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Russian Views on Countering Terrorism During Eight Years of Dialogue: Extracts from Proceedings of Four U.S.-Russian Workshops The Problem of Oil and Natural Gas Pipeline Security* S. G. Serebryakov, Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Oil and Gas Problems The natural gas produced in Russia is transported through major gas pipelines linked to Russia’s Unified Natural Gas Supply System (see Figure 15-1), the largest such system in the world. The total length of all pipelines in the system, which belongs to the Open Joint-Stock Company Gazprom, is 156,300 kilometers. It includes 268 compressor stations with a total of 4,078 pumping units with a 44.8 million kilowatt capacity, as well as 3,818 natural gas distribution stations. As of December 31, 2005, the average length of service for major natural gas pipelines was 22 years. Their stable operation is ensured thanks to the introduction of progressive methods for diagnostics, scheduled maintenance, and repairs. Gazprom is implementing a comprehensive program for reconstruction and technical upgrading of natural gas transmission lines, compressor stations, and underground storage facilities for the period 2007-2010. The primary goals of the program are to improve the efficiency of the gas transmission system, ensure the transport of planned volumes of gas and the reliable operation of the transmission system, and improve the industrial and environmental safety of all its components. The Unified System is today operating at full capacity. In 2005, Gazprom * Translated from the Russian by Kelly Robbins.
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Russian Views on Countering Terrorism During Eight Years of Dialogue: Extracts from Proceedings of Four U.S.-Russian Workshops FIGURE 15-1 Russia’s Unified Natural Gas Supply System.
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Russian Views on Countering Terrorism During Eight Years of Dialogue: Extracts from Proceedings of Four U.S.-Russian Workshops FIGURE 15-2 Planned routes of major natural gas pipelines. extracted 547.9 billion cubic meters of natural gas. Taking into account independent producers and those from the Central Asian states, the system transported a total of 699.7 billion cubic meters of natural gas. Even today its transmission capacity needs to be increased by 35 billion cubic meters, with further increases necessary in the future, given that by 2020 Gazprom plans to extract 580-590 billion cubic meters of natural gas with up to an additional 170 billion cubic meters from independent producers. The planned routes of the major gas pipelines are shown in Figure 15-2. The 24 underground natural gas storage facilities located in areas of major gas demand are an essential element of the Unified System. They make it possible to handle seasonal fluctuations in natural gas demand, reduce peak system loads, and ensure flexible and reliable gas transmission. Three underground storage facilities are under construction, including one near Volgograd that will be the largest of its kind in Europe, with a volume of 800 million cubic meters and a daily output capacity of 70 million cubic meters. With a total length of more than 46,000 kilometers, the Transneft company’s unified system of major oil pipelines (see Figure 15-3) transports 99.5 percent of all oil produced in Russia both to refineries and for export to the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States, Poland, Germany, Slovakia, and Hungary through the Druzhba oil pipeline system and through deep-water oil transfer terminals on the Black and Baltic seas. Transneft serves a territory twice as large as
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Russian Views on Countering Terrorism During Eight Years of Dialogue: Extracts from Proceedings of Four U.S.-Russian Workshops FIGURE 15-3 Unified system of major oil pipelines of Transneft and nearby foreign countries.
