don’t become a problem. That’s my first takeaway.
My second takeaway is that’s extraordinarily complex, and it’s a lot more than just what the integrity management folks do.
How did I do? Would you say that’s a good summary of our last 30 minutes of chatting here?
Michael: [laughs] I think it is. Something you said on that last point is we typically go to the integrity people to save us from the cracks, but the cracks are a lot bigger than just integrity.
Russel: Exactly, right.
Michael: Good points.
Russel: Cool. Michael, look, thanks so much for being our guest. I think we’d like to have you back and maybe unpack some of these other subjects. We’ll work with you to get that schedule.
Michael: That sounds great. Thank you for your time.
Russel: I hope you enjoyed this week’s episode of the Pipeliners Podcast and our conversation with Michael Stackhouse. Just a reminder before you go, you should register to win our customized Pipeliners Podcast Yeti tumbler. Simply visit pipelinerspodcast.com/win to enter yourself in the drawing.
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