Report Documents Pipeline Safety: 99.999% Liquids Delivered Safely

AOPLTwo week ago the Association of Oil Pipe Lines (AOPL) released a new report documenting liquids pipeline safety performance and outlining industry-wide efforts to improve pipeline safety in 2016 and beyond. “2016 API-AOPL Annual Liquids Pipeline Safety Excellence Performance Report & Strategic Plan” (full copy below) was developed jointly by AOPL and the American Petroleum Institute (API), and it highlights pipeline safety trends over the last five years. In short, pipelines are THE safest form of transportation period. The report finds that 99.999% of crude oil and petroleum products (like gasoline) that are piped reach their final destination safely. Essentially everything makes it to where it’s going safely, contrary to the wild claims by anti-fossil fuel nutters. The Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) quotes from the report in a recent press release to support a number of proposed pipeline projects in the Marcellus/Utica…

From the MSC:

The pipelines that enable the safe transportation of America’s clean-burning natural gas resources also create and support good jobs as well as affordable energy for consumers and manufacturers. As MSC president Dave Spigelmyer wrote recently in a Delaware Co. Times column, “To fully capitalize on our region’s abundant, clean-burning natural gas resources we must remain laser-focused on safely expanding the critical pipeline infrastructure.”

Pipelines are also by far the safest manner to transport oil and natural gas products, as a recent report confirms that 99.999% of crude oil and petroleum products delivered via pipelines reached their final destination safely.

Key takeaways from the new report:

* Continued Pipeline Growth: 207,800 miles of liquids pipeline cross America delivering crude oil, refined petroleum products and natural gas liquids, a 13% increase over the last 5 years.

* Strong Safety Record: 99.999% of crude oil and petroleum products delivered by pipeline reach their destination safely.

– Incidents down: Pipeline incidents potentially impacting people or the environment outside of operator facilities are down 52% since 1999.

– Less corrosion: Corrosion caused pipeline incidents potentially impacting people or the environment outside of operator facilities are down 68% since 1999.

* $2.2B Safety Investment: Liquids pipeline operators reported spending $2.2B evaluating, inspecting and performing maintenance on their pipeline systems in 2014, the most recent year of operator inspection and maintenance data.

Here’s what they’re saying:

* “Pipelines are Safest, Most Effective Way to Transport Natural Gas”: To fully capitalize on our region’s abundant, clean-burning natural gas resources we must remain laser-focused on safely expanding the critical pipeline infrastructure – with projects like PennEast, Mariner East II, Atlantic Sunrise, Constitution, Atlantic Coast, Mountain Valley, as well as many others — needed to deliver affordable, clean energy to consumers, families and manufacturers, as well as allies abroad. … To fully realize shale’s economic and environmental benefits, pipeline modernization and expansion is mission critical. Just as cars and trains need roads and tracks, needs a strong, reliable infrastructure network to connect consumers, manufacturers, and power generators with our abundant energy resources. Pipelines are the absolute safest and most effective way to transport natural gas. This continued infrastructure growth will directly boost Pa.’s economy by creating tens of thousands of good-paying jobs, especially for the region’s talented and hardworking union and building trades members. (Delaware Co. Times column, 8/22/16)

* Labor Leader: “Mariner East 2 Will Provide Necessary Energy Infrastructure and Jobs”: In recent years, has experienced a resurgence in its manufacturing sector thanks to the continued development of the Marcellus and Utica shale regions. While this is a positive development, we now must develop more pipeline infrastructure to safely transport our energy resources from the fields to consumers. One infrastructure project that will help is Mariner East 2, which will carry natural gas liquids from Western Pa. to the Marcus Hook Industrial Complex in southeastern Pa.. Construction will create as many as 31,000 living-wage jobs, and its parent company, Sunoco Logistics, is committed to hiring skilled, local workers along the pipeline route. … Using local trades on pipeline infrastructure ensures that the most-qualified, best-trained professionals are hired to safely build the pipeline. It also ensures that the pipeline will meet and exceed state and federal regulations. (Post-Gazette letter, 8/18/16)

