Official Launch of the Pipeline Integrity Institute

Monday, April 27, 2015 | By Lindsay Cashin

APSC faculty members and administrators with leaders from PII partner organizations, depicted L – R: Richard Sones, Art Kanzaki, Dave Coffin, Michael Isaacson, Akram Alfantazi (PII Co-Director), Daan Maijer, Ken Paulson, Steve Hansen, Ziad Saad, Steve Kalny, Robert Jones, Graham Pryke, David Parker, Dharma Wijewickreme (PII Co-Director), David Hoff, Gary Johnson, James Olson, Marc Parlange (Dean, Faculty of Applied Science).

Initiated in 2014 as a response to the growing need for enhanced technology and expertise in the pipeline sector, the Pipeline Integrity Institute officially launched in April 2015.

With over 270,000 kilometers of pipeline being installed globally over the next five years, the need for additional technology understanding and qualified employees is significant over the foreseeable future.

Canada is an important leader in expertise and technology, moving the industry forward.  With this in mind, Professor Dharma Wijewickreme of UBC Civil Engineering and Professor Akram Alfantazi of UBC Materials Engineering, with support from industry and government partners, have spearheaded the UBC Pipeline Integrity Institute (PII). 

The goals of this institute are to:

  • Develop a strong foundation to address applied outcome research topics and to contribute with innovative technology solutions towards zero pipeline incident rate,
  • Provide qualified engineers and graduates that have an increased applied knowledge of the pipeline sector, and
  • Provide objective third-party analysis of new approaches to inform design/construction practices and regulatory framework.

Through the UBC PII, a series of courses constituting a new undergraduate specialization in pipeline engineering is being developed – thus, making the first ever Canadian undergraduate course offering to prepare students with the needed background to work on the real-life design, construction, and management topics in the sector.  Lecturers with industry and research experience will present the spectrum of courses.  The courses will be complemented by in-sector co-op and internship opportunities.  Pipeline Engineering I, the first of four courses, is being offered through the Faculty of Applied Science beginning in January 2015. 

On the innovation front, the Institute will undertake research on topics of direct engineering applicability to assure the integrity of pipelines.  Using the Advanced Soil Pipe Interaction (ASPIRe™) facility at UBC (see photograph), Professor Wijewickreme will undertake specific research work with the objective of reducing pipeline damage risks arising from geotechnical hazards, such as landslides or earthquake induced ground movements.  Professor Alfantazi will focus on materials engineering research to develop pipeline materials with increased strength and reduced susceptibility to corrosion, including improved pipeline coatings.  The overall focus is to generate research findings that will contribute to the integrity of pipelines and overall sector guidelines.

More on the launch from APSC.

Visit the Pipeline Integrity Institute online: