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Whitepaper: Pipeline transportation of hazardous materials – an updated quantitative risk assessment methodology

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Developments in QRA methodology for pipeline transportation of hazardous materials

Pipeline transportation of hazardous materials is increasing globally while major accidents involving pipelines continue to occur. This whitepaper demonstrates how developments in QRA methodologies provide analysts with the tools necessary to perform rigorous assessment and management of pipeline risks, taking more accurate account of accidental breaches and presenting a more realistic assessment of major accident risks stemming from transportation of hazardous materials.

The methodology includes automatic loss of containment case generation based on pipeline construction, topography and operating parameters. The geometrical nature of pipelines and their associated risk footprint relating to people, surrounding assets and the environment are often long and relatively narrow. Creation of risk contours around such geometries requires use of high aspect ratio grids. The calculation algorithm required for high aspect ratio hazard and risk zones is a challenge to traditional risk contour based risk assessment techniques for process plants. The new methodology introduces a method for adaptive grid solution for long pipelines for optimal computation and result accuracy. The new adopted risk analysis method also introduces a time-varying fire simulation to account for the time-varying flow phenomenon typically experienced with pipeline breaches.