Performance of European cross-country oil pipelines – Statistical summary of reported spillages in 2020 and since 1971

19 Apr 2022

Concawe has collected 50 years of spillage data on European cross-country oil pipelines. At nearly 36,000 km the current inventory includes the majority of such pipelines in Europe, transporting some 615 million m3 per year of crude oil and oil products. This report covers the performance of these pipelines in 2020 and a full historical perspective since 1971. The performance over the whole 50 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 use of in-line inspection tools is also reported. A total of 8 spillages were reported for 2020, 4 of which were theft-related. The other 4 incidents correspond to 0.12 spillages per 1000 km of line, equal to the 5-year average and well below the long-term running average of 0.43 spillages per 1000 km per year, which has been steadily decreasing over the years from a value of 1.1 in the mid-70s. 2 incidents were due to mechanical failures, 1 to corrosion and 1 to (accidental) third party activity. There were no fires, fatalities or injuries connected with these spills.