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Russian Views on Countering Terrorism During Eight Years of Dialogue: Extracts from Proceedings of Four U.S.-Russian Workshops that of the U.S. oil supply system and provides transport services to oil-producing enterprises in the republics of Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan. At the end of 2005, the total length of Russia’s major pipelines was more than 231,000 kilometers, including the following: Major natural gas pipelines: 161,100 kilometers Major oil pipelines: 49,000 kilometers Major refined product pipelines: 19,500 kilometers Ammonia pipelines: 1,400 kilometers All of these facilities present a significant danger to personnel, the public, and the environment. A report submitted in 2005 by the Russian Federal Service for Environmental, Technological, and Nuclear Oversight (FSETNO) shows that the following factors present the primary threats to the integrity of major pipeline transmission facilities: Intensive development of stress corrosion processes on large-diameter major natural gas pipelines due to deterioration of the protective sealant coating the pipelines, which were constructed 15 or more years ago. Whereas from 1991 through 1996, the rate of accidents due to this cause was about one-fourth of all accidents in the Gazprom system; from 1998 through 2003, accidents due to this cause represented one-third of the total; and in 2005 this figure was already more than 50 percent. Significant growth in the number of cases of unauthorized connections to oil and petroleum product pipelines with the aim of stealing the products being transported. This increase in thefts has been particularly acute in the republics of Dagestan and Chechnya; Samara, Nizhny Novgorod, and Saratov oblasts; and Stavropol and Krasnodar territories. Accidents due to shoddy construction and installation work resulting from the lack of an effective system of technical monitoring of design specification compliance during intensive construction of major pipeline transport facilities in the 1970s and 1980s. An analysis conducted by FSETNO of the results of investigations of accidents occurring in 2005 is presented in Table 15-1. Table 15-2 presents FSETNO’s analysis of accident and injury statistics for major pipeline transport operations for 2005 compared with the same figures for 2004. The most significant accidents in 2005 were those at the Petrovsk-Yelets main natural gas pipeline on January 18, 2005, and the Khadyzhensk-Psekupskaya-Krasnodar main oil pipeline on August 7, 2005. On January 18, 2005, the major natural gas pipeline Petrovsk-Yelets (built
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Russian Views on Countering Terrorism During Eight Years of Dialogue: Extracts from Proceedings of Four U.S.-Russian Workshops TABLE 15-1 Results of Investigations of Accidents in 2005 Cause Natural Gas Pipelines Oil Pipelines Product Pipelines Total 1. External mechanical impacts, including 3 12 5 20 Cutting – 8 1 9 Construction equipment 3 4 4 11 Terrorism – – – – 2. Corrosion damage 14 – – 14 3. Shoddy construction or installation work 3 2 - 5 4. Operator error 1 - 1 2 5. Defective parts or materials received from manufacturer 2 2 – 4 Total 19 13 3 45 TABLE 15-2 Accident and Fatal Injury Rates for Major Pipeline Operations in 2004 and 2005 Pipelines Number of accidents Number of fatalities due to injury 2004 2005 +/− 2004 2005 +/− Natural gas pipelines 29 19 −10 2 2 0 Oil pipelines 19 13 −6 3 2 −1 Refined product pipelines 0 3 +3 1 – –1 Total 48 45 −13 6 4 2 Total length of pipelines (in thousands of km) 231 231 0 in 1981 and owned by Gazprom and the Mostransgaz Limited Liability Society) suffered damage at its 316-kilometer mark that blew out 55 meters of pipe and caused the gas to ignite. The accident resulted from the formation during pipeline operations of lengthwise cracks in the surface of the pipe, which, at the moment of the accident, failed to provide the expected stability and led to the pipeline segment being destroyed. The economic impact of the accident was 3,710,900 rubles.1 On August 7, 2005, the Khadyzhensk-Psekupskaya-Krasnodar main oil pipeline began discharging oil into the Chiby Canal at its 80-kilometer mark in the Republic of Adygeya. The accident was caused by thieves making unauthorized
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Russian Views on Countering Terrorism During Eight Years of Dialogue: Extracts from Proceedings of Four U.S.