In the U.S., Operator Qualification (OQ) continues to evolve. Since the passage of the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002, the U.S. Dept. of Transportation Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS) has created and published Inspection Protocols for OQ programs. The Protocols, consisting of nine elements, describe OPS expectations for operator OQ programs. Through the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act, Congress has directed the OPS to inspect operator OQ programs using the Inspection Protocols. The Act stipulates that operators were to be in compliance with the requirements of the Protocols in December 2004.
Since then, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) has sponsored development of a new standard on OQ, with an expectation that it will eventually be incorporated by reference into federal pipeline safety regulations, probably during 2005. If this occurs, operators would likely have a 12-24 month compliance window from the date of incorporation. The new standard will try to address concerns raised by regulators and industry regarding the original implementation of OQ.
We have has significant experience helping operators comply with OQ regulatory requirements. While the current regulatory standard consists of the Inspection Protocols, this is likely to change to the ASME standard sometime in 2005. If that happens, we will proactively modify our OQ program templates and materials to ensure they meet the new ASME requirements.
We provide objective and confidential OQ program assessments to help operators determine whether they comply with current regulatory requirements. Each assessment consists of:
OQ Program Components
We provide a complete set of products to help fill any gaps in your existing OQ program, including customizable templates for Written Plans, records and forms, Task Analyses, knowledge and skill matrices, and evaluation tools.
Training Products & Services
According to the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act, pipeline operators must implement a training program for knowledge and skills in Covered Tasks. We provide a complete range of pipeline operations and maintenance training modules, which can be delivered as self-study (print or interactive web-based materials), or used in conjunction with an instructor-led classroom training session.
There's only one way to know for sure if pipeline controllers can recognize and respond appropriately to Abnormal Operating Conditions (AOCs), and that's by exposing them to AOCs and assessing their reaction. Given that it's impossible to predict when or if an AOC will occur on an operating system, an effective alternative is to use a computer-based pipeline simulator, structured AOC exercises, and a qualified evaluator to assess controller performance. We provide all of these for either gas or liquids pipeline systems. The simulator interface and hydraulic model can be used as-is (generic), or customized to more closely represent your system. We can deliver the controller evaluation services at our international training center in Alberta, or directly at your worksite.
Operations Performance Support System (OPSS)
Our Operations Performance Support System (OPSS) is a web-based content and learning management system designed for organizing, managing, and delivering training and operations and maintenance procedures. OPSS lists courses and training requirements for trainees, provides training modules, delivers examinations and stores user qualification records.