Performance of European cross-country oil pipelines – Statistical summary of reported spillages in 2018 and since 1971

27 Jul 2020

Concawe has collected 48 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 680 million m3 per year of crude oil and oil products. This report covers the performance of these pipelines in 2018 and a full historical perspective since 1971. The performance over the whole 48 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. Product theft attempts continued to be the main cause of spills in 2018 although the total number (10) confirmed the sharp decline observed in 2017 (11) from previous years (87 in 2015). Another 2 spillage incidents were reported in 2018, corresponding to 0.06 spillages per 1000 km of line, about 40% of the 5-year average and an order of magnitude below the long-term running average of 0.45, 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. One incident was related to a construction defect and the other caused by accidental third-party interference. Although in recent years there have been relatively few incidents due to third party activities (excluding theft), this category remains the main source of spillage incidents.