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Topic 48 (sub-branch): Safety issues during transportation and distribution of oil and gas.

victor.adukwu's picture

Pipeline is a safe and reliable mode of transportation and distribution of oil and gas. It is also an economical and dependable mode of transportation particularly to the sensitive and strategic areas where vessels cannot access easily. It provides a long term infrastructural option and solves difficulties in handling large volume of products by rail from one loading point to another and therefore reduces minimum transit loss.
Technically speaking, safety issues related to the transportation of oil and gas shoul be taken care of, during the design and installation stage by recommended code and standard like ASME, API, DNV and ISO, although they all have different safety factor with DNV codes been the most stringent. These code and standards usually address issues arising from occasional load, operational load, thermal expansion load etc and road/railway crossing.
The safety issues that arise during transportation and distribution of oil and gas are mainly due to human factors. These factors could be negligence of maintenance personnel, terrorist attack, activities of non engineering professional around an oil and gas facility etc.


Richard Sedafor's picture

The transportation of oil and gas  and its associated health and safety risk is of major concern to all. Indeed, Oil and gas is a major energy provider for the world and hence its produced in huge volumes everyday and conveyed through various means such as by pipeline, rail, road, and by ship to destinations for refinery and for use.

According to available statistics, transportation of oil and gas by pipeline is the safest. It has recorded a few accidents than other means of transporting the same product. Between 2002 and 2009, the Canadian oil and gas industry had 99.9998% of their oil and gas transported safely to refineries and points of distribution[1]. Experiences from the transportation of oil and gas for about 500,000 miles across the United States for more than 70 years shows that comparatively pipeline transportation is the safest.[2]

However some fatalities that have occurred in the transportation of oil and gas through pipelines have mostly been through greed or negligence on the part of people who injured or killed in the incident. For example in December 11th, 1998, a worker crew punched an underground natural gas pipeline in st cloud, Minn and it caused the death of 4 people and injured 11 others. Failures due to corrosion, ageing, welding defects and so on do occur but are comparatively less hazardous to humans and the environment than failures of other means of transportation of oil and gas.  

Therefore, looking at available statistics, it is rare to have failures of oil and gas pipelines. Transporting oil and gas by pipelines and not by trucks also means that carbon emissions are reduced resulting in a relative reduction in global warming.




xenios.ze's picture

The onshore Gas pipelines are being
inspected in order to be ensured that the condition of them is good and there
is neither corrosion nor a leak that could cause a major accident in the
future. Also the gas pipelines are inspected in order to guarantee that
population encroachment has not become an issue and excavation activities are
not taking place near to the installed pipelines.

Those inspections activities are
conducted by the following three methods: In-Line-Inspection (ILI), Pressure
Testing, or Direct Assessment. Those three techniques have fundamental
differences on their application, nevertheless those methods provide to the operators
detailed and comprehensive information about the condition of the pipelines and
whether they need to be replaced.

Xenios Zenieris

MSC Oil and Gas engineering


American Gas Association


faizakhatri's picture

 In line with   Xenios Zenieris and other class mates.  I would like to add some points. In recent days a technology of "Smart LDAR is very famous in oil and gas transportation and distribution network   for detection of leakage still more research carry on. In my opinion it is also necessary that for safest operation communication of risks and hazards to workers is the best way to prevent accident/incidents. Two more techniques event tree analysis (ETA) and fault tree analysis (FTA) would helpful for investigates the combination of circumstances and failures with risk control measures. Can help to design transport network more powerful and try to remove, or mitigate potential hazards Reference: khatri M.Sc oil and gas engineering 

Uchenna Onyia's picture

I agree with Victor in the fact the pipeline transport of crude products is a safe method of transportation.  But it has ite inherent problems.  Issues like Hydarte (in gas transport), wax (for oil), heat transfer issues, slugging in the pipeline due to multiphase flow and corrosion make it an expesnive venture for the oil and gas sector.  All these issues have to be contended with especially for long distances so as to prevent pollution of the environment.

uchenna onyia 51232632

Agba A. Imbuo's picture

There is no doubt that pipeline transportation are the quickest, safest and cost effective means of conveying oil and Gas from one location to another but there are inherent problems associated with it. These problems include Asphaltenes, wax, hydrates formation and the majority of it as a result of pipeline vandalism. According to a report on pipeline vandalism made by Shell Petroleum Development Company in the Niger-Delta region of Nigeria, there was a reported 22 spills between January and February 2011 from vandalism. This issue has resulted to a loss of an estimated N105billion naira yearly.  These figures have made the transportation within the region unsafe but this can be improved if greater attention is focused on improving security.


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