Performance of European cross-country oil pipelines. Statistical summary of reported spillages in 2011 and since 1971

28 May 2013
CONCAWE has collected 41 years of spillage data on European cross-country oil pipelines. At nearly 36,000 km the inventory covered currently includes the vast majority of such pipelines in Europe, transporting over 700 million m3 per year of
crude oil and oil products. This report covers the performance of these pipelines in 2011 and a full historical perspective since 1971. The performance over the whole 41 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. 7 spillage incidents were reported in 2011, corresponding to 0.19 spillages per 1000 km of line, below the 5-year average on 0.24 and the long-term running average of 0.52, which has been steadily decreasing over the years from a value of 1.2 in the mid-7-s. There were no fires, fatalities or injuries connected with these spills. 1 incident was due to mechanical failure, 2 to operational issues, and 4 were connected to third party activities, 3 of which cased by product theft attempts. Over the long term, third party activities remain the main cause of spillage incidents although mechanical failures have increased in the recent years, a trend that needs to be scrutinised in years to come.