Safety Record

 

Key Performance Indicators

Pipelines are the safest way to transport liquid energy with 99.999% of barrels delivered by pipeline arriving at their destinations safely. However, no form of transportation is perfect and pipeline incidents can and do happen. 

Tracking how, where and why pipeline incidents occur helps pipeline operators and government regulators see how safely pipelines are operating and the reasons behind pipeline incidents when they occur. Pipeline operators use this data to design safety improvement programs. Particularly useful measures of pipeline safety examine incident size, location, commodity and cause. 

The liquids pipeline industry also tracks a core set of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) as a sign of overall pipeline safety performance. These KPIs are based primarily on incidents impacting the people or the environment (IPE). They were created through a collaborative effort between PHMSA, public safety advocates represented by the Pipeline Safety Trust and the liquids pipeline industry. They reflect the highest priority we place on protecting people and the environment.

Incidents Impacting People or the Environment

Pipeline incidents impacting people or the environment decreased 20% over the last 5 years. Total pipeline incidents were down as well, dropping 11% over 5 years with 51 fewer incidents in 2018 compared to 2014.
 

Integrity Management Incidents Impacting People or the Environment

Incidents related to the pipeline itself, such as corrosion, cracking or weld failure, were down 35% over the last 5 years in areas impacting people or the environment. In these areas, incidents caused by corrosion dropped 56% from 2014 to 2018.
 
 

Operations & Maintenance Incidents Impacting People or the Environment

Incidents related to installing and maintaining pipeline equipment and its valves or pumps were up 3% over the last 5 years in areas impacting people or the environment. In these areas, incidents caused by incorrect operation decreased by 38% while equipment failure increased 20% from 2014 to 2018.

 

Incidents by Cause

Over the last 5 years, corrosion (30%) was the most frequent cause of incidents impacting people or the environment, followed by equipment failure (22%), material pipe/weld failures (12%), incorrect operations (12%) and excavation incidents (10%).
 

Incidents by Commodity

n 2018, there were 56 crude oil and 34 refined products incidents impacting people or the environment.
 

Incidents by Location

In 2018, 74% of incidents from liquids pipelines were contained within an operator's property, such as pump stations, tank farms or terminals. Incidents impacting people or the environment represented 22% of liquids pipeline incidents, a 20% decrease over the last 5 years.
 

Incidents by Size

Most pipeline incidents are small in size. In 2018, 65% of the incidents were less than 5 barrels and 83% were less than 50 barrels. In 2018, only 6% of incidents were 500 barrels or larger.
 

 

 

Annual Performance Report

For more information on industry safety, read the API-AOPL Annual Pipeline Safety Excellence Performance Report.