Why are pipelines the best, safest way to transport oil and gas?
Susie asked this question on May 30, 2018.
Pipelines are the safest way to transport energy products for a variety of reasons.
For starters, they are purpose-built to carry commodities like oil, gas and refined products. Pipeline companies take active preventative measures to ensure that safety, security, health and environmental concerns are addressed at every step of the lifecycle—planning and design, construction, and operation (see our Pipeline Lifecycle interactive webpage for more detailed information).
Pipeline companies also conduct ongoing “integrity management” programs in the areas of evaluation, inspection and maintenance. Pipeline operators also actively research new inspection and prevention technologies. As a result, the number of significant pipeline incidents has dropped 32% since 2011, according to the American Petroleum Institute and the Association of Oil Pipelines.
While long-haul oil and gas pipelines are also more economical and environmentally friendly than other modes of transport like rail or trucking (pipelines create 61 to 77% less greenhouse gas emissions than rail when moving crude over long distances, says one recent study), they also have a safe delivery rate of greater than 99.999%. Enbridge, for example, moved more than 22 billion barrels of crude oil and liquids from 2008 through 2017, with a decade-long safe delivery record of 99.99966%.
You can find out more about Enbridge's safety program here.