Study of the documents regulating the reliability of buried steel pipelines in Spain
Tutor / director / evaluatorSalán Ballesteros, Maria Núria
Document typeBachelor thesis
Rights accessRestricted access - author's decision
This project try to respond to detected legislatives gap there is in Spain involving pipeline transportation systems. Precisely, with those pipelines transporting hydrocarbons and similar hazardous materials. Most countries with considerable miles of pipelines of this kind (like Spain) have specific regulations to ensure the safety of these installations. Pipelines have been used in the oil & gas industry for over 60 years. The installations constructed back them are, in many cases, still in use. In countries like the USA, UK or Norway a specific authority is in charge of requiring the operators to demonstrate that any of their installation is in proper conditions to operate safely. In Spain, though, the authorities make this requirement trusting on the operator report of pipelines condition, without them (the operators) having to provide any information. That means that an operator is, actually, in charge of enforcing the safety of their installations without any authority verifying the actions taken. The comparison made with the existing regulations in foreign countries showed clearly the existing gaps in Spain. Those, basically, are the lack of a specific authority enforcing safety, (nowadays the Ministerio de Indusria plays the role of authority), the lack of specific mandatory regulations for pipeline transportation systems, and the little communication required by the authorities over the conditions of any pipeline. In countries with tougher legislation all operators have to have specific pipeline integrity management plans. The Pipeline Integrity Management System (or PIMS) is the most common document developed. This document includes all the information related with the integrity management of a pipeline, and provides the better actions to be taken to mitigate the risk of an accident to happen to the minimum. With real data from Procainsa SA archives, although that it has been modified or distorted to avoid confidentially issues, a PIMS have been developed. The results of it provide better understanding of the regulations there are in other countries, and what should be made in Spain to close the legislative gaps there are. With the conclusions from the legislative research and analysis, comparing Spain with other countries, and the ones from the development of the PIMS a final list of recommendations is made. This aims the actual authority in Spain, the Ministerio de Industria, to take any action to enforce safety in the industry, and to demonstrate the importance for any operator to have detailed, clear and verified integrity management plans that can prevent major accidents.
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