Asset integrity at Plains consists of a variety of programs and processes associated with maintenance and operational assurance of our pipelines, processing and fractionation plants, storage tanks and caverns. Maintaining the integrity of our assets is a priority and our responsibility as a safe operator. Our Integrity Management Plan is comprised of ongoing inspection and maintenance activities that verify the safety and integrity of our pipeline systems.
In-line inspections (ILI) help proactively identify and address possible pipeline integrity issues before performance is compromised.
When an ILI detects inconsistencies that meet certain criteria, we perform an integrity dig.
Hydrostatic pressure testing uses water to help ensure integrity prior to a pipeline being placed into service or to assess an existing pipeline.
Other maintenance processes include internal and external corrosion control, regular aerial surveillance, right-of-way clearing and waterway crossing inspections.
Our Facility Integrity Management program includes evaluations, inspections and risk-based analyses related to the maintenance and replacement of equipment to keep our facilities operating safely.
Our Pressure Equipment Integrity Management System also falls within the umbrella of facility integrity. This program strives to meet or exceed regulatory requirements for pressure equipment, tank and piping inspections. In 2020, the Alberta Boilers Safety Association concluded an audit on our Canadian Pressure Equipment Integrity Management program, extending the program for three years.
Our Process Safety Management (PSM) program focuses on prevention, preparedness, mitigation and response measures associated with process safety incidents. Effective implementation of PSM practices can enhance facility safety by reducing the frequency and severity of incidents, such as potential product releases. An important feature of the PSM program is the Process Hazard Analysis (PHA), which is a system to identify and analyze the significance of potential hazards associated with the processing or handling of petroleum products. Plains completes PHAs for required facilities on a five-year rotational basis. Various scenarios are considered, and any necessary safeguards are put in place to mitigate risks.
Integrity Training and Industry Participation
Integrity management personnel participate in a training and qualification program to stay abreast of the latest technologies and integrity management methods through involvement with multiple industry groups, including the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Petroleum Institute (API). Plains representatives have also been involved in the creation or updating of API Recommended Practices relating to in-line inspection systems qualification, assessment and management of pipeline dents and pipeline facility integrity management.
In Canada, we have been involved in developing several industry standards through the Canadian Standards Association (CSA). Our Asset Integrity and Process Safety Management teams are actively involved in technical committees including CSA Z341 (storage of hydrocarbons in underground formations), CSA Z662 (oil and gas pipeline systems) and CSA Z260 (pipeline system safety metrics).
For more information on pipeline safety, please review the following resources: