Monday, July 21, 2014

Line Pipe

Manufacturing of Line Pipe

Production of steel pipe is grouped into two general categories: WELDED and SEAMLESS.
There are many methods of producing steel pipe in current use. However, most of the pipe produced in the United States is made by either the Continuous Weld, the Electric Resistance Weld, the Double Submerged Arc Weld or the Seamless method.


Continuous weld pipe is produced in sizes from NPS Va to NPS 4. Production begins with coiled skelp of the required width and thickness for the size and weight of pipe to be made. Successive coils of steel are welded end to end to form an endless ribbon of steel. The coiled steel is fed into a roll leveler and then into agas fired furnace where it is heated to the required temperature for forming and welding. The forming rolls at the exit end of the furnace shape the heated skelp into an oval. The edges of the skelp are then firmly pressed together by welding rolls to obtain a forged weld. The heat of the skelp, combined with the pressure exerted by the rolls form the weld. No metal is added in the operation. The final rolls on the mill reduces the diameter and wall thickness to bring the pipe to its finished dimensions.

Synchronized with the speed of the pipe as it emerges from the final rolls is a rotary saw which cuts the pipe to its desired length. The pipe is then cooled, descaled, straightened, inspected. tested hydrostatically, coated as required and end finished. Continuous weld pipe is commonly used for the conveyance of water. air. gas, steam; for sprinkling systems, water wells. fencing. and a multitude of structural applications. C.W. pipe is generally the lowest cost steel piping material available. It is available in the following specifications: ASTM A-120 (withdrawn 1988). A-53. A-501. A-589, A-618. and API5L.

Continuous weld pipe is normally produced in three weights:
Standard. Extra Heavy, and Double Extra Heavy NPS Va to NPS 4 Lighter weights than standard are available in certain sizes. Continuous weld pipe is available with square ends. beveled 30° for welding, threaded both ends, threaded and coupled and victaulic grooved for use with victaulic couplings. Surface finishes are available in Black (oiled). Galvanized. and Bare. CW. Pipe is also supplied with Inorganic coatings (adodic chromate, oxide and vitress enamels); Organic coatings (paints. varnishes. lacquers. rubber, and plastics such as x-tru coat and Scotchkote); Bituminous coatings (asphalt and coal tar).

Continuous Weld pipe is available in 21 foot uniform lengths. single random lengths from 16 foot to 22 foot and double random lengths from 38 foot to 42 foot. Continuous Weld pipe in sizes NPS 1V2 and smaller are normally put in standard bundles as indicated in the following chart.


1. Coiled strip is loaded onto feed table.
2. Strip is fed into roller leveler.
3. Ends of strip are sheared.
4. leading end of coil is flash welded to trailing end of previous coil.
5. Strip is formed into loop.
6. Coil is delivered into furnace.
7. Strip is heated in furnace to approximately 2450°F, strip edge is heated to 2600°F.
8. Forming rolls bend strip into an oval. At the welding stand the heat in the skelp and the pressure of the rollsforms the weld.
9. Pipe is stretch reduced where the desired 00 and wall thickness are obtained.
10. Flying cutoff saw cuts pipe into double lengths.
11. Final 00 sizing on sizing mill.
12. Pipe is cut to finished length, straightened and inspected.
13. Pipe is hydrostatically tested, end finished, stenciled, and coated as required.


Electric Resistance Weld pipe is normally produced in sizes from 2% inch 00 NPS 2 thru 24 inch 00. (NPS 24) ERW is produced from individual sheets or continuously from rolls of skelp. There are two important differences. In the production of ERW pipe as versus CW pipe. ERW pipe is cold formed into a cylindrical shape rather than hot formed. An electric current rather than a flame is used to heat the edges of the strip for the fusion weld. Revolving copper discs serve as electrodes and raise the temperature to about 2600°F for effective welding. As in CW pipe, no extraneous metal is added; in fact, due to the extreme pressure of the rolls, steel is extruded on both the inside and outside of the pipe at the point of the weld. This is called flash and is removed by stationary cutters while still white hot.

As in CW production. ERW pipe is subject to numerous finishing operations. ERW pipe is primarily used as API Line pipe for the transmission of gas and oil. It is also used for the transmission of water. Under AWWA specifications. as piling and slurry pipe and in mechanical applications.
ERW pipe is available in the following most common specifications: ASTM A-53 Grade;A & B;A-135
A-252 Grade 1. 2, 3;API5L Grade A & B; and API5LX42 thru X-55.

ERW pipe is available in lengths from single random to 80 feet. ERW pipe is available with square ends or beveled for welding, threaded and coupled and victaulic grooved. Surface finish are available in black or bare, or with protective coatings, as described in C.W. section.

Major purchasers of ERW pipe are:

Utility Companies,Oil Companies,Steel Fabricators, Piling Contractors,Dredging Contractors,Water Well Contractors,Pipe Distributors, Pipe Line Companies, and Federal, State. and Local Governmental Agencies.


1. Coils of strip steel or skelp on feed ramp. From this position it is uncoiled, flattened, and the leading edge of the coil is sheared.
2. First forming section transforms strip into a round pipe section.
3. Fin pass section finishes rounding process and prepares edges of strip for welding .
4. The edges of the strip are heated to 2500°F by high frequency welder. The edges are squeezed together by pressure.
5. Weld is inspected electronically for some specifications.
5. Seam is normalized.
7. Weld is cooled by air and water.
8. Pipe is sized and straightened.
9. Pipe is cut to required length by flying cut-off saw.
10. Pipe is visually inspected.
11. Pipe is hydro-statically tested.
Final finishing includes inspection, end finishing, coated as required, and stenciled.


