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Interview with Dr. Arafat Aloqaily

By: , Posted on: July 4, 2018

Interview with Dr. Arafat Aloqaily on the challenges and opportunities facing safety and risk management in light of the release of his new book “Cross-Country Pipelines Risk Management and Mitigation Strategies










Dr.  Arafat Aloqaily is an internationally recognized expert in process safety and risk management with over 20 years of academic and industrial experience in the Middle East, Europe and North America.  He is an author, keynote speaker, and regular presenter in safety events with track record of achievements in this field. Dr. Aloqaily has chaired HSE and Safety conferences in different parts of the world, and led panel discussions on relevant issues. He served on technical and steering committees of relevant safety professional and academic organizations. Dr. Aloqaily is certified in safety and risk management. His expertise covers chemical processes, petrochemical, oil and gas industries.  Dr. Aloqaily has special interest in developing probabilistic models for risk assessments, and currently publishing a book on pipeline risk assessments that includes the development of a new probabilistic model for pipeline integrity and failure mode assessments.

What are the key elements of conducting efficient safety and risk assessment?

Risk assessments are essential components in any process safety management program for process facilities, such as the OSHA model and others. Risk assessment studies start by identifying the hazard on site, followed by consequence modeling to calculate the impact of each hazard identified in the previous step. Since risk is a combination of consequences and probabilities of events, the risk assessment must evaluate the probabilities that potential events will take place, and combine that with the damage caused by these events should they occur. This calculated risk will then be compared with the acceptance criteria that is usually set by regulations or best practices to find out whether the risk is acceptable or not. Should the risk be intolerable (not acceptable), measures should be taken to reduce it to the acceptable limits by either reducing the probabilities or consequences of high impact events. In this risk control/mitigation step, cost-benefit analysis can be conducted to assess the most feasible measures that will yield the most risk reduction with the least costly investment.

For an effective risk assessment study, process safety information related to the operating conditions, design parameters, and hazardous material/situations shall be made available and up to date, reflecting the current conditions of the facilities. Information about surrounding environmental and public facilities nearby are also needed to assess the risk posed to the communities. It is needless to say that risk assessment studies shall be performed by well-trained highly qualified risk assessment professionals who understand the best practices and process safety to be able to evaluate the risk and any risk mitigation requirements effectively.

Failure analysis is crucial to achieve process reliability and prevent safety incidents. Is there an innovative method to assess pipeline failure modes and rates?

As explained before, failure analysis is crucial for assessing the reliability and so probability of potential adverse events, including the release of hazardous material to the atmosphere that can impact people, damage the environment, or lead to financial losses or asset damage. Just like any other process equipment, pipeline failure rates are assessed based on historic failure data. There are quite a few publically available pipeline failure databases that provide information on failure rates for specific pipeline types or networks, including the European gas and oil pipeline networks, as well as the USA-DOT PHMSA databases. There have been no public tools or applications that combine all these databases for a comprehensive assessment of pipeline failures that can be used in risk assessments. A new innovative tool is developed by Dr. Aloqaily and is being published in a book on cross country pipeline risk management and mitigation strategies to be issued in mid-2018.

What should be brought into focus throughout the implementation of the new pipeline failure analysis tool?

The new innovative pipeline failure tool (called PipeFAIT) is a tool that combines all publically available pipeline failure data for different pipeline applications, types, and services to create a platform where the user can select the pipeline operating conditions, design parameters, services, and hazardous materials, and predicts the customized pipeline failure rats and modes. Usually, the current practice in pipeline risk assessments is to use generic pipeline failure rates that do not necessarily accurately reflect the individual pipeline conditions, leading to misrepresentation of pipeline risk levels. PipeFAIT predicts pipeline failure rates and modes that are specific to the pipeline being assessed. This makes risk assessments more representative and avoids exposing people to risk that is not evaluated, or overspending on mitigating risk that does not exist. PipeFAIT also has a model to predict the potential of having a fire as a result of the pipeline incidents. The tool can be accessed through

What are the future challenges of Process Safety in your opinion, and why?

The main challenge in process safety management is to sustain acceptable process safety performance in an economically challenging environment. Cost cutting initiatives adopted in the industry during difficult economic times can impact safety. It is important to understand that there is a case for investing in safety. Industrial incidents can be quite expensive and damaging to companies’ reputation.  We have seen recently how single incidents can jeopardize the reputation and public standing of major companies, which can be as serious as revoking permits to operate.

What are the main features of your book on Cross-Country Pipelines Risk Management and Mitigation Strategies?

Cross-Country Pipelines Risk Management and Mitigation Strategies – ISBN 978-0-12-816007-7 presents a simple, easy to follow model for assessing the risk posed by pipelines to the general public. It also explains how the risk can be mitigated/managed using effective, feasible and proven strategies. The book contains innovative concepts and new tools that were developed by the author specifically for pipeline risk assessments (including the powerful PipeFAIT to assess pipeline failure modes and probabilities. The subject of this book cannot be more important, especially when the society is facing growing concerns about cross country pipelines impact on the environment and local communities in light of the recent major pipeline incidents.

The book highlights following features, among other:

  • Simple easy-to-implement risk assessment model for pipelines
  • A new tool for assessing pipeline failure modes and causes that is easy to implement and understand (PipeFAIT)
  • Description of all Hazard Identification techniques applicable to pipelines, along with detailed examples on how are they used in pipeline cases to produce consistent/ systematic results.

Need a copy of your own? Save 30% on Enter discount code STC317 at checkout.

We thank Sofiia Khomiakova for her permission to publish this interview.

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