Pipeline operators face a constant balancing act of running their pipelines while protecting the environment from oil spills caused by a rupture. A sudden low-pressure event might indicate a pipeline rupture that threatens the environment. To minimize environmental impact, operators set parameters for low-pressure conditions that would cause a hard shutdown, or lockout. Lockouts can last for hours or days, greatly impacting the pipeline’s revenue.
A major pipeline operator was unable to optimize its operation’s lockdown pressure, as it was too difficult to calculate per station. The operator wanted to avoid unnecessary shutdowns of its pipeline by optimizing its lockout pressure based on operational data rather than arbitrary set points. The goal was to reduce the number of times the system locked itself out by better identifying the pressure at which each pumping station should be locked out.