Performance of European cross-country oil pipelines. Statistical summary of reported spillages in 2015 and since 1971

03 Jul 2017

Concawe has collected 45 years of spillage data on European cross-country oil pipelines. At nearly 37,500 km the current inventory includes the majority of such pipelines in Europe, transporting some 751 million m3 per year of crude oil and oil products. This report covers the performance of these pipelines in 2015 and a full historical perspective since 1971. The performance over the whole 45 years is analysed in various ways, including gross and net spillage volumes, and spillage causes grouped into five main categories: mechanical failure, operational, corrosion, natural hazard and third party. The rate of inspections by in-line tools (inspection pigs) is also reported. The main feature of this 2015 survey is the continued rise of spillages related to product theft attempts, 87 of which were reported, confirming the trend already observed in 2014. Another 6 spillage incidents were reported in 2015, corresponding to 0.17 spillages per 1000 km of line, similar to the 5-year average and well below the long-term running average of 0.47, which has been steadily decreasing over the years from a value of 1.1 in the mid-70s. There were no fires, fatalities or injuries connected with these spills. 3 incidents were due to mechanical failure and 3 to corrosion. Over the long term, third party activities remain the main cause of spillage incidents and the rise of theft attempts will greatly increase this proportion.