* Business, Labor and Local Leaders Tout Economic Benefits of a Planned Pipeline: Studies have shown that the Mariner East 2 pipeline project would create 30,000 indirect and direct jobs during its construction phase and generate about $4.2B in economic activity, said Joseph Kirk, executive director of the Mon Valley Alliance. “It’s the perfect balance that uses the power of energy while ensuring we protect our environment,” Kirk said. To Chris Petrone, legislative director of the International Union of Operating Engineers in Monroeville, the natural gas industry has meant the difference between employment and unemployment for 10 to 20% of the organization’s 7,000 members. “Sunoco is committed to hiring local labor,” Petrone said. (Tribune-Review, 8/18/16)

* Construction Begins On $500M Natural Gas-Fueled Power Plant: A Nebraska-based energy company has begun building a $500M natural gas-fueled power plant in western Pa. A groundbreaking ceremony for the Tenaska Westmoreland Generating Station was held on Wednesday. The plant, which is located about 25 miles southeast of Pgh., is expected to produce enough electricity to power about 925,000 homes. State Sec. of Community and Economic Development Dennis Davin says the plant will stimulate the economy and create jobs. (Associated Press, 8/25/16)

* Local Pipeline a “Major Step Forward for Pa.’s Energy Future”: The Sunbury Pipeline is being built by UGI Energy Services. It will begin in Lycoming Co. and travel 35 miles to feed into the Hummel Station power plant. … The plant is projected to come online in early 2018 and power approximately 1M homes. … “The Sunbury Pipeline Project represents an incremental step forward for Pa. natural gas infrastructure and a major step forward for Pa.’s energy future,” UGI Energy Services President Brad Hall said. “UGI is excited to continue its more than century-long tradition of putting natural gas to work for Pa. by fueling the state-of-the-art Hummel Station along with enhancing local natural gas supplies.” (StateImpact PA, 8/24/16)

* “Natural Gas is Crucial to a Clean-Energy Future”: Vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine has said that America has advanced leaps and bounds in cutting GHGs “because of innovations in the natural gas area.” EPA Admin. Gina McCarthy herself observed that natural gas has been “a game changer with our ability to really move forward with pollution reductions.” The consensus emerging around expansion of natural gas is crucial as we strive to reach the ambitious climate goals … Obama’s top science adviser said such an extreme position was “unrealistic” … In addition to natural gas and nuclear, I support the use of renewables like wind, solar and hydro as clean-energy sources — and as the leader of an international trade union, we work throughout the energy sector on every type of infrastructure project. However, renewables aren’t capable of shouldering the full burden of our energy needs right now. … Environmentalists, energy advocates, laborers and policymakers — all of us — must come together and coalesce around a realistic, fact-based energy policy — one that includes natural gas — if we are ever going to achieve a cleaner energy future. (Oklahoman op-ed, 8/28/16)

* Natural Gas and Renewables Work “Hand-In-Hand”: “Turns out wind and solar have a secret friend: natural gas,” read the headline on The Washington Post report on a new study. The research showed how integrating more renewable energy sources into electric grids goes hand in hand with more natural gas-fired power. … It seems like a no-brainer that maintaining reliability on a grid powered by wind turbines and solar panels requires fast-reacting power sources that can be turned on when the wind isn’t blowing or the sun isn’t shining. … “We’re a partner there — we’re not an opponent,” MSC President Dave Spigelmyer told WPGP radio. “Natural gas is the most important partner renewables have.” … But you can’t have one without the other, according to the researchers quoted in the Post story. (Tribune-Review, 8/22/16)

* Mariner East: A Pipeline to Prosperity: As a specific example of the infrastructure we need all across the nation, I support the Mariner East 2 pipeline, which will enhance reliability and improve access to the massive shale gas reserves in Pa. This project deserves our support because it does a good job of balancing our energy needs with our nation’s environmental and conservation goals. By permitting the Mariner East 2 project, will see an influx of private investment, tax dollars and much-needed job creation. It represents a $3 billion investment in Pa.’s economy, creating more than 30,000 jobs during construction and up to 400 permanently upon operation. Access to affordable, reliable natural gas means lower energy costs for families, more opportunity for businesses and valuable raw materials for farmers, construction, cars and other products made locally. Because of this, homeowners, retirees, businesses and those living on fixed incomes will enjoy lower utility prices. (Tribune-Review letter, 8/21/16)

