You are on page 1of 5

Pipeline Technology Conference 2016

Consequence Assessment Tool for Emergency Situations

Olivier Baldan, Espen Funnemark, Asmund Huser, Johan Ingvarson
DNV GL, Norway

The task of assessing the extent of a gas release during pipeline emergency
situations is challenging. Traditional methodologies for risk analysis require
significant computer capabilities and time; factors that have traditionally made
emergency response teams unable to use gas dispersion modelling during real
To respond to this challenge, DNV GL, Gassco, and Statoil have developed a
dynamic Excel-based software tool called CATES, which can quickly provide
estimations of leak rates, flammable gas cloud distances, and fire safety distances
from a gas release during an emergency situation. This helps emergency teams to
optimize their response to a gas release in terms of time and quality, and give a more
accurate understanding of, and reaction to, the situation.
The tool reveals the extent of gas dispersion in a few seconds and is combined with
an interface to the GIS (Geographical Information System) to visualize and
communicate this information with the emergency response team. This tool
contributes to reducing uncertainty in how public rescue services react in alert and
combat phases.
Over the years, DNV GL has conducted risk assessments of onshore pipelines in
Norway on behalf of infrastructure owner Gassco and operator Statoil. CFD
(Computational Fluid Dynamics) tools and integral methods (PHAST Ref. /2/) have
been used for assessing the consequences of gas releases from these pipelines as
part of QRAs (Quantitative Risk Analyses). For the development of CATES
(Consequence Assessment Tool for Emergency Situations, Ref. /1/), new and
existing consequence results were collected and are systematically used to provide
safety distances quickly. History has shown that fatalities and material damage from
accidental releases from onshore pipelines may be extensive. It is therefore crucial
for operators to have a robust emergency preparedness plan to respond to such
accidents in an efficient manner.
CATES is an excel software tool that, in an emergency situation, can quickly provide
estimations of (See main input and output screen in Figure 1):

Initial leak rate as a function of hole size or hole size as function of leak rate;

Leak rate trend;

Flammable gas cloud distance for concentrations of 100%, 50%, and 20% of
LFL (Lower Flammability Limit);

Fire safety distance for fire radiation levels 9.7 kW/m2, 4.7 kW/m2, and 1.6

Pipeline Technology Conference 2016

The current version of CATES provides consequence estimation for five different
pipelines and three release locations (above ground, buried pipeline, subsea
In addition, an interface has been developed in Gassco/Statoil GIS to visualize the
results on a map and share the information with the emergency response team.

Models applied

Leak rate calculations
Leak rate calculations are based on the DNV GL tools LeakPro (Ref. /5/) and
PipeRup (Ref. /4/).
For hole sizes ranging from 0 to 10% of the pipeline diameter, LeakPro is utilized in
CATES to generate leak rate trends as the pipeline can be considered similar to a
vessel with large inventory while for hole size ranging from 10% of pipeline diameter
up to full bore rupture PipeRup tool was used to pre-produce a set of leak trends.
The PipeRup method accounts for friction and the pressure wave going from the
open end after the moment of release. The method of characteristics is applied to
obtain accurate approximations of leak rate as a function of time.
Dispersion calculations
The release and consequence models in CATES are based on interpolation between
a set of predefined scenarios.
These pre-calculated scenarios of gas dispersion and fire radiation results have been
obtained using DNV GL Software Phast 6.7 (Ref. /2/). The release rates obtained
from LeakPro and PipeRup, as well as the final release temperature (based on the
gas composition), were calculated and applied individually to each pipeline in the
Phast model. For selected pipeline releases, detailed Computational Fluid Dynamics
(CFD) simulations were produced to check and adjust Phast dispersion parameters.
The CFD simulations account for source effects such as the jet direction and buried
pipelines, heavy gas effects and terrain effects.
For modelling of subsea release dispersion, DNV GLs spreadsheet tool PlumePro
(Ref. /3/) is used. This is a simplified DNV GL purpose made model for subsea gas
releases based on detailed simulations. It is used to estimate the gas dispersion in
water, the boil area on the sea surface, and the gas dispersion above the sea surface.
It also determines hazardous distances from the release with respect to flammable
concentrations for all gas pipelines.
The release distances to flammability levels, i.e. to 20% LFL (Safety Zone for Fire
Vehicles), 50% LFL (Safety Zone for Fire Personnel), and 100% LFL (Lower
Flammability Limit) are produced for a set of releases in combination with selected
wind speed categories. These results were obtained for each pipeline and further
imported to CATES.
2.2 Validation
Release trends produced by CATES have been compared with release trends given
by Gassco, using the companys internal model in order to adjust input parameters.
The gas dispersion results from CATES have been compared with specific CFD
cases and results gathered from previous risk analysis. Here, sensitivity cases are