'Seamless pipe is produced domestically in sizes NPS 'Ie through NPS 26 00. Seamless pipe is produced without a seam or weld in the circumference. Seamless pipe is produced by a variety of methods. To put it in its most simple terms, seamless pipe is produced by piercing a solid billet of deoxidized and conditioned steel, which has been properly prepared and heated to the proper temperature. It is then processed through a series of mills where the pipe is finished to its prescribed dimensions. Seamless sizes over 14 inch 00 are usually rotary rolled from 14 inch seamless shells which expand the diameter and reduce the wall thickness to the approximate dimensions required. Small sizes of seamless pipe are generally obtained through the use of a stretch reduced mill. In this process the outside diameter and the wall thickness of the pipe is reduced through a series of rolls. Seamless pipe goes through various finishing operations including straightening, inspection, testing, and end finishing. Seamless pipe is widely used in construction, oil refining, chemical and petro-chemical industries.

Seamless pipe is available In the following specifications: ASTM A-53 Grades A & B; A-106 Grades A.B, and C; A-252 Grades 1,2,and 3; A-333 Grades 1 through 9; A-335 Grades P-1 through P-22; A-501, A-523, A-589, API5L Grades A & B, and API5L X-42 through X-65.

It is common practice to dual stencil seamless pipe with API5L and ASTM A-53 monograms. Seamless pipe is available in single random and double random lengths. It is not normally supplied in uniform lengths. End finishes for A-53 include plain ends, either beveled or square cut, grooved for victaulic couplings and threaded and coupled. Grades other than A-53 are normally supplied in plain end only, either square cut or beveled. In sizes 6% and over, in thicknesses 3/4 inch and over, a "two-step" bevel is available.

Seamless pipe is available in black, bare, galvanized, or with protective coatings as described in C.W. section. The following are major purchasers of seamless pipe: Pipe Distributors, Plumbing & Heating Supply Houses, Mechanical Contractors, Oil and Gas Companies, Chemical Companies, Power Generation Equipment Manufacturers, Railroads, Shipbuilders, Utility Companies, Governmental Agencies, Pipe Fabricators and Water Well Contractors.


Double submerged arc welded pipe (DSAW) derives its name from the welding process wherein the welding arc is submerged in flux while the welding takes place. Both inside and outside welds are required and are usually accomplished in separate processes, hence the word "double." These separate welds consume a portion of the other resulting in a single high quality weld
DSAW pipe is produced in sizes from 18" through 72" 00 and wall thicknesses from .250" through 1.5".

Two different processes are used to manufacture DSAW pipe; the pyramid rolls method, and the U-O-E method. The difference in the processes is found only in the method of forming the cylinder. In the pyramid rolls process the cylinder is formed between 3 rolls arranged in a pyramidal fashion. As the name implies; the U-O-E method uses a "U" press, and "0" press for forming. Other parts of the process such as finishing and inspection are similar. Both processes use flat steel plate as the raw material.

DSAW pipe mayor may not be cold expanded. Cold expansion is a process where the pipe is expanded (up to 1_5%) to obtain its final 00 dimension. In the process, a gain of yield strength results. Expansion is most often utilized in a U-O-E mill due to the need to recover the yield strength lost during forming in the "0 press, DSAW pipe is available in the following grades:
ASTM A134, A139, A252, A671, A672, A690, A691, CSA (Canadian) - Z245.1 and custom specifications. API 2B, 5LB, 5LX-42 thru 5LX-80

DSAW pipe is normally produced in double random lengths with square ends or beveled for welding. It is usually furnished bare but varnish is also offered. A wide range of external coatings and internal linings are available with DSAW pipe. These include fushion bond epoxy (FBE) coatings and thin film epoxy linings. DSAW pipe is used in high pressure gas and oil transmission lines (both onshore and offshore), structural members and pipe piles. Major purchasers include liquid and gas transmission companies, hammer companies, construction contractors, platform fabricators, government agencies and pipe distributors.


Spiral Weld Pipe, as the name implies, is a steel pipe which has a seam running its entire length in a spiral form. In the past, due to the method of manufacture, Spiral Welded pipe was relegated to low pressure and structural applications. With the development of the Submerged Arc Welding process, the production of large hot rolled coils of sufficient width and the development of dependable non-destructive testing methods, it is now possible to produce Spiral Weld pipe for high pressure service.

Present Spiral Weld mills consist of a de-coiling device (in the case of strip base material) or a plate preparation table (where the base material is in plate form) a strip connecting welder, straightening rollers, edge preparation tools (shearing and trimming), prebending devices, a three roller bending and cage forming system, an internal welder, an external welder (both Submerged Arc), ultrasonic testing apparatus and cutting devices. The material passes through all these production stages continuously. The angle between the flat strip being I fed into the machine and the finished pipe leaving the machine controls the pipe diameter in ratio to strip width and the angle of the weld in the pipe.

Because of the method of manufacture, a wide variety of diameters can be produced. The diameter tolerance is small, particularly with regard to ovality; and the pipe, due to its axial symmetry, has an inherent straightness. The length range is infinite and is controlled only by the economics of transportation. Spiral Weld Pipe is used for dredging, slurry, water and other pipelines, as well as piling and structural applications. Spiral Weld Pipe is produced in accordance with the dimensional and tolerance requirements of various ASTM, AWWA, and API Specifications.


