This conference provides a forum for exchange of technical and operational information across a wide range of pipeline activities. Various supply and distribution industries, and their service organisations, have traditionally approached pipeline systems from many different perspec tives. The organisers believe that significant benefits can be gained by enabling representatives from the oil, gas, water, chemical, power and related industries to present their latest ideas and methods. An awareness of these alternative methodologies and technologies should result in a more unified and coherent approach to each individual type of pipeline system. The overall theme of the conference is the optimisation of pipeline systems, through design analysis, component specification, operational strategies and performance evaluation, in order to minimise both risk and the lifetime cost of ownership. Wherever possible emphasis is given to important developing technologies with special consideration to use of computational equipment and methods. SYSTEMS APPROACH For the major activities of design, operation and performance; pipeline systems can be conveniently classified in terms of the systetV: components, constraints and objectives. These are described using fluid terminology, to suit' the majority of conference participants, as given below: Components consist of pumps and valves (controls), pipe networks (transmission and distribu tion), reservoirs (storage) and consumer demands (disturbances). The arrangement of these components, to form the system, must take into account the conflicting requirements of structural, hydraulic, and cost, performance.