The Netherlands: IRM Systems, Pipeline Repair Advisor, Open for Business
Independent Risk Management Systems B.V. (IRM Systems), suppliers of independent guidance and hands-on support for emergency pipeline repair systems (EPRS) and pipeline repair, announced that it has opened its doors for business.
In order to mitigate risks associated with critical pipeline networks, IRM Systems draws upon the expertise of its team of experienced managers and engineers from the pipeline, risk, insurance, and marine industries to provide pipeline owners and operators with expertise, engineering and project management services for development and implementation of custom emergency pipeline repair systems,
Emergency preparedness on the rise
“In the event of an emergency, the only way to ensure that response is rapid and that the pipeline is repaired safely and efficiently is to develop an EPRS that is customised to the pipeline system. It’s critical to update it regularly to adjust it to changes in the environment, technologies and the pipeline itself,” said Rutger Schouten, General Manager of IRM Systems. “To do otherwise creates a scenario where, as in the case of a damaged offshore pipeline, a significant loss of time in restoring throughput will inevitably result. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, recent anchor drag incidents and Macondo, more and more pipeline operators and owners are taking steps to adopt a truly comprehensive emergency pipeline repair philosophy,” he added.
Objectivity key to responsive and cost-effective EPRS
IRM Systems is the brainchild of Schouten, Operations Director Remko Luyten, Engineering Manager Peter Spaargaren, Communications Specialist Wouter van den Berg, and Commercial Director Dirk Rook , each of whom boasts a long-term career in the pipeline and offshore industries. Collectively, they offer in-depth experience in pipeline repair, EPRS development, project management, offshore construction, design and engineering, and crisis communications. During the past few years, they realized that although pipeline owners and operators are keen to adopt an EPRS, it’s not a straightforward process that can be achieved by a single in-house manager or committee.
“To create and implement the best EPRS in terms of cost and effectiveness, it demands not only an understanding of the client’s needs, but a thorough knowledge of pipeline-specific risks, emergency and repair procedures, and EPRS and marine technology. This is where IRM Systems comes in,” said Schouten. “We know the entire process, the suppliers and technologies, but have absolutely no vested interest in any specific technology or contractor. We work solely on behalf of the customer to ensure that their EPRS system is fit-for-purpose and tailored to their requirements. In a sense, our objectivity and independence are what sets us apart,”he added.
Helping pipeline operators to understand, mitigate and manage the risks
With its experience in the pipeline industry, Schouten is quick to point out that the IRM Systems team has the ability to quickly grasp the client’s requirements, the context and content of any EPRS or its individual components. This means that when a pipeline operator approaches IRM Systems to develop an EPRS, it first assesses the context of the specific pipeline, including risks, drawings, and available hardware and software, among others.
It then develops tailored repair scenarios, and provides the pipeline operator with a full response plan, timeline and decision tree. This plan begins with the current “as is” situation, and takes the organization through a step-by-step course of action until it reaches the desired outcome. Typically, the “action plan” provides the operator with a series of optimized repair scenarios. The repair scenarios feature all details associated with, for example, front-end engineering and design, commercial and vendor requirements that are central components of an EPRS. As appropriate, IRM Systems also provides guidance on the benefits of joining one of a number of EPRS “clubs” or initiatives whereby operators pool their resources to purchase essential equipment to use in case of emergency.
The action plan is followed by the implementation phase. IRM Systems can provide support in the form of complete FEED, ITT and contracting, as well as vendor audits and inspections, and Factory Acceptance Tests and System Integration Tests. Once a system is created and the long lead items are secured, an integration test is required to ensure that all elements are interlinked, and the operator organization is capable of operating the system. At this point, IRM Systems can provide continuous project management and emergency response as part of the operator’s team.
EPRS planning begins in West Africa
In addition to ongoing consultations for its current customers, IRM Systems was recently retained to advise a major pipeline operator on its plans to develop an EPRS for one of its key pipeline networks in West Africa. IRM Systems consultants travelled the globe to participate in vendor assessments and system development. Repair scenarios have now been agreed with the customer and will be further developed. Work on behalf of this operator will continue through to completion of a comprehensive EPRS that will help to facilitate a rapid and successful response to a number of potential emergency scenarios that are unique to this particular pipeline network.
Although IRM Systems is focusing initially on the offshore pipeline market, it is available to those seeking advice on EPRS or pipeline repair for onshore pipeline networks. The company anticipates that it will be assisting operators with assets in high risk areas, such as the North Sea with its heavy transportation traffic and aging assets, and the Gulf of Mexico where hurricanes remain a continuing threat. Building on experience from those mature basins, focus will be on remote areas and emerging markets where EPRS is immature or nonexistent.
About Independent Risk Management Systems B.V.
Independent Risk Management Systems B.V. (IRM Systems) is dedicated to helping pipeline operators and owners to understand, mitigate and manage risks that could damage or interrupt the operation of critical pipeline networks. The company specializes in developing, implementing and operating Emergency Pipeline Repair Systems in order to allow for adequate and timely response in case of an emergency. These specialist systems are provided by an experienced team of risk, insurance, marine and pipeline technology specialists that provides consultancy, engineering and project management services.
IRM Systems believes that only a well prepared and integrated emergency pipeline repair system can mitigate the risks associated with operating critical pipeline assets. As a result, downtime is minimized and throughput optimized, while meeting the requirements and demands of all stakeholders in the pipeline network.
The company was founded in 2011 by General Manager Rutger Schouten, who has a long-term career in the pipeline assessment, intervention and repair world. Over time, Schouten has developed numerous elements of successful emergency response systems, and is well-versed in the challenges of working in the global oil and gas industry. In addition to being responsible for operations and business development initiatives, Schouten has worked for international services providers in non-destructive testing, hot tapping, pipeline isolation, pipeline cleaning and inspection. He holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the TiasNimbas School of Business in The Netherlands.
Based in Capelle Aan Den Ijssel near Rotterdam, The Netherlands, IRM Systems is a sister company of Offshore Independents BV, suppliers of EPC project management and engineering services to the international oil and gas industry.,
Source: IRM Systems , October 5, 2011