Performance of European cross-country oil pipelines – Statistical summary of reported spillages in 2021 and since 1971

26 May 2023

The Concawe Oil Pipelines Management Group (OPMG) has collected data on the safety and environmental performance of oil pipelines in Europe since 1971. Information on annual throughput and traffic, spillage incidents and in-line inspection activities are gathered yearly by Concawe via on-line questionnaires.

The results are analysed and published annually. Summary reports were compiled after 20 and 30 years. From the 2005 reporting year, the format and content of the report was changed to include not only the yearly performance, but also a full historical analysis since 1971, effectively creating an evergreen document updated every year. This report uses this same format and therefore supersedes the 2020 data report 6/22. All previous reports have also been superseded and are now obsolete.

In this single annual integrated report, it was, however, not considered practical to include the full narrative description of the circumstances and consequences of each past spillage. We have therefore created a series of separate appendices to this report where this information can be accessed via the following links:

1971-1983/ 1984-1993 / 1994-2004 / 2005+

Concawe also maintains a map of the oil pipeline inventory covered by the annual survey.

Aggregation and statistical analysis of the performance data provide objective evidence of the trends, focusing attention on existing or potential problem areas, which helps operators set priorities for future efforts. In addition to this activity Concawe also holds a seminar, known as “COPEX” (Concawe Oil Pipeline Operators Experience Exchange), every four years to disseminate information throughout the oil pipeline industry on developments in techniques available to pipeline operators to help improve the safety, reliability and integrity of their operations. These seminars have included reviews of spillage and clean-up performance to cross-communicate experiences so that all can learn from each other’s incidents. The last COPEX was held in October 2022.

Section 2 provides details of the pipeline inventory covered by the survey (length, diameter, type of product transported) and how this has developed over the years. Throughput and traffic data is also included.

Section 3 focuses on safety performance i.e. the number of fatalities and injuries associated with pipeline spillage incidents.

Section 4 gives a detailed analysis of the spillage incidents in 2021 and of all incidents over the last 5 reporting years.

Section 5 analyses spillage incidents for the whole reporting period since 1971.

Section 6 provides a more detailed analysis of the causes of spillage.

Section 7 gives an account of in-line inspections.

In 2015, to address the increasing number of theft-related spill incidents, the Concawe survey was updated to include an additional section on product theft. This new section captures data on all theft events, including those that did not result in a reportable spill. The findings from this new section of the survey are discussed in Section 8.