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Driving Reliability of Pipeline Transport

The Company puts in systemic all-round effort to drive reliability of its pipeline transport. With huge expertise in pipeline operation in the environment with different geology and natural conditions, LUKOIL makes use of the best practice engineering solutions and relies on proved high-performance methods.

The reliability management system for infield and main pipelines in Russia is aligned to the requirements of the Russian laws, federal norms and regulations, and corporate standards.

The Company's policy is determined by federal law FZ-116 "On Industrial Safety of Hazardous Production Facilities", federal industrial safety norms and regulations "Rules on Safe Operation of Infield Pipelines", and by corporate local regulations.

All the events involving a loss of pipeline integrity are recorded, the related causes are analyzed and solutions are sought maximizing the safety of pipeline operations.

The management system covers all the levels, from top management to dedicated services within the LUKOIL Group entities. Persons responsible for the safe operation of pipeline transportation facilities, timely diagnostics and industrial safety reviews are appointed in each entity by internal orders. The center of expertise is concentrated around PJSC LUKOIL Network Team "Improving Reliability of Infield Pipeline and Tubing Operation". 

Pipeline reconstruction and capital construction activities are planned as part of the investment program. Each Russian oil and gas producing entity runs a program titled "Reconstruction and Technical Upgrading of Pipeline Transportation Facilities". In order to control the key drivers of operational pipeline safety, goals and quantitative targets are set for each reporting year and for the mid-term.

At the forefront of the operational reliability improvement of infield and main pipelines is the all-round approach that includes the following key activities:

  • maintenance and running repairs;

  • state-of-the-art diagnostics;

  • capital repairs;

  • industrial safety reviews and diagnostic engineering;

  • reconstruction, including sour service;

  • inhibitor and electrochemical protection driving better pipeline operability and longer service life;

  • introducing pipes with internal protective coatings and those made of innovation and alternative materials.

The priorities in pursuing the concept for pipeline operational reliability improvement include inhibition, and the use of non-metal and corrosion-resistant pipes. 

Predictive measures include regular industrial safety reviews, timely engineering diagnostic and corrosion monitoring of pipeline condition that involves hazard ranking of the defects and anomalies identified. Following the inspections, potentially hazardous pipeline sections are identified that need repair or replacement.

In an effort to prevent spills and mitigate environmental risks, every year pipelines are prepared to the autumn-winter season and to spring floods. This effort includes inspection of line stop valves and slide valve assemblies, checking availability of emergency oil spill response equipment, more frequent rounds (visual inspections) especially those at the pipeline sections located in possible flooding or water isolation zones.

On a regular basis, the Company performs quality control of pipe products at manufacturing plants and expands its relations with suppliers on quality-related matters. As part of this effort, requirements to the content of non-metal inclusions in pipes were developed, manufacturing plants undergo audits, products pass incoming inspections, operations are monitored and recommendations issued on the introduction of quality control techniques and technologies. If poor quality products are identified on repeated occasions, the organization is listed in the bad suppliers register and is not admitted to bidding procedures.

Continuous effort is put into preserving the competitive environment in supplies of pipe products with internal protective coating: new types of protective coatings undergo by-pass pilot tests which is followed by the issuance of expert opinions as to whether the products meet the LUKOIL's engineering requirements.

LUKOIL is constantly seeking solutions that can help drive pipeline reliability improvements.

  • Pipes made of alternative materials

The Company's key area of improvement at corrosive pipeline sections is the use of pipes made of alternative (non-metal) materials. Bimetallic pipes also offer longer service life and better margin against failure, for they are made of high-strength steels.

  • Unmanned areal vehicles

UAVs are used for areal patrol of industrial facilities and to monitor variations in the conditions in case of an incident. LUKOIL's employees interact with contractors that provide areal patrol services to obtain more details on survey techniques and improve data processing.

  • Automatic control

Leak detection and access control systems are installed at pipeline facilities that allow to identify even minor oil leaks.

In order to promote safety of high-pressure pipelines at potentially dangerous sections, pressure stabilizers are utilized preventing the destruction caused by internal hydraulic shock. 

In an effort to achieve higher pipeline reliability, the performance of the activities undertaken in this field is assessed on an annual basis.

  • Selective all-round checkout of the operations conducted by oil and gas producing entities. The checkout analyzes accident rates, techniques used to record the pipeline integrity loss events, and involves outlining the related improvement measures. At the same time, corporate supervision is exercised over the compliance with the federal and industry-specific requirements. Following the all-round checkout, instructions are developed on how to remedy the infringements and deviations identified.

  • Technical meetings of Network Team experts. The decisions of such meetings are executed in the minutes thereof, wherein the recommendations and instructions issued to the LUKOIL Group entities are recorded.