-Russian Workshops access to the pipeline to steal oil. The costs of dealing with the accident and its consequences totaled 3,732,185.54 rubles.2 To ensure the industrial safety of the major pipeline transport facilities of Gazprom, Transneft, and Transnefteprodukt, the Comprehensive Programs for Facility Diagnostics, Technical Upgrades, Reconstruction, and Major Repairs have been developed and coordinated with FSETNO and are currently being implemented. It must be noted that protecting pipelines from terrorism has taken on increasing significance in recent years, particularly after September 11, 2001. The results of FSETNO inspections in 2005 of the level to which hazardous production facilities are protected against terrorist acts showed that on the whole, all enterprises with such facilities have developed a system of measures to prevent terrorist acts and have made agreements with specialized services to protect them. The grounds of the most important facilities are surrounded by fences or other protective barriers. Meanwhile, many facilities (wells, pipelines, and so forth) are unprotected; therefore, measures are in place for them to be patrolled regularly. All facilities are equipped with telephone hotlines directly connected to emergency services and security dispatch centers. Plans for new hazardous facilities include the installation of external video observation centers. Individual terrorist acts have been carried out against pipelines in Russia, primarily during the period of military actions in Chechnya. On April 15, 1996, a bombing severed a major natural gas pipeline 1,200 millimeters in diameter on the left bank of the Terek River in Shelkovskaya Region in the Republic of Chechnya. When the explosive device was detonated near where the gas pipeline emerges from underground, the entire pipeline was blown off its supports. The blast produced a crater 33 by 29 meters in area and 10 meters deep. The pipeline break led to a fire that burned a total of 25,000 square meters on both banks of the Terek River. On June 14, 1999, sabotage caused an accident at the 124-kilometer mark on the linear portion of the Grozny-Baku main oil pipeline, which is owned by the Open Joint-Stock Company Chernomortransneft and the Stock Company Transneft. Placed in service in 1983, the Grozny-Baku oil pipeline has an operating pressure of 4.3 megapascals and transports a mixture of Azerbaijani and Dagestani oil. The raised segment of the pipeline at its 124-kilometer mark in the Yaryk-Su River bed is suspended on supports and constructed of pipe that is 720 millimeters in diameter. The accident was caused by the energy effects of an explosive device placed under the pipeline. A total of 199 cubic meters of oil (169 metric tons) was spilled, contaminating about 3 hectares of nearby territory in the river basin. The costs of dealing with the accident and its consequences totaled 664,896 rubles.3 These examples provide a graphic demonstration of the damages caused by terrorist attacks. The potential terrorist threat and the increased number of cuts in oil pipelines for the purpose of unauthorized removal of oil have required Transneft to take
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Russian Views on Countering Terrorism During Eight Years of Dialogue: Extracts from Proceedings of Four U.S.-Russian Workshops certain measures to prevent damages to elements of the energy infrastructure. In 2000 the company began working to create a concept for an effective vertically integrated corporate security system. It created the Security Systems Department, including mobile armed groups and economic security subunits for the company as a whole and for its subsidiaries, to provide physical protection for oil transport facilities. To prevent pipeline damage and oil thefts due to unauthorized pipeline cuts, the Security Systems Department is introducing several technical capabilities and closely tracking all modern research developments in this field both in Russia and abroad. In recent years, security equipment has been installed at 78 percent of the company’s facilities. Pipelines present a convenient target for terrorists, inasmuch as a simple explosive device can knock them out of commission for weeks. It is for this reason that they have become the focus of sabotage in Iraq. According to information from the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security (United States), since the end of the war declared by George Bush in April 2003, 37 attacks on pipelines, oil facilities, and their personnel were recorded in 2003, 147 in 2004, 100 in 2005, 100 in 2006, and 5 in January 2007. Most of these attacks occurred on pipelines leading to Turkish and Syrian terminals on the Mediterranean Sea, at the Bayji refinery complex 200 kilometers north of Baghdad, and at oil facilities south of Basra, where more than two-thirds of Iraq’s oil is extracted (see Figure 15-4). Iraq’s proven oil reserves total 15.5 billion metric tons (9.6 percent of world reserves), ranking the country fourth behind Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Iran. Meanwhile, after falling to 65.7 million metric tons in 2003 and rising to 99.2 million metric tons in 2004, oil production again fell by 10 percent to 89.5 million metric tons in 2005. Iraqi oil could take the pressure off world markets in the face of high demand by China, the problems with Iran’s nuclear program, and unrest in Nigeria’s oil-producing region in the Niger Delta. However, the country is not even meeting its own domestic needs. As a result, Iraq imports refined petroleum products at very high prices at the same time that it could be increasing its own oil exports and earning money to restore its