PIRAMID is a pipeline risk and reliability based software that enables operators to use quantitative models to make assessments and to manage defects and integrity actions.  PIRAMID is developed by C-FER Technologies, and is backed by 25 years of industry leading research. With PIRAMID, you can:

The first step in managing pipeline integrity is identifying threats to a pipeline system.  Regulations such as CSA Z662 or API 1160 require operators to consider all potential threats to their pipelines in their risk and integrity assessments.


  • External and internal metal loss corrosion
  • Excavation equipment impact
  • Seam and girth weld cracks
  • Stress corrosion cracking (SCC)
  • Plain dents and dent gouges
  • Incorrect operation and equipment failures
  • Ground movement and other geotechnical hazards
  • Dragged objects and vessel grounding (offshore pipelines only)
  • Storms
  • Seismic hazards
  • Collateral damage


PIRAMID addresses this need by providing a quantitative probability of failure model for each of the threats listed above that operators must consider.  Within PIRAMID, there are two types of models used to estimate the probability of failure by small leak, large leak and rupture for each failure cause:

PIRAMID's advanced models use structural reliability theory to calculate failure probability

  • Simplified models use only basic line attributes and operating conditions in combination with built‐in historical failure information, statistical correlations and simplified algorithms to assess the probability of failure.
  • Advanced models can be used when more detailed data is available to calculate the failure probability using structural reliability models that define the load capacity of the pipe by accounting for the real world variability of the pipe properties, operating conditions and imposed loads.

The range of possible situations that can occur on a pipeline can be considered using simulation methods.  Measurements of the state of a pipeline’s condition can be used for a detailed, simulation-based analysis.  This defect-by-defect analysis can account for the uncertainty in measurements and variation in conditions on the line.

Simulation Flow Chart

Measurements of pipeline defects using methods such as in-line inspection can be incorporated into a defect-by-defect, simulation-based analysis that determines the probability of failure for each defect. For failure causes such as corrosion and cracking, the PIRAMID models use Monte Carlo simulation to consider the uncertainty in the defect measurements, pipe properties, and operating conditions at each defect location. This means that each defect is individually simulated millions of times within PIRAMID to account for these uncertainties.

By aggregating these simulation results, PIRAMID reports the current failure probability for each defect and projects how the failure probability will increase in future years due to growth of the defect. This includes specific probabilities of failure for small leaks, large leaks and ruptures to assess the impact of the different failure sizes.

The failure rate for a given defect is calculated at each year into the future for each failure mode (small leak, large leak and rupture).

The failure rate for a given defect is calculated at each year into the future for each failure mode (small leak, large leak and rupture).

Pipeline attributes can be imported from a variety of existing database formats using the PIRAMID Import Wizard.

With probability of failure results calculated for every threat using any combination of the simple and advanced models, PIRAMID users can evaluate reliability directly or use the included consequence models to further calculate risk.

Users can create graphs such as a profile plot which shows how selected parameters vary along the line.  In this particular graph, the risk of individual defects is shown along with the overall risk trend and a specified threshold.

Users can create graphs such as a profile plot which shows how selected parameters vary along the line.  In this particular graph, the risk of individual defects is shown along with the overall risk trend and a specified threshold.


To calculate risk, PIRAMID considers three aspects of potential consequences: life safety, environmental and financial. It estimates all consequences related to product release from a small (pinhole) leak, large leak, and rupture using models that account for:

  • Immediate consequences including possible injuries and property damage resulting from ignition of the released product. These are calculated using models that estimate the release rate and volume; the severity of the hazards that could ensue, such as fires, explosions and toxic clouds; and the resulting impact on property and people in the vicinity of the release.
  • Long-term environmental consequences represent the health impact related to contamination of soil and ground water due to persistent liquid spills. This impact is measured by applying a clean-up model to the total spill volume, in order to estimate the residual volume lost to the environment. The residual volume is then adjusted to reflect environmental impact severity based on the type of product spilled and the damage susceptibility of the spill site.
  • Business impact is calculated as the sum of the costs of line repair, lost product, service interruption, site clean up, and casualty compensation. Intangible aspects including the potential loss of goodwill with the public and regulators can also be included.

PIRAMID develops optimized maintenance plans that minimize risk at the lowest possible cost. This can be done on a defect-by-defect basis or on the basis of segment risk.

  • Manage Defects. PIRAMID can use explicit defect information in a reliability-based corrosion or crack management process to identify when to conduct repairs.
  • Rank Segment Risk. PIRAMID develops an operating risk profile for the pipeline system. This information can be used to rank pipeline segments with respect to risk, identify high consequence segments, and select segments that should be targeted for enhanced maintenance.

PIRAMID can be used to generate “what-if” scenarios, which show how the operating costs and risks would change with the implementation of various integrity maintenance measures.  Any aspect of the line can modified to observe the change in risk including common interventions such as:

  • In-line inspection (ILI) Pipeline in trench
  • Hydrostatic testing
  • Direct assessment
  • Mechanical damage prevention
  • Pipe repair or replacement

Several criteria can be used to identify the optimal maintenance plan including:

  • Risk or reliability thresholds
  • Cost optimization
  • Cost-benefit ratio

PIRAMID provides a rigorous and traceable process for evaluating and managing pipeline integrity. The developers of PIRAMID, C-FER Technologies are actively involved in research and development in the pipeline industry through publishing academic papers, participating in industry research projects and drafting new standards and regulations.

The models that are used in PIRAMID comply with industry standards and codes. The open structure of the program allows review of model inputs, assumptions and intermediate results so that users can understand and control all aspects of the analysis.

A variety of formats can be used to present the analysis results directly from PIRAMID. All inputs and analysis results can also be exported so that they can be customized and integrated with other information required for reporting and regulator audits.

To continue learning more about PIRAMID, check our latest news and blog posts or contact C-FER for a software demo.


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