Performance of European cross-country oil pipelines. Statistitcal summary of reported spillages in 2010 and since 1971

23 Oct 2011
CONCAWE has collected 40 years of spillage data on European cross-country oil pipelines. At about 35,000 km the inventory covered currently includes the vast majority of such pipelines in Europe, transporting around 800 million m3 per year of crude oil and oil products. This report covers the performance of these pipelines in 2010 and a full historical perspective since 1971. The performance over the whole 40 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 (intelligence pigs) is also reported. 4 spillage incidents were reported in 2010, corresponding to 0.12 spillages per 1000 km of line, well below the 5-year average of 0.25 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-70s. There were no fires, fatalities or injuries connected with these spills. 2 Incidents were due to mechanical failure, 1 to external corrosion, and 1 was connected to past third party activities. Over the long term, third party activities remain the main cause of spillage incidents although mechanical failures have increased in recent years, a trend that needs to be scrutinised in years to come.