Consequences of a Risk Based Approach for