economy. “Every day that oil shipments are paralyzed costs us $60 million,” Iraqi oil minister Tamir Gadban has declared. All of this has caused Iraq to lose more than $10 billion from oil sales, undermined prospects for the country’s reconstruction, and led to a situation in which oil companies are not taking the risk of investing in the development of the Iraqi oil and gas industry. The success of terrorist acts in Iraq has led terrorists in other oil-producing countries to turn their attention to pipelines and other oil industry facilities. In December 2004, insurgents attacked an oil field in Sudan. In India, separatists claimed responsibility for several attacks on oil pipelines in the state of Assam, the source of about 15 percent of India’s oil output. Rising demand for oil in the country makes its economy increasingly sensitive to supply disruptions. In Turkey, Kurdish partisans carried out a series of strikes against oil pipelines. At-
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Russian Views on Countering Terrorism During Eight Years of Dialogue: Extracts from Proceedings of Four U.S.-Russian Workshops FIGURE 15-4 Map of Iraq’s oil pipelines. tacks on oil-drilling platforms in Nigeria in 2006 led to a halt in oil production in that country. However, the greatest disruptions in oil supplies to the world market would be caused by actions against the oil pipelines of Saudi Arabia, which produces about 25 percent of the world’s oil and which has about 17,000 kilometers of pipelines throughout the country, primarily located underground. Economists have calculated that the risk of terrorist attacks has already caused the price of oil to rise by about $10 per barrel as a sort of insurance premium. Terrorists clearly understand that oil price increases as a result of sabotage against oil and natural gas pipelines are felt very keenly not only by the U.S. economy, which lost about $40 billion for this reason in 2004, but also by the world economy.
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Russian Views on Countering Terrorism During Eight Years of Dialogue: Extracts from Proceedings of Four U.S.-Russian Workshops The most obvious way to provide increased security for pipelines is to establish security patrols and create buffer zones along their routes in which unauthorized access is prohibited. In Iraq an entire army of 14,000 guards has been deployed along pipelines and at oil wells and refineries. Systems for detecting irregularities and complex modern systems for monitoring particularly vulnerable points could play an important role in protecting pipelines. These systems, which use supersensitive seismic monitoring devices, could provide early warnings if saboteurs were to approach a protected area. Such remote monitoring systems for the pipeline network could be very expensive; however, they would make it possible to avoid the costs of supporting a significant contingent of troops to protect the network, as personnel needs would be limited to small rapid-response groups. These systems could be augmented by observation from the air, including using pilotless drones capable of flying for up to 30 hours at medium and low altitudes and transmitting high-resolution images to a central station for subsequent processing. There have been reports of the development of pilotless aircraft equipped with automatic weapons, which could be used against saboteurs. Unfortunately, the majority of countries where such systems would be most effective lack the necessary financial resources to acquire them. In such cases, even fences and walls could be used as protective measures to prevent access to facilities. New pipelines must be laid underground. This increases their construction costs, but the return on investment is rapid. It is also important to reduce the time between pipeline damage and repair; the shorter the time, the less damage is done. With this in mind, it would make sense to reduce the length of damaged pipeline segments that must be repaired. However, it must be understood that ensuring the security of natural gas and oil pipelines is a rather complex problem, the resolution of which is determined by improved equipment and technology for new pipeline construction, more reliable diagnostics, modern means of rapidly eliminating the consequences of accidents, and, on the other hand, development of effective measures and equipment for preventing terrorist attacks against elements of the oil and gas infrastructure. No matter what new equipment or capability may be proposed, it will only increase the cost of a barrel of oil, which has already reached a colossal level. As long as oil and natural gas are the foundation on which the world economy functions, the threat of such attacks will obviously remain, and new achievements in the sphere of their prevention will inevitably increase the price of a barrel of oil. NOTES 1. Approximately $132,343 at the exchange rate prevailing at that time. 2. Approximately $131,323 at the exchange rate prevailing at that time. 3. Approximately $26,810 at the exchange rate prevailing at that time.