This post is based on SDGE 41-06.1 and TWI:

 Fracture Toughness Tests
For pipe purchased to order, drop weight tear (DWT) tests shall be made on sizes 20” diameter and larger, regardless of grade. Two specimens from one length of pipe from each heat shall be tested, in addition to the sampling frequency established in Table 18 of API 5L. The specimens shall be tested in accordance with API RP 5L3 and meet the requirements of API 5L 9.9 and Annex G8 with the following exception: 100% of heats shall exhibit a fracture appearance shear area of 80% or more. The average shear fracture area shall be 85% as per API 5L G.3.18. The maximum DWT sample temperature at the time of testing shall be +32ºF unless specified by the Company.
Charpy impact tests shall be made on pipe 6" diameter and larger. The tests shall meet the requirements of API 5L 9.8, 10 and Annex G. Full size transverse Charpy tests shall be performed where possible. If the pipe wall thickness does not permit machining of full size specimens or if impact toughness of full size samples exceeds the capacity of the Charpy test machine, then sub-size samples as per API 5L Table 22 may be substituted with proportional adjustments in the required energy.
The minimum average Charpy absorbed energy requirement for each set of three samples shall be calculated using the greater of 20 ft-lbs or the value calculated using the following equation:

Cv = 0.0117 (0.8Sy)2 (Rt)0.333(Pc)     

Cv = Charpy energy (ft-lbs)
Sy = specified minimum yield strength (ksi)
R = pipe outside radius (inches)
t = nominal pipe thickness (inches)
PC = 1 for full size, 0.67 for 2/3 size, 0.50 for 1/2 size and 0.33 for 1/3 size

The lowest measured absorbed energy for any single sample shall be at least 75% of the required minimum average absorbed energy.

When drop weight tear (DWT) tests are not performed the shear appearance of the Charpy test samples shall be measured. The requirements of API 5L 9.8 shall apply, except that each heat shall show an average shear area of at least 80%. When shear area measurements are required the test temperature shall be no higher than the temperature shown in Table 4. When Charpy shear measurements are not required the test temperature shall be +32°F unless otherwise specified.

Charpy Testing

Charpy impact testing involves striking a standard notched specimen with a controlled weight pendulum swung from a set height. The standard Charpy-V notch specimen is 55mm long, 10mm square and has a 2mm deep notch with a tip radius of 0.25mm machined on one face. The specimen is supported at its two ends on an anvil and struck on the opposite face to the notch by the pendulum. The amount of energy absorbed in fracturing the test-piece is measured and this gives an indication of the notch toughness of the test material. The pendulum swings through during the test, the height of the swing being a measure of the amount of energy absorbed in fracturing the specimen. Conventionally, three specimens are tested at any one temperature and the results averaged.
Charpy tests show whether a metal can be classified as being either brittle or ductile. This is particularly useful for ferritic steels that show a ductile to brittle transition with decreasing temperature. A brittle metal will absorb a small amount of energy when impact tested, a tough ductile metal absorbs a large amount of energy. The appearance of a fracture surface also gives information about the type of fracture that has occurred; a brittle fracture is bright and crystalline, a ductile fracture is dull and fibrous. The percentage crystallinity is determined by making a judgement of the amount of crystalline or brittle fracture on the surface of the broken specimen, and is a measure of the amount of brittle fracture.
Lateral expansion is a measure of the ductility of the specimen. When a ductile metal is broken, the test-piece deforms before breaking, and material is squeezed out on the sides of the compression face. The amount by which the specimen deforms in this way is measured and expressed as millimetres of lateral expansion.
When reporting the results of a Charpy test, the absorbed energy (in J) is always reported, while the percentage crystallinity and lateral expansion are optional on the test report. It should be emphasised that Charpy tests arequalitative, the results can only be compared with each other or with a requirement in a specification - they cannotbe used to calculate the fracture toughness of a weld or parent metal.
Fig.1. Charpy testing machine and specimen arrangement
Fig.1. Charpy testing machine and specimen arrangement
Fig.2. Standard Charpy-V notch specimen

Sunday, May 13, 2012

I have my own media!

In this post I am going to provide a summary of my learning in the course of communicating policy and provide my final thoughts regarding the subject matter. Declining of the traditional media, use of social media and networking and its effect on the society as a whole and politicians' actions will be discussed.
According to Florian Sauvageau in the book "How Canadian Communicate IV" newspapers are, traditionally, the main producers of news – they set the public affairs agenda and if newspapers die, or if media sources continue to converge, it will adversely affect the functioning of democratic life. So, if newspapers set the public affairs agenda and if the crisis gripping newspapers worsens, it will affect all media and therefore the news system that nourishes democratic life. Nowadays, with all sorts of social media present, the news is covered by everyone with the same techniques, is written in the same style, is endlessly recycled from one medium to another and is remarkably similar. How does this affect our lives?
One of the major impacts of the declining traditional media is on the government. Elly Albiom suggests that because media coverage has a profound impact on the designs of government communications, and because media neither supports current democratic institutions or acts as an effective link in the process of governance, this results a circular process through which the government neglects to produce meaningful communication with the public, while the public becomes more and more disengaged from the democratic process. It is clear that media coverage has a profound impact on the design of government communications. The media have no interest in becoming a more effective link in the process of governance, nor do they currently have the ability to do so. This means ordinary people are intended to pay less attention to the politics and get busy with more entertainment. Moreover, the Government can worsen the problem when they determine that it is not in their interest to devote extraordinary efforts to engage the disengaged.  When there is no civic premium on sharing information and no practical way to encourage or enforce it—and worse still, when trying to connect demands a level of patience and commitment that people are unwilling to invest—logic says the likeliest outcome is more and more detachment from all but the most threatening or overwhelming kinds of information. That means a general fragmentation of knowledge about context, process, and even basic facts.
Besides the fact that ordinary people have less interest in politics with the increasing presence of the social networks, there are also some people who might pay more attention to the politics. Bloggers, activists and journalists are amongst this type of citizen and they have a lot of influence in the society. Is this enough? Can they help?
Richard Davis believes that political bloggers make up a small fraction of the total population and have limited use to politicians and political parties. The trend in blog readership has been toward blog aggregators: blogs like the Huffington Post and “RealClearPolitics” or “National Newswatch” in Canada that collect information for blog readers from a variety of sources. Such combining helps establish the blog as a one-stop source for information that appeals to a variety of tastes and ideologies. These aggregators likely will attract increasing amounts of blog traffic while independent and individual blogs may suffer. Political blogs—with their emphasis on political issues—offer the same diet of political News, as do national newspa­pers.
So, traditional media is declining and bloggers cannot help much! Imagine if politicians tried to engage people using social media to help solving the problem of the public being disengaged. Use of social media as was described in my previous post can have a huge impact on society and might be a suitable vehicle to be used by politicians. How influential is this tool and what is the best way to use it? David Taras and Christopher Waddell believe that social media played only a minor role in the 2011 election. The Quality of political discourse is declining and elections are less about policies and issues: “Journalism professor Jay Rosen once wrote that the primary mission of the communications media and, indeed, of journalism should be to “make poli­tics ‘go well’ so that it produces a discussion in which the polity learns more about itself, its current problems, its real divisions, its place in time, its pros­pects for the future.” If this is the standard by which media coverage of the”. Therefore, use of social media might not be as helpful as some politicians might think. However, in some cases the social media had a huge impact on decision makers’ decision. “The possibilities for social media to drive political communication and influence decision-makers are huge, but, as the 2011 election demonstrated, they remain little realized to date.”
I few assume using social media by government and politician can help engaging the public, we should dig a little more into this to find pros and cons. According to Christopher Waddell the new technology has actually contributed to a decline in the quality of journalism instead of increasing the quality: “Decisions to cut back on reporting staff, close bureaus, and replace reporters from local newspapers and TV stations with national news bureaus and national network reporters have broken the link between the public and the media that has been at the core of political communication.” Besides the quality of the news being sacrificed, a gap is also being created between voters and the media: “Instead of using technology to bridge the communications gap between voters in their communities and the media, the media has used it to turn its back on the public, forging closer links with the people reporters cover rather than with the people who used to read, watch, and listen to their reporting.”
Political parties are now in a state of constant combat and campaign readiness to manage the media, and this makes compromise difficult. So, the important question is why compromise is so difficult? Tom Flanagan has an answer to this question:  “The Canadian permanent campaign model, with its new emphasis on pre-writ advertising, was born of minority government, with public money serving as the midwife.”
Now that we found a couple of disadvantages of using social media by politicians, let’s look at some of the advantages of this besides engaging the public. The idea of permanent campaign can be introduced by using the social networking tools: “The permanent campaign, including prewire advertising, has shown itself to be potent political weaponry, useful for attracting new support groups, passing legislation, questioning the opposition’s policies, and undermining the image of the opposition leader—in short, for winning and holding on to power.”
Jonathan Rose supports the idea of permanent campaign in the book "How Canadians Communicate IV".  Permanent election campaigns have been transformative, resulting in a major shift towards political parties using advertising with greater intensity than they have in the past. “In the past, negative ads have been condemned in and of themselves; they have been seen as a poor form of communication that cheapens our democratic currency. A closer examination, though, suggests that they might have a legitimate role in providing information during an election campaign.” He also mentions “Negative ads are also justifiable if they further a discussion about a policy.” Therefore, it seems that using social media can help democracy and promote citizenship. Internet has changed the way in which Canadian political parties communicate in in that parties use the Internet to perform traditional campaign activities yet they have not embraced e-democracy. Tamara Small believes that “Like American politics, there is evidence that the Internet might become the venue for the dirtiest of attacks.”
Also, despite technological advances that can provide Canadians with more real time and accurate news in cases like military combats, evolution of official censorship under new regulations such “Operation Security” avoids Canadians to benefit from these advancements; “Sadly, it will probably be historians, not journalists, who will have to tell Canadians the whole stories of the Afghanistan and Libyan campaigns. That, in turn, and despite the best efforts of a courageous handful, speaks volumes about the gulf that still separates the Canadian military and the Canadian media in the fulfillment of their social and democratic responsibilities”.
As a conclusion, I think adapting with the all the changes that are happening these days is the only solution. "As the public no longer accepts the media playing that role and instead has created its own media, ignoring and undermining the institutional media along the way, the digital revolution creates the conditions and provides the tools for encouraging the same revolution in political communication."

Use of social media in political actions

Now after reviewing the course lectures and materials and  participating in the group discussions and presentations, some critical points become clearer regarding the book "How Canadian Communicate IV". The question that is still in my head is the exam question that was to describe whether or not social media should be used as the vehicle for mobilizing political actions.
Since this question is very general I am trying to find some examples for this to better answer this question. I would like to focus on one part of the world which has the highest number of bloggers in the world after Japan and probably one of the most complicate political systems in the world: Iran. The country has faced a lot of political challenges challenges in its very long history. One of the most interesting ones has happened very recently during the latest presidential election. The 2009 Iranian presidential election was held on 12 June 2009 in Iran, the tenth presidential election to be held in the country and many protestors believed a fraud has happened and the results was not based on true number of voters and their choice. Protestors was beaten by the revolutionary guard and "Basij" forces. Pictures and videos were takes by people and was broadcasted using their cell phones. Twitter, youtube and Facebook was used heavily by Iranian protestors.
In general, the increasing penetration of new communication technologies and social media into everyday life has attracted a growing interest in the social, economic and political implications of these technologies. At Western democratic societies the use of blogs and twitter is mostly around the cool subjects such as sports, wine tasting or the literature. The bloggers in Iran are mostly interested in social or political debates. Perhaps for this reason, the use of blogs and social media is substancial in developing countries such as Iran.
In 2009 Iran witnessed a political upheaval in the aftermath of the presidential election in which the Internet was utilized effectively by the political opposition. News and videos of police brutality and repression were uploaded online, including onto social networking sites, in what was called the ‘Twitter Revolution’. Expectations rose on the capacity of new media to bring about democratic change in Iran. I'd like to suggest that, firstly, new media has helped ordinary citizens and the political opposition challenge the government’s monopoly of information and propaganda. Secondly, I suggest that new media have paved the way for the emergence of a global public sphere for Iranians across the globe. Also looking at the social and cultural impacts of the satellite channels which have been an ongoing source of concern for the Iranian conservative regime and the number of text messages that was being sent everyday tells me that social media is not only a tool for communication but also influences people by sharing ideas. 1
When Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams and Biz Stone founded Twitter in 2006, they were probably worried about things like making money and protecting people's privacy and drunk college kids breaking up with one another in 140 characters or less. What they weren't worried about was being suppressed by the Iranian government. But in the networked, surreally flattened world of social media, those things aren't as far apart as they used to be — and what began as a toy for online flirtation is suddenly being put to much more serious uses. After the election in Iran, cries of protest from supporters of opposition candidate Mirhossein Mousavi arose in all possible media, but the loudest cries were heard in a medium that didn't even exist the last time Iran had an election. 2
The 2009 presidential election attracted global attention and gave rise to hopes for progressive change in Iran. However, the events that followed cast doubt on the realization of these hopes (Esfandiari 2010).
No matter the social media is being used as the main vehicle of mobilizing political actions, I believe social media is playing a vital role in new democratic movements in Iran since one of the biggest fears of dictators is from the people who understand their true power by uniting and social media is helping people to understand how powerful they are! Thank you twitter!
1: Online journal of the virtual middle east:

Funeral of traditional Media

Media is the fundamental of democracy. The statements “thanks to the internet, newspapers are dying!” has become one of the clichés of our lives. The concern is that media might not be as efficient with less attention it is receiving each day especially amongst the younger generation without the newspapers as the main source of the News. According to the book “How Canadian Communicate IV”; “As the public no longer accepts the media playing the old important role and instead has created its own media, ignoring and undermining the institutional media along the way, the digital revolution creates the conditions and provides the tools for encouraging the same revolution in political communication. “
The truth is that the Radio stations, newspapers, magazines, and even local television stations are struggling, and many are predicting their demise! But is this true?
Before we plan for the funeral, let's answer one question: In this world of smart phones and tablets becoming our primary computer, are mainframe computers dead? The answer is “no! We're still using mainframes”. Of course, the usage of the mainframes are changed and perhaps improved!
In order to define the problem statement and analyze it properly I would like to list the main functions that media are serving us by generating the news:
1-    Surveillance; Media as the dogwatch for monitoring the government etc.
2-    Cultural glue; To improve the culture and keep the society together
3-    Increase public engagement in politics and number of voters
4-    Inform; a teacher function
5-    Service the economic system
6-    Entertain
7-    Act as a community forum (media equivalent of town hall meeting or group discussion)
8-     Set the public agenda
9-     Service the political system

I believe most of these functionalities are transformed to other forms and people have made their own media to serve as the media. The focus is mostly on the “news” in this text. The point is that when new technology emerges, we tend to think that the old technology is completely dead, but that usually isn't the case. Rather, the old technology gets repurposed and integrated to add value to the future.
Some people tend to call radio the old media. Today, a radio station can have a website, which allows them to have video, interactivity, contests, and all sorts of things they couldn't have done in the past. Radio is no longer a physical device; rather, it's audio-sponsored content that can be delivered anywhere, at any time. As you see it is improved and not dead!
Therefore, I would like to assume each of the functionalities of the media mentioned above is going to be improved and embedded in a new medium. I would like to claim that the old doesn't always go away; often, it gets repurposed into the new. So let's forget the concept of big media versus the Internet. It's really big media AND the Internet! For each of the functionalities mentioned above we can find a few new media that is helping the traditional media to serve better.

Is the NEWS industry dying? Should one pay for News?

My initial thoughts and first response to How Canadians Communicate IV can be summarized under three different topics; how can news influence people’s lives and why they are not willing to pay for news, do people have enough trust in the news and what is the world look like after the last newspaper is read?
In general politicians are trying to control people's mind in order to achieve more power. One of the best ways to do so is to scare people about their future and to make them believe the politician have the solution! This is usually being done through media and by exaggerating -or even false- news! Therefore, what we hear on TV and generally in the news are some worrisome news that comes to us in different forms. For many people who are hearing and accepting the news without any research and without analyzing it, this is sufficient to vote for the politician who talks better! In this situation I do not see any reason for people to pay for the news. This is even more defendable when it comes to the younger generations. As it is stated in the book "how Canadian communicate" the young generation want the news fast, free and direct to the point. Moreover, with more available entertainment it is less likely that people are interested in politics or going out to vote. Therefore, the younger generation that has access to all these gadgets to play with are less likely to pay for news at all.
Beside the fact that there is less chance that people want to pay for news, people do not have a lot of trust in the news broadcasted by the media. Especially after 911 and the following wars that happened based on false news people have lost their trust in the media and the influence of the media might have drooped. This makes it even harder for media to sell news as one of their major products. In an attempt to better why the news industry may soon “sink like a stone”, I would like to examine one challenge the traditional media face; asking people to pay for news they receive. There are two possible viewpoints on why young people do not pay for news: either they do not feel that the news they would be paying for is worth the money they would spend  and is not changing their lives in a good way, or they feel that they should not pay for one source of news when they can get a comparable substitute from a competing source because of lack of trust.
According to above-mentioned book " The stark reality today is that every medium is merging with every other medium, every medium is becoming every other medium, and all media are merging on the Internet. Most critically, a new generation of digital natives, those who have grown up with web-based media, is no longer subject to a top-down, command-and-control media system in which messages flow in only one direction." which makes it even more difficult for people to distinguish between the reality and false news. This might result in more people resulting their trust in what they receive from media and what they hear on the news.
News has direct effect on people's lives. David Tras and Christopher Waddel say in their book that " Once a trend or idea becomes firmly implanted within a culture, it is only a matter of time before it permeates and affects public policy." I believe people are more aware of this fact these days which makes them more cautious about what they hear. Having said that, I have a hard time to believe that this might make people to pay for the news. However, in some levels of the society or between highly educated people we might be able to find some cases that are willing to pay for news that are coming from a trusted sources.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Identify, Define and Communicate Client Needs and Expectations

