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A Christmas Carol – Pipeline ecosystem edition

Season’s greetings from the Pipeline Ecosystem team

A Christmas Carol – Pipeline edition



The pipeline ecosystem team at DNV GL want to wish all their customers, followers, friends and acquaintances a very happy Christmas and holiday season. Wherever you are, whatever you may be doing at this season, we wish you and your families peace, happiness and good health.

We look forward to engaging with each one of you in 2019, but for now we leave you for 2018 with a seasonal tale…



Christmas Eve at Marley & Scrooge Pipelines

It was a crisp, cold, snowy Christmas Eve in Pipeville. The employees of Marley & Scrooge Pipelines were leaving the company HQ office on the run-down and otherwise abandoned industrial complex in the early evening. They were grumbling and discontent as they made their way home. This poor state of affairs for a Christmas Eve was fueled by the CEO Eb Scrooge, who had earlier vetoed the appeal for early release at 3pm. This, on top of a decision not to award Christmas bonus payments and then cancelling the office Christmas celebrations was the icing on the cake of their misery.

It was a thick icing at that, much thicker than on any cake that the employees of Marley & Scrooge pipelines could ever afford! Don’t let any of them get started on the other impacts upon their Christmas “celebrations” induced by the poor working condition at Marley & Scrooge. Some examples include, a turkey that looks like road-runner on a diet; the Christmas tree, which by any other standard is a stick; the Christmas stockings with a hole in them; and as for any new high tech digital gifts for their families and loved ones, these couldn’t be further from their reach.

The pipeline industry “bad boys”

Marley & Scrooge had a long history of being the “bad boys” of the pipeline industry. The low-cost, operating culture instilled by the founder, the late R Marley, had been maintained and indeed accentuated under the leadership of Eb Scrooge. Along with this came a history of many pipeline regulatory infractions alongside major incidents resulting in loss of life and catastrophic environmental consequences.

A repentant voice from the past

That night just as Eb Scrooge headed off to bed, he was visited by the spirit of Marley. He was shocked at the sight of Marley looking as if he had the weight of the world upon him. Weighed down by the money boxes shackled to his legs, Marley had not been able to escape the explosion that rocked his home, quickly enough, following one of the previous Marley & Scrooge pipeline failures. Marley had appeared that night to caution his former partner that he had to change his ways, or he could probably lose the company.

Pipeline past:  Guided by the ghost of Christmas past

As per the heads-up from Marley, before he would see Christmas morning Scrooge was visited by 3 ghostly spirits that Christmas Eve. The first was the ghost of Christmas past. The ghost took him to his school days where he was brought up in a countryside environment surrounded by pristine nature. He recalled the happy days with friends and his parents swimming in the lake and playing in the mowed hay fields. There was never a day’s threat to him, his family or friends in that idyllic world.

The ghostly spirit then whisked him forward a few years to when Scrooge was finding his way in the world. Educated at the best colleges and equipped with an MBA and working on a new pipeline project for Marley Pipelines. His friends and family are criticizing him for the choice of pipeline route he had advocated to help keep down construction costs. Marley Pipelines expanded its business and Eventually Scrooge became a partner in the company.

Pipeline present:  Guided by the ghost of Christmas present

Scrooge’s unsettled night continued when the ghost of Christmas present spirited him away to the place he grew up. Instead of the snow covered pristine nature and carefree children this time he witnessed an oil sodden ground. He saw teams of environmental recovery workers fighting to stop the spread of crude into the lake from the recently ruptured Marley & Scrooge pipeline. Not much Christmas cheer with families for these crews and the local children have lost their nature playground for the holidays. The spirit informs him that the fragile ecosystem will struggle to recover, and should another incident occur it would be a wasteland for many years. The spirit then introduces Scrooge to a residential neighborhood where there are many homes brightly decorated for the Christmas season. Nearby there is a sign indicating one of the Marley & Scrooge gas pipelines running adjacent to the homes. The spirit tells him to listen closely and an ominous voice begins to speak explaining that the pipeline is old and that it is maintained by two workers, Ignorance and Negligence. The spirit warns him that these could be the ruin of him and his company.

Pipeline future:  Guided by the ghost of Christmas yet-to-come

The ghost of Christmas yet-to-come then picks up Scrooge to take him for a glimpse into the future. Here Scrooge sees the headlines of the news proclaiming the bankruptcy of the Marley & Scrooge pipeline company and the arrest of its owners and senior executives. This occurred following the withdrawal of their investors who were seeing poor returns and being negatively impacted by the many environmental and safety incidents over the years, especially as the pipeline system aged towards the end of its design life.

The ghost then took him to a church nearby to the neighborhood where the ghost of Christmas present had taken him. From the church came sounds of singing, but in somber tones, not the happy and celebratory tones of a Christmas service. When Scrooge asks the spirit why the voices are so subdued, the spirit explains that it is a commemorative service for those that perished when the high-pressure gas pipeline had failed enshrouding the area in a deadly fireball. As they walked around the scene of destruction there were large groups of angry protesters. All were calling for the arrest of Scrooge for his negligence in the operation of the pipeline. The ghost implores Scrooge that the end does not have to be like this and disappears without adding more.

A new dawn awakens for Marley & Scrooge Pipelines

On Christmas morning Scrooge awakens feeling different than he had ever done previously. He took a stroll in the crisp Christmas morning air and contemplated his life and the position of his company. Envisaging what the homes of his employees were like that Christmas Day. Just what were the impacts that failed pipelines could have on the people and the environment? He thought of locations familiar to him personally and wondered how typical they were of those around the thousands of miles of pipeline corridors that Marley & Scrooge owned. His thoughts of course still dwelt upon the financial performance of his company and how viable it would continue to be.

Marley & Scrooge Pipelines go digital

Digital Pipeline Ecosystem

That afternoon, Scrooge purchased a laptop to replace his trusty abacus and sat down to research how others managed their pipelines, how they prevented incidents that impacted the lives of people and the environment. He was keen to learn how they achieved this and remained highly successful and profitable pipeline operators. Of course, he came across many opinions and many people who could provide small parts of what he needed to transform his company. However, when he visited dnvgl.com he found out about their pipeline ecosystem which addressed all his needs. It seemed the perfect fit to be a responsible pipeline owner by balancing economic, societal and environmental concerns. It introduced to Scrooge the concept of operating is a responsible and sustainable way.

Following his extending of the holiday for his employees, Scrooge started his New Year by calling the folks at DNV GL to find our more about their pipeline ecosystem solution. The rest is history for what has become one of the world’s best performing pipeline systems.

Back to the here and now…I wish you all a successful, safe and sustainable 2019.

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