Liquids Pipeline Industry Testifies On Safety Improvements

July 14, 2015

Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, Andy Black, President and CEO of the Association of Oil Pipe Lines (AOPL), testified on pipeline safety issues before a hearing of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee Energy and Power Subcommittee. Black’s testimony focused on the safety performance record of the liquids pipeline industry and industry-wide efforts to improve pipeline safety.

“Pipelines are an exceedingly safe way to deliver the energy America needs with more than 99.999 percent of barrels of crude oil and petroleum products delivered safely by pipeline,” said Black.

The hearing, entitled “Oversight of the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011 and Related Issues,” heard testimony from liquids and natural gas pipeline operators. Black delivered testimony on behalf of both AOPL and the American Petroleum Institute (API).

Black shared key measures of liquids pipeline safety performance at the hearing. Since 1999, liquids pipeline incidents impacting the public or environment are down 50%. Corrosion caused pipeline incidents are down 76% since 1999. Barrels released from liquids pipeline incidents PHMSA categorizes as significant are down approximately 50% over the last 20 years. Reflecting the priority they continue to place on safety, liquids pipeline operators together spent more than $2.2 billion evaluating, inspecting and maintaining their pipelines in 2014.

Black also described the Pipeline Safety ExcellenceTM initiative launched in 2013 to improve industry-wide pipeline safety performance. Numerous industry-wide groups, many shepherded by the API, with whom AOPL works closely on safety issues, are developing pipeline safety best practices and improvement tools in areas of leak detection, integrity management, operations, worker qualifications, control room management, public awareness and emergency response.

Examples of recent industry-wide pipeline safety improvement successes include development, at the recommendation of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board and in partnership with the U.S. Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, state pipeline regulators and natural gas and liquids pipeline operators, of an industry-wide recommended practice API 1173 for Pipeline Safety Management Systems. This safety tool will allow pipeline operators to better manage the numerous pipeline safety efforts within their companies comprehensively and holistically.

Black also discussed new pipeline specific emergency response tools, including a free, online pipeline emergency response training course for local first responders. These efforts recently earned AOPL and API this year’s Norman Y. Mineta Excellence in Transportation Safety Award from the National Association of State Fire Marshals.