Pipeline Technology Conference 2016

applied to investigate the effects of critical parameters. The results are used to select
conservative values on these parameters as needed.
2.3 Uncertainty and Conservatism
As with every model, the tool has a set of limitations and uncertainties. Hence,
emphasis has been put on being on the conservative side when establishing safety
distances. When assumptions are required, they are set to ensure safety distances
would be overestimated rather than underestimated. For example, release jet
direction is set as downwind for above-ground releases; the pipeline pressure is set
at the maximum operating pressure; and a cold release temperature is selected in
order to obtain more gas along the ground.
2.4 Geographical Information System
An interface to Gassco/Statoil GIS has been developed by DNV GL allowing a
CATES operator to point to the leak location on a map (the interface will snap to the
closest pipeline). The operator is able to enter the distances calculated by CATES,
and draw the safety distances as radiuses on the map, see Figure 2. A default,
worst-case, 2.2 km radius can be displayed together with 50% and 20% LFL
The operator can then include communication details and information regarding the
scenario (which pipeline, location of the release, release size and wind speed applied)
and set up the map scale in order to generate a PDF document that can be quickly
shared by email with the emergency response team.
2.5 Involvement of Main Stakeholders
Applicability and user friendliness of the tool have been secured through continuous
involvement of the main stakeholders.
Relevant stakeholders such as Gassco technical operator, Statoil technical operator,
Emergency response unit, police department, fire brigades, Statoil transport etc,
have been interviewed to assess their needs related to the required output and
understanding and possible use of the information. This information has been used in
order to simplify and specify the tool input and output as well as improve the
functionalities in order to build trust with the different parties.
Successive versions of the tool have been used and presented during full-scale
emergency response drills and table top exercises with positive feedback.
Finally, CATES has been presented to the authorities who have shown great
appreciation of the tool as an excellent example of continuous improvement.
In an accidental leak situation, the operators of CATES (Gassco and Statoil
personnel), are able to use the tool to calculate safety distances for public rescue
service personnel and their vehicles, expressed as number of metres to 50% and 20%
LFL respectively, based on simple input (leak size and wind speed). The tool also
gives the estimated leak trend and duration (Figure 1).
The initial leak rate can first be estimated based on information from the accident
location. Information about the leak rate can often be estimated in the control room if

Pipeline Technology Conference 2016

the leak is large and the pressure drop is measured over time. If a known valve is
broken, the size can be used to specify the leak size. It is therefore important that
operators get as much information as possible from the accident in order to specify
the leak size.
Figure 1 CATES Main Screen

The safety distances are then plotted as circles on a map through an interface in
Gassco/Statoil GIS tool. A PDF of the map, safety distances, and scenario
information is produced and communicated by second line personnel to the fire
brigades and the police on scene (Figure 2).
Figure 2 CATES PDF Output from GIS Interface

Pipeline Technology Conference 2016

Any action on scene must be decided and commanded by the police. Gassco and
Statoil can only provide technical advice based on process status and technical data.
CATES gives public emergency response personnel (and fire brigades in particular)
information on how close to the release point they can operate safely without being
exposed to gas and/or fire. The tool also provides knowledge about release duration
and extent which is also important for the rescue services when deciding on
demobilization etc.
As the situation develops, results can be updated continuously. This information
shows how close to the leak site fire fighters with proper PPE (Personal Protective
Equipment) and gas meters may go without exposing themselves to unnecessary
risk. As opposed to the default worst-case 2.2 km radius around the leak site being
used today by the police, CATES provides distances that are specific for the given
pipeline, leak scenario, and location and proving to be much shorter in most
instances. This increases the efficiency of rescuing injured persons close to the site
and reduces the extent of evacuation.
An efficient and user friendly tool has been developed to be used in pipeline leak or
fire accidents to provide key safety distances to rescue personnel and local
community. Based on pre-programmed information about the pipelines and possible
gas release scenarios, the tool provides results within seconds on the operators
desktop PC without the need to contact external consultants. Applicability and user
friendliness have been secured by interviewing and getting feedback from the control
room operators and rescue personnel.
Successive versions of CATES are successfully tested during full-scale emergency
drills and table top exercises. Both companies, Gassco and Statoil, as well as the
local public rescue services are satisfied with the result, and believe that the tool
would represent an important support in a possible emergency situation contributing
to optimization of emergency preparedness (time and quality) in an accidental

Gassco Consequence Assessment Tool for Emergency Situations (CATES)
Technical Note, Report No.: 2014-3201, Rev. 0, 2015-05-07 (internal)
PHAST v6.7 (Process Hazards Assessment Software Tool) from DNV GL
PlumePro v1.0 DNV GL Internal
A. Huser et al. "Subsea Gas Plumes and Dispersion Above Sea." ESREL conference,
Amsterdam, 2013.


PipeRup DNV GL Internal

DNV/5961oj, May 1995


LEAKPro DNV GL Internal