TABLE 6-5 Annual Averages for Significant Pipeline Incidents, 2002-2006

Pipeline Type

Significant Incidents

Fatalities

Injuries

Property Damage ($1,000)

Hazardous liquid

124.4

1.6

5.0

$8,729

Natural gas transmission

75.2

1.0

4.6

$81,019

Natural gas gathering

9.8

0.0

1.0

$40,875

Natural gas distribution

93.2

13.8

41.6

$129,317

Total

302.6

16.4

52.2

$349,940

NOTE: Significant incidents are those incidents reported by pipeline operators when any of the following conditions are met: (1) Fatality or injury requiring inpatient hospitalization. (2) $50,000 or more in total costs. (3) Highly volatile liquid releases of five barrels or more or other liquid releases of 50 barrels or more. (4) Liquid releases resulting in an unintentional fire or explosion. Property damage estimates are in 2007 dollars.

SOURCE: BTS 2009.

conditions occurs: (1) fatality or injury requiring inpatient hospitalization, (2) $50,000 or more in total costs, (3) highly volatile liquid releases of five barrels or more or other liquid releases of 50 barrels or more, or (4) liquid releases resulting in an unintentional fire or explosion (BTS 2009).

The table provides information on hazardous liquid pipelines. Hazardous liquids are defined by the Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS) as petroleum, petroleum products, and anhydrous ammonia. Most hazardous liquids moving through the pipeline are petroleum or petroleum products. Nearly half of the incidents reported to OPS are associated with hazardous liquids and are triggered by releases of 50 barrels of oil or more.

The table shows that the distribution of natural gas is responsible for the bulk of fatalities and injuries and over half of the property damage arising from significant incidents. Nearly 80% of natural gas pipeline stock in 2006 was distribution pipelines, transmission making up most of the rest (BTS 2009, Table1-10).

Table 6-6 provides information on incidents per mile of transit averaged over the 2002-2006 period. Scaling by the amount of gas traveling through pipelines indicates that the incidences of fatalities, injuries, and property damage are highest in the gathering pipelines.

An alternative way to scale the damages is to report fatalities, injuries, and property damage per unit of oil or natural gas consumed in the United States. Using the average fatalities, injuries, and damages from Table 6-5 over 2002 through 2006 and average consumption of oil and gas over that same period, we measure 0.29 fatalities and 0.90 injuries per billion barrels of oil that is delivered to refineries in the United States and $18 of



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