August 2021, Vol. 246, No. 8

Features

Report Shows Pipeline Safety Improvement

Liquids pipeline incidents affecting people or the environment decreased 38% over the last five years, while total pipeline incidents were down 21%, according to government pipeline safety data.   

The findings are part of the 2020 Pipeline Safety Excellence Performance Report released today by the American Petroleum Institute (API) and Association of Oil Pipe Lines (AOPL) using publicly available safety data from the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).   

“Pipeline safety improved last year and over the last five years even with the challenges we all faced with COVID,” said Todd Denton, president of Phillips 66 Pipeline LLC and chair of the industry-wide API-AOPL Pipeline Safety Excellence Steering Committee. “Performance improved across nearly every metric, reflecting our industry’s strong commitment to safely and reliably delivering the energy resources that American households and businesses depend on every day.”    

This year’s report highlights positive trends across key performance indicators identified by federal and state regulators, public safety advocates and industry operators. Based on government data made available from PHMSA:   

Liquids pipeline incidents affecting people or the environment decreased 38% over the last five years, while total pipeline incidents were down 21%.  

Over the last year, total liquids pipeline incidents and pipeline incidents affecting people or the environment are down 13%.  

Pipeline incidents affecting people or the environment caused by corrosion, cracking or weld failure decreased 54% over the last five years.  

Operations and maintenance incidents affecting people or the environment declined 27% between 2016 and 2020.   

In addition to information on liquids pipeline safety performance, the report also describes the industry-wide actions pipeline operators are taking to improve pipeline safety.   

Under the 2020–2022 Strategic Plan accompanying the Performance Report, the pipeline industry is promoting organizational excellence, harnessing technology and innovation, increasing stakeholder awareness and engagement, and improving emergency response preparedness.  

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