Case Study – Pipeline Integrity Management and API certification - Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E)

Pipeline integrity management and API certification We provided an independent assessment of the pipeline safety management system, reviewing the procedures and processes and providing additional recommendations on best practices. Case Study – Pipeline Integrity Management and API certification - Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E)

Maintaining and certifying the integrity of pipeline infrastructure

Client: Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E)
Location: Northern and central California
Asset type: Pipelines

Client Background

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States.

PG&E operates and maintains more than 6,750 miles of transmission pipelines and more than 40,000 miles of distribution pipeline. PG&E covers nearly half of California in its service area and is considered the second largest utility in the United States.

PG&E have worked hard to implement a robust safety management system to achieve their goal of becoming the 'Safest, Most Reliable, Gas Company in the United States'. To demonstrate their progress PG&E Gas Operations gained certification to two international asset safety standards, PAS 55 and ISO 55001, in May 2014. Both certifications were delivered by Lloyd's Register.

Business challenge for the customer

In July 2015, the American Petroleum Institute published the API RP 1173 Pipe Safety Management System standard. This standard is seen in the United States as class leading for pipeline operators to demonstrate their commitment to safe working practices. It gives operators a holistic framework to identify and address safety concerns for a pipeline system's entire lifecycle.

PG&E requested Lloyd's Register perform a gap analysis and compliance assessment against the requirements of American Petroleum Institute (API) Recommended Practice (RP) 1173, Pipeline Safety Management Systems, for PG&E Gas Operations. This included an in depth assessment of the Gas Transmission Integrity Management Program (TIMP) and Gas Distribution Integrity Management Program (DIMP) required by US federal regulations.

Lloyd's Register has a long standing relationship with PG&E and previously certified them to PAS 55 and ISO 55001, the international standards for asset management systems. API RP 1173 is similar to PAS55/ISO 55001 but has a stronger focus on pipeline management systems. Most of the elements of API RP 1173 had already been covered by our previous audits on PAS 55/ISO 55001 over the past five years.

How Lloyd's Register helped

Lloyd's Register provided an independent assessment of PG&E's pipeline safety management system. Our experienced team of engineers reviewed the procedures and processes PG&E has in place to manage their pipeline infrastructure, appraising what is done with the results of in-line inspections and direct assessments, what information is kept on the pipelines (e.g. materials, coatings, pipe wall thickness, welds, maintenance, etc.), and how the information is managed and kept "evergreen."

The independent review and expertise in pipeline management systems provided PG&E increased confidence in their DIMP and TIMP programs and in PG&E's pipeline safety management system. It also provided PG&E additional recommendations on best practices and areas of focus for continual improvement of their pipeline safety management program.

Expertise applied

  • Pipeline integrity management
  • Asset management services
  • Certification services (in line with ISO 55001 and API RP 1173)

Results

  • Assessed PG&E under API RP 1173
  • Found no major non-conformances for its network of pipelines
  • Confirmed PG&E's Pipeline Safety System complied with the requirements of API RP 1173. PG&E accomplishments that have improved their pipeline safety management program:
    • Completed a full center-line survey on all transmission pipelines
    • Introduced a transmission Geographical Information System (GIS) giving comprehensive asset information of all pipelines
    • Commissioned a new state-of-the-art Gas Control Room.

Benefits

  • Meets requirements of the API pipeline Safety Management System Standard – API RP 1173.
  • Applies a clear framework around PG&E's asset management system.
  • Meets the client objective of achieving world class safety.
  • Shows regulators that an independent assessment has been carried out on PG&E's pipeline safety management program and allows PG&E to provide assessment results to the regulator with confidence.

Customer testimonial

"We are committed to continually improving the safe operation of our pipeline infrastructure and enhancing our asset management program. The recognition and validation of compliance with the API standards by Lloyd's Register demonstrates that we are working in the right way and we are determined to make even more strides towards world-class safety performance,"
Nick Stavropoulos, PG&E President