“Identify, Define and Communicate Client Needs and Expectations”

Ali Barahmani 2011


An understanding of the internal and external risks in project management is necessary as part of the project plan. Generally speaking, internal risks are easier to identify and manage while external risks are more elusive and less controllable. Dealing with clients, who are providing the fund to define and execute the projects, can be critical and in most cases problematic. When it comes to engineering in oil and gas industry in Alberta, the same problems can affect the project in different capacities. Identifying these needs and defining the scope can be critical in receiving the approval and getting the AFE. This paper is treating this issue as an external issue to the project team since the project team has no control over the clients’ needs identification process and would suggest an approach to solve the problem in the most professional and effective manner with low cost implications. Also, industry input to the process is considered as well as academic studies to support the case.


In today’s competitive word, “quality” may simply be defined as customer satisfaction. Failing to correctly meet customer’s requirements, expectations and needs has contributed to the United States lack of competitiveness in the global economy. This is likely also true in most of the industrialized nations. (Hartman, 2001)

One of the key success factors in meeting the quality and reaching client satisfaction is to understand and identify client’s needs. In the relationship between the oil and gas companies as the “Clients” and the EPC Companies as the service providers, defining the need and identifying the success factors is an important task. In an ideal world, these needs should be defined and identified in a formal document or deliverable. In our projects and in this paper the formal document is the “Statement of Requirements” which will be called “SOR” in this paper from now on for ease of use.

Since the PM in the EPC Company has no control over the identification process and issuing the SOR, any delay or miss-identification in this process will have a negative effect in project execution in the EPC Company.

According to Nicholson and Sieli in their PMI presentation, many companies were still plagued with the following problems in the course of their projects’ execution:

- Improvements do not occur from project to project.

- Projects still function in a reactive environment.

- Roles and responsibilities are poorly defined that cut across functional or organizational boundaries.

- Successful improvements in one project do not ripple to the other projects.

This is likely to be true today as well. In most EPC environments in Alberta above problems remains to be true today and can be more specified for the projects being executed in oil and gas industry in Alberta including the “Well Tie-In projects”, “Compressor Station Construction Projects” and “Pipeline” projects.

Traditional project management tends to focus on the defined project objectives and not on defining the “unwritten set of customers’ needs and expectations which ultimately translates to project success. (Hartman, Ashrafi; 2001)

Realizing the importance of customer satisfaction, now more and more organizations are focusing on “identifying and satisfying clients’ needs and expectations”. As will be described in detail, in most projects the author is involved in, the “S.O.R.” or the “Statement of Requirements” is the official request that should be initiated from Client to the EPC Company.

In this paper, I describe “hard” issues of defining clients’ needs and the items that should be included in a complete SOR. Also, the external issues that are preventing us, as an EPC company, to address clients’ expectation and in some cases are causing delays and imposing extra costs to the project as a result of determining clients’ requirements later than it is needed.

The External Issue

According to appendix 1:”Conventional Small Project Flow Chart”, receiving the SOR is the first step in initiating the project. The SOR is very important in terms of informing the EPC Company what exactly needs to be done and the scope of the project in general. Also, it is important that scope be defined in the early stages of the project so that engineering company can design the job and allocate the man hours based on the needs of the client and prepare applications to necessary regulatory licence requirements and get the approvals in time.

The issue is that the clients are usually late or unwilling to approve the SOR in early stages. As mentioned earlier since the PM in the EPC Company has no control over the identification process and issuing the SOR, any delay or miss-identification in this process will have a negative effect in project execution in the EPC Company.

The client’s intention is to transfer the risk to the EPC Company. Also, the client wants to prevent the engineering change notes that might be issued by the EPC but by not issuing the SOR in early stages a lot of problems and costs are imposed for changes if the job is designed bases on some “assumptions” and “un-approved facts”.

• Mitigation Strategies

Project cost for a typical single well tie-in project for Wild River area is around a million dollar while this cost can easily be escalated to over millions of dollars in Ojay area. Factors like the regulatory costs, line pipe length and equipment registered in other provinces can be a big portion of this difference. Also, the client team acting in these two areas has different tastes in selecting the tools and equipments. Moreover, the clients responsiveness and communication effectiveness are very different which in some cases makes it difficult to reach an agreement.

Therefore, a standard process to define the scope and identify the needs may solve a big part of the problem. Steps below are suggested to mitigate the risk of receiving or understanding the clients’ needs later when it is not doable to save significantly.

The first step would be performing a site visit of the area and study similar projects in case they are available. In this stage we need to identify all requirements to obtain approvals from regulatory bodies. For example, using boil-off tanks are prohibited in Wild River area while there are some other areas that use of this particular equipment is permitted. ERCB and OGC, two regulatory organizations in Alberta and British Columbia may have different requirement in similar cases based on the location and other consideration.

As will be described in the work process section, the flowchart can be easily used and be treated as a live document in the entire course of the project.

There is no significant cost for implementing these processes other than holding some meetings to describe or talk about this process in the monthly and kick-off meetings.

• Use of Tools

• Studies and Site Visits

Site Visits are necessary to determine the needs and define requirements clearly. Obtaining data needed for the preparation of a capital cost estimate is another main objective of these visits. Not all the required information will be able to be obtained so discretion is necessary in deciding what is considered important or whether additional items need to be included for consideration. For a typical Class 2 or 3 estimates a one or two day visit for small jobs might be sufficient.

• AccuMap

AccuMap® provides desktop access to numerous up-to-date databases, including subsurface land, well, pressure, production, pipelines, core, reserves, seismic and logs for the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin and Frontier areas. [5]

Use of this tool will provide useful information about pipelines in place and available tie-in locations. Also, line numbers and licence numbers will be available via this tool which will indicate the ownership of the pipeline or the company who is operating on the lease.

All these information can be critical in defining the clients’ needs.

A snapshot of the tool interface is shown in Appendix 2.


Aspen HYSYS is a process modeling tool for conceptual design, optimization, business planning, asset management, and performance monitoring for oil & gas production, gas processing, petroleum refining, and air separation industries. [6]

Use of HYSYS enables us to understand the options and find out whether or not we can offer specific equipments for a specific project. It is very important to use this tool to make sound suggestions and to choose suitable equipment either from surplus or to purchase. These suggestions can then be reflected in the SOR.

• PM Database

PM Database is the single source of gathering information about project budget and final forecast in each stage of the projects. To make the client fully aware of their needs and make sound suggestions in defining the SOR we need to understand the financial situation of the project and all other projects at least in the area. Using this tool not only we can see the status of other projects but also we can enter data for our project and provide a better picture of the status of the activities.

• MS Excel

In defining clients’ needs, an accurate cost estimate can play a vital role. MS Excel is used to do a detail cost estimate. Class III Cost Estimates (±25% accuracy) are provided to clients to enable them make decisions on what is needed. It is very important to do the estimates based on the most recent and real data from recent projects to create a better basis for decisions. A sample copy of a Class III Cost Estimate is provided in Appendix 4.

Industry Best Practices

There are two main different approaches in the oil and gas industry in Alberta to define the scope and identify technical needs in projects. Each approach has its own pros and cons which is described below:

Some big players in the industry would like to define the scope and identify the needs before they announce it to the EPC Company. In this approach the client prefers to use standard sets of drawings and process to simplify things and prevent complications. This method is usually cheaper but has some cons to it. Using this method the client won’t be able to use the latest technology every time and there is no guaranty that the tools, equipment and personnel are up to date according to the leading technology in the industry. Each change needs to be flagged and announced and reflected in the predefined standard sets of drawings. Therefore, even though this method is cheaper and the Engineering Company is less involved, the client has less flexibility towards industry changes and may not be able to change directions in company’s economical policy e.g. changing from oil to gas or visa versa. Also, last minute changes will not be accommodated easily in this approach and may cause more cost to implement a change in the scope of work.

In another approach, the client engages the Engineering Company or the EPC in the investigation process and helps the client identify the needs and define the scope. This approach is usually more expensive and needs a lot of technical expertise to accommodate changes. The parties should have a mutual understanding and a strong relationship based on trust. Changes can be accepted easier and all possible technologies and options can be explored before coming to a final decision. Designs are more optimized and modified for the specific project situation. The biggest cons for this approach are the cost and the process not being standardized.

According to the information provided above, the ideal situation would be to decrease the cost for the second approach by standardizing it to take advantage of the flexibility and being technically more confident. In order to do that I am suggesting standardizing the SOR creation process and engaging the engineering company from the early stages in all projects.

• Costs and effort in delivering the mitigation

By applying the mitigation plan and getting the help from engineering company to define the needs we are accepting to invest on the process by paying to the engineering company. This may look that we are imposing some extra cost but the intention is to save money in the long term. Creating the standardized process will make it possible to determine similar projects faster and more effectively. In this way we maybe able to prevent designing for similar jobs over and over again. By saving money in preventing the design for similar jobs we are able to provide cheaper service and at the same time be confident in the technical advantage of the services and design for each project. Also, this will ensure the identification of the needs and providing a sound SOR agreed by the client and Engineering Company at the early stages of the project. Moreover, there will be less change announced since there is a technical reason behind each and every decision and this may also save time and money for the projects.

Work Process

As it is shown in Project Flow Chart and Work Flow, the work process has many different aspects to follow and many milestones to meet. For a typical project it is highly recommended for the Project Management in the EPC Company to identify the clients’ needs and expectations as early in the projects as possible. In that, there are a number of recommendations which may ease the identification process and provide a better ground to reach an agreement.

Designing and providing a template to define the scope: A sample format for SOR is provided to the EPC Company. The complete template is not included in this paper for confidentiality reasons but a snapshot of that can be found in Appendix 3. A lot of valuable questions are asked in the template which can be answered by both companies. It is important to engage the development team and the Operations in the investigation process so that everybody is aware of the decisions being taken in the early stages. Also, a gas analysis representative, a survey and a draft of the plot plan is a part of the suggested SOR template.