* LiUNA Leader: “Seize the Opportunity” of Shale: By tapping the wealth of natural gas reserves beneath our feet, not only can we meet the state’s rising energy demand, but it will allow us to be better stewards of our air and water for future generations. Natural gas burns twice as cleanly as high-carbon energy sources and is a natural resource of which we have an abundance. We should seize the opportunity of living near the Marcellus Shale formation and embrace this energy source as a common-sense tool to help our state curb greenhouse gas emissions. … Natural gas is the cost-effective, reliable and pragmatic answer. … With a safe and skilled workforce and responsible contractors, natural gas infrastructure can be built in a way that preserves the environment. When standards are met, not only is natural gas infrastructure a safe and effective way to keep our lights on but also a meaningful way to create good jobs with benefits and training that lead to construction careers that will keep food on the tables of working families across Pa.. Projects such as these would add $3 billion to the state’s economy and create nearly 17,000 good jobs – but possibly more importantly, they also improve quality of life for all Pennsylvanians, including some of the most vulnerable. (Tribune Democrat op-ed, 8/20/16) (1)

A quick overview from the AOPL on their new report:

Today, the Association of Oil Pipe Lines (AOPL) released a new report documenting liquids pipeline safety performance and outlining industry-wide efforts to improve pipeline safety in 2016 and beyond. The 2016 API-AOPL Annual Liquids Pipeline Safety Excellence Performance Report & Strategic Plan, developed jointly by AOPL and the American Petroleum Institute (API), highlights pipeline safety trends over the last five years.

“Large pipeline incidents, those over 500 barrels, are down 32% over the last 5 years,” said Andy Black, AOPL President and CEO.

The report covers transmission pipelines delivering crude oil, refined petroleum products like gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and home heating oil, and natural gas liquids like propane and ethane used in factories and on farms. Report highlights include:

• Incidents per mile larger than 500 barrels decreased by 32%
• 99.999% of crude oil and petroleum products delivered by pipeline reach their destination safely
• Pipeline incidents potentially impacting people or the environment outside of operator facilities are down 52% since 1999
• Corrosion caused pipeline incidents potentially impacting people or the environment outside of operator facilities are down 68% since 1999
• In 2015, 65% of pipeline incident releases were less than 5 barrels
• 16.2 billion barrels of crude oil and petroleum products delivered by pipeline in 2014 (the most recent year data is available), a 20% increase since 2010
• 207,800 miles of liquids pipeline cross America delivering crude oil, refined petroleum products and natural gas liquids, a 13% increase over the last 5 years

The Pipeline Safety Performance chapter provides further information analyzing the industry-wide safety record, including where performance is improving and which areas hold challenges. This in-depth examination of safety performance not only allows industry to gauge progress, but also helps prioritize safety efforts.

This report also outlines the specific industry-wide actions liquids pipeline operators are taking to improve pipeline safety and reduce the number of pipeline incidents. Pipeline operators are not standing by or waiting for new safety requirements. Instead, pipeline operators are pushing forward with new technologies to keep pipelines safe, new methods for inspecting, monitoring, building, and performing preventative maintenance on pipelines, and new systems for managing pipeline safety programs.

The Pipeline Safety Improvement chapter describes goals for improving pipeline safety and Strategic Initiatives the pipeline industry will undertake toward those goals. To help shape these, each year the pipeline industry reaches out to stakeholders, including federal and state regulators and safety advocates, to gain their perspective on improving pipeline safety. AOPL and API also reviewed past safety performance data, safety expert recommendations, regulatory advisories, and our own lessons learned from experience operating pipeline systems. Strategic Initiatives developed for 2016 focus on advancing in-line inspection “smart pig” technology and enhancing pipeline emergency response and planning, as well as support implementation of new industry-wide recommended practices for these focuses: safety management systems; detecting, analyzing and responding to potential pipeline cracking and managing leak detection programs. The report may be found at: http://www.aopl.org/news-publicpolicy/reports-2/2016-performance-report/. (2)

(1) Marcellus Shale Coalition (Aug 30, 2016) – Natural Gas Infrastructure Key to Realizing Shale’s Opportunity

(2) Association of Oil Pipe Lines (Aug 18, 2016) – New Report Documents Pipeline Safety Improvements

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