Towards the formal reliability analysis of oil and gas pipelines
Salah Hamdi, Mohammad
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It is customary to assess the reliability of underground oil and gas pipelines in the presence of excessive loading and corrosion effects to ensure a leak-free transport of hazardous materials. The main idea behind this reliability analysis is to model the given pipeline system as a Reliability Block Diagram (RBD) of segments such that the reliability of an individual pipeline segment can be represented by a random variable. Traditionally, computer simulation is used to perform this reliability analysis but it provides approximate results and requires an enormous amount of CPU time for attaining reasonable estimates. Due to its approximate nature, simulation is not very suitable for analyzing safety-critical systems like oil and gas pipelines, where even minor analysis flaws may result in catastrophic consequences. As an accurate alternative, we propose to use a higher-order-logic theorem prover (HOL) for the reliability analysis of pipelines. As a first step towards this idea, this paper provides a higher-order-logic formalization of reliability and the series RBD using the HOL theorem prover. For illustration, we present the formal analysis of a simple pipeline that can be modeled as a series RBD of segments with exponentially distributed failure times.