Unexpected events and failures can result in casualties, environmental damage, property or equipment damage, business losses, regulatory consequences, and reputational damage. Clients use RSI Pipeline Solutions’ root cause failure analysis (RCFA) services to identify systemic causes of incidents and to develop effective solutions to prevent their recurrence. RSI Pipeline Solutions applies various techniques to not only identify the direct cause of an incident but to also identify the underlying root causes and contributing factors.

The Challenge

Pipeline Rupture

A pipeline ruptured releasing product to the environment and resulted in several weeks of down time.  The influence of the pipeline materials, operating parameters, and maintenance & inspection practices were evaluated to determine the root cause of the rupture and identify effective solutions so that the company, the public, and regulators could be assured of a safe restart of the pipeline.

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Define RCFA Goals & Site Visit

Our RCFA experts collaborated closely with the client to preserve evidence, identify laboratories for testing failed components, define clear RCFA goals, and establish the core investigative team.


We conducted a series of interviews with personnel and contractors knowledgeable about the pipeline to understand potential issues. The interviews provided us with crucial insights that shaped the investigation.

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Data Collection & Analysis

Our team collected hundreds of documents related to key aspects of the investigation including metallurgical failure analyses, relevant procedures, specifications, forms, data logs, inspection and test results, repairs, among others. We also performed finite element analyses to better understand relevant stresses acting in the area of the rupture.

Identify Root Causes & Develop Solutions

Cause and effect trees and barrier analyses were used by our team to determine the root causes and develop effective solutions for the client to implement. The results of the investigation were presented to the regulator.

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RSI’s Solution

The investigation revealed that the direct cause of the rupture was a manufacturing issue. In cooperation with the client, RSI delivered a comprehensive root cause analysis which identified multiple causal and contributing factors related to process conditions, inspection scope & frequency, record-keeping, and training.  Several recommendations were provided that are in the process of being implemented by the client.