By use of the different tools described earlier in this paper we may provide technical support and evidence of each and every decision made in the SOR. For example, if it is decided to drill two wells and tie in to an existing line, we can easily go to Accumap and do a research on the available pipelines and the pipeline diameter and maximum operating pressure to support the decision and address it in the SOR. A HYSYS modeling will prove the feasibility and technically sound decision. The cost estimates can be provided based on these decisions and be checked with the PM Database to get the AFE and all other approvals.

Also, according to the flow chart in Appendix 1, regulatory department can easily start the appropriate application using the data provided in the agreed SOR and IFA package designed based on the agreements. No need to mention that all changes can be accommodated via an ECN (Engineering Change Note) and managed in agreement with the client.

Industry Input to the Process to the Practices and the Academic Support

After studying the industry best practices and we need to look into the findings and recommendation from academic perspective to provide finer conclusion. In this section I describe some of the best findings in the academic side to support the case. Lewis Ireland has discussed the role of a project manager in managing the customer’s expectations and requirements and relates it to the success of the project. Identifying a number of internal and external customers and clients, Ireland emphasizes that determining the interests and expectations of each customer in the project will establish a rational basis for fostering a cooperative environment for managing those expectations. Meeting those expectations or resolving differences between customers’ expectations will facilitate the continued progress of the project’s work toward building a quality product or service.

Alan Mendelssohn considers quality as an all-encompassing concept critical to project success. He describes four principles of quality management:

- Customer Satisfaction

- Plan-Do-Check-and-Act cycle

- Management by fact

- Respect for people

According to Mendelssohn the quality revolution is now focusing on process improvement in order to achieve client satisfaction. Rather than telling the customer what product or service the client needs, it is now necessary to find out what the customer wants and then concentrate on how that can be provided.

Two key factors learned n developing quality management systems are:

- Know your clients and their requirements or expectations

- Know your products and/or services

(Hartman 2001)

According to the above findings, we can now go back to the case study and dig a little more to see the areas applicable to the client’s needs in oil and gas projects in IMPROVE business unit. Creating a check list that is reflecting above requirements and also provides accurate input to the process provided in appendix 1 can help in this regard. A sample format as tried and suggested for tie-in projects can be found in appendix 2.

This spread sheet can be filled in early enough so the client can have enough time to provide the input and then make all changes that may occur afterwards. The biggest advantage of providing this format and asking the client to fill out (or in some cases fill for the client and send to them and ask for feedback) is to make the team, including the client and the engineering group, to think ahead of time and come up with all the needs and possible inventions.

Please see attachment 5 for Worley Parson’s feedback and input to the process.

Summary and Conclusions

In today’s competitive environment no organization can survive without systematically satisfying the needs and expectations of clients. That is why there is a shift in management policy of the more forward-looking and progressive organizations from a product to a customer focus. I have presented a simple approach designed to identify and communicate effectively clients’ requirements at the early definition phase of the projects. Examples of how to apply this process to real life oil and gas projects has also been presented. The process has been suggested to a leading engineering company in Alberta. The initial feedback have been highly positive and is promising a more clear understanding of clients’ needs and expectations by the EPC Company. I hope the application of the proposed methodology will greatly enhance the effectiveness of the project team both internally and externally during the implementation phase of the projects.


I would like to thank all the key personnel from WorleyParsons’ Talisman PRIME alliance who helped me gather relevant and valuable information in my study and gave their precious time to answer my questions and provided their expert opinion on the process. My special thanks go to the Project Delivery Manager, Mr. Greg Coady (PMP), who made it possible to get in touch with several project managers and use projects’ information when possible. Also, I would like to thank WorleyParsons’ Project Managers Ms. Shannon Graham (PENG) and Ms. Pamela Danyluk (PENG) for their unfailing attention to details and their kind attention during the whole process.


1. Hartman, F.T., Herrero, J.C., Ashrafi R.A. (2001); “How to Identify and Communicate Customer Needs and Expectations”; PMI’s 26th Annual Symposium, New Orleans.

2. Barkely, Bruce T. And Saylor, James H. (1994); “Customer Driven Project Management”, McGraw-Hill Inc., New York.

3. Cod, Kent A. (1998) “Project Work Plan Development”, PMI Seminar 1 Webinar, pp. 7-12.

4. WorleyParsons work processes and “Knowledge Base” web site.

5. HIS Website:

6. Aspen website:

7. WorleyParosns “Share Point”: not accessible to public.

ERCB requirements

Planning from vision/concept to approvals requires clear understanding and stewardship of the risks and the mitigation plan. Not all risks occur or mitigation strategies are effective and often risks and/ or strategies arise in a dynamic and changing environment throughout the project. Provide a plan to ensure that risk management is integrated into the project delivery process from the earliest stages of development through to completion and is a key element of our assurance process. Risk Management should be an active and ongoing process throughout all project phases. Effective early assessment and proactive management of uncertainty (both upside opportunities and downside threats) is essential in ensuring a successful project outcome.

Risk management is an essential and integral part of the project delivery process.

The Risk Management Plan (RMP) details the risk management activities that will be undertaken by the Project including the purpose, scope, process, responsibilities and extent of technical risk studies (quantitative studies). A key activity in the RMP is the project risk assessment. The assessment results in a Project Risk Register and Action Plan that identifies and ranks risks, mitigation actions and responsibilities for their implementation. The RMP is either referred to or included in the Project Execution Plan (PEP) as required. There are two types of formal Project Risk Assessments:

- Type 1 is a qualitative risk workshop with only Company attendees. The workshop should include consideration of particular risk factors directly impacting on Company interests and client interface/interaction.

- Type 2 is a qualitative risk workshop that includes Company and external stakeholders (including Clients). This workshop should address total project risks, but would not address issues that are particular to the Company.