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Pipeline Operators Launch New Safety Initiative

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Two pipeline advocacy groups have launched a new initiative to improve oil and gas liquids pipeline safety performance.

The Association of Oil Pipe Lines (AOPL) and American Petroleum Institute (API) unveiled the “Pipeline Safety Excellence” program on Jan. 15, an initiative aimed at enhancing the safety of transporting crude oil, natural gas liquids and petroleum products throughout the pipeline industry.

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“Pipelines are the safest way to transport the energy our nation needs, and this new Pipeline Safety Excellence initiative reflects the commitment of pipeline operators to make them even safer,” said Andy Black, president and CEO of AOPL.

“Our members strive for zero accidents and are committed to continuous safety improvement in pursuit of that goal,” said Peter Lidiak, API’s pipeline director. “Developing our nation’s pipeline infrastructure supports our economy by creating privately funded jobs and ensuring the U.S. has access to the energy resources we need through an extremely safe mode for transporting energy products.”

Pipeline Safety Excellence is an industry-wide safety initiative by the more than 50 pipeline operating members of AOPL and API. It reflects the shared values and commitment of pipeline operators to building and operating even safer pipelines.

Pipeline operators transporting crude oil, petroleum products such as gasoline, diesel, home heating oil and jet fuel, as well as natural gas liquids such as ethane and propane, are increasing the safety of their pipelines and improving the pipeline safety performance of their companies through:

  1. Shared Pipeline Safety Principles — with goals such as zero incidents and everyday ways of doing business, such as continuous improvement to drive improved safety performance.
  2. Continuous Industry-wide Pipeline Safety Efforts — where pipeline operators work together, pool their resources and share lessons learned through industry-wide improvement teams.
  3. Annual Pipeline Safety Reporting — will annually measure and report industry-wide pipeline safety spending and performance to the public.
  4. Annual Pipeline Safety Strategic Planning — will annually develop a pipeline safety strategic plan guiding industry-wide efforts over the coming year to improve pipeline safety.

With the launch of Pipeline Safety Excellence, pipeline operators are also releasing their 2013 Annual Liquid Pipeline Safety Performance Report and Strategic Plan, reflecting key elements of the initiative. The industry-wide performance report documents a 62 percent drop in pipeline incidents over the last 10 years. This performance improvement comes as liquid pipeline operators reported spending $1.6 billion evaluating, inspecting and maintaining their pipelines. The result is 99.999 percent of crude oil and petroleum products delivered by pipeline reaching its destination safely.

Additionally, pipeline operators plan strategic efforts in 2014 to improve pipeline inspection technology, develop a new industry-wide recommended practice on detecting, diagnosing and responding to potential pipe cracking, deploy a new recommended practice on pipeline safety management systems, develop an industry-wide recommended practice on leak detection program management, and deploy a nation-wide pipeline emergency response training, outreach and standards program. More information on the report and strategic plan may be found at http://aopl.org/safety/safety-excellence-program.

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