Pipeline Safety Improves Over Five Years, Focuses on Community Engagement and Low-Carbon Solutions

(P&GJ) — The American Petroleum Institute (API) has recently published its annual 2023 Performance Report in collaboration with the Liquid Energy Pipeline Association (LEPA), showcasing the pipeline industry's ongoing dedication to safety, community involvement, and the pursuit of a low-carbon future.

Despite increases in pipeline mileage and the volume of barrels transported, the report reveals that pipeline safety has seen improvement across various key metrics over the past five years. It also provides updates on the 2023-2025 Pipeline Excellence Strategic Plan jointly identified by API and LEPA.

“With a goal of zero operating incidents, pipeline operators are devoted to continuous improvement,” API-LEPA Pipeline Safety Excellence Steering Committee Chair and President of ExxonMobil Pipeline Company Steven Yatauro said. “One area of focus has been pipeline operators’ commitment to improving meaningful public and community engagement resulting in the development of a first-of-its-kind industry recommended practice for pipeline public engagement.” 

Robin Rorick, API Vice President of Midstream Policy, stressed the importance of public engagement in maintaining pipeline safety and expanding energy infrastructure, especially as the industry advances emissions reduction efforts like hydrogen and carbon capture.

According to data from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) between 2019 and 2023:

  • Total pipeline incidents decreased by 23%, with 87 fewer incidents in 2023 compared to 2019.
  • Incidents impacting people or the environment decreased by 7%.
  • Operations and maintenance incidents affecting people or the environment declined by 54%.
  • Total equipment failure incidents impacting people or the environment dropped by 50%.

As the industry looks toward a sustainable energy future, the safe and responsible expansion of pipelines will play a crucial role in transporting low-carbon solutions such as carbon capture, hydrogen, and cleaner fuels like renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel. Operators are dedicated to increasing stakeholder awareness and engagement, with the implementation of API Recommended Practice (RP) 1185, Pipeline Public Engagement, aimed at facilitating meaningful dialogue throughout the lifespan of a pipeline.

The 2023 API-LEPA Pipeline Safety Excellence Performance Report is available for review here.

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