Case Study: Leveraging GIS Technology to Streamline Riser Inspections

Risers are a critical infrastructure point for any pipeline operator. Large carriers may have thousands of risers, scattered across various states or provinces and often located in remote areas. Failure of a riser can lead to costly repairs, fines and downtime. Every riser needs inspections, maintenance, and repairs, but manually overseeing thousands of individual risers can be difficult and costly.


Operating across North America, TAQA North is one of the largest pipeline operators in Canada. With over 5,300 individual risers to manage, across a network of pipelines over 7,500 kilometers long, the paperwork alone was staggering. Rob Allison is TAQA’s Director of Asset Integrity and Chief Inspector. Under Allison’s leadership, in May 2021, TAQA transitioned to a dedicated field operations management software solution called FIND.


“Before using FIND, we used an electronic filing and review system,” Allison said. “We then selectively inspected the riser based on the condition, age and risk of the coating. It was a cumbersome and expensive undertaking.


“FIND allowed us to visualize, in real time, the state of the riser and to take the appropriate measures. FIND provided an organized and scalable way to manage the riser inspection program. »



FIND works by providing field workers with a mobile app, which can be installed on any iOS/Android phone or tablet. Company assets are plotted on a virtual map, which can be filtered to display relevant assets, decluttering the interface and helping workers identify each location.


For each specific activity, whether it is a riser inspection, valve maintenance, or pigging, there is a unique digital form called a workflow. Field workers complete this form step by step and can even attach photos or videos, which is very helpful in identifying faults or damage.



“Using FIND allowed us to assign inspection tasks to third-party contractors who were already on site for other operations,” Allison said.


“The workflow was simple and they were up and running in no time. Using FIND and a third party saved our staff from having to visit remote sites that were not part of their operating cycles. »


Using workflows, the exact location, date, worker name and other objective data are automatically filled in, eliminating user error. When the form is completed, it is automatically synchronized with the database.


“It also streamlines the inspection process. Digital forms can be completed in less than 30 seconds and save us substantial data collection costs,” Allison noted. “I would recommend FIND to any company looking for a cost effective and scalable solution to manage their riser inspection program.”


Back in the office, the data is plotted on a color-coded map – highlighting which risers need to be inspected, which risers need servicing, and which ones were recently inspected and found to be in good working order. For example, if a riser has not been inspected for more than two years, it is highlighted in red. This helps operators prioritize inspection activities focusing on the most critical assets.



“The visual representation of risers in FIND has been well received by operations and management in the field. The ability to attach digital images to FIND that can be easily assessed and acted upon by subject matter experts is a definite benefit” , Allison explained, “The adage that a picture is worth a thousand words is true in FIND.”


When inspection or maintenance is needed at a site, the manager can assign a site and task to a field worker, right in the app. The app tracks the number of inspections each worker has been assigned to, the number they have performed, and the number of issues that have been identified with assets.


Automated notifications can be easily configured and configured to individual needs. Operators can flag assets that need attention and flexible reports can detail what has been accomplished. Reports can be configured to automatically email specific users on a regular basis, simplifying report creation.


“FIND has also helped us meet our regulatory obligations,” Allison said. “As part of an AER reactivation assessment, we are able to easily locate and retrieve the data needed for the application. With an inventory of more than 4,000 risers to manage, FIND has demonstrated its added value to the organization.


Using FIND, TAQA inspected over 4,000 individual risers in the seven months from May 2021 to February 2022, approximately 80% of its entire pipeline network. By using FIND, TAQA has increased its productivity and reduced errors in its operations.


“The benefits of implementing FIND include reduced data collection and management costs, reduced operational risk, and improved regulatory compliance. FIND has reduced the cost of our riser data collection and management efforts to $10 per site,” Allison said.


“Our inspection and management teams in the field are impressed with the app. Data entry is fast, intuitive and the app has saved a lot of time by eliminating the management of hard copies. The consistent management of documents has improved our workflow.


To learn how FIND from Cenozon can help you manage your riser inspections or any of your field operations, visit https://www.cenozon.com/solutions/pipeline-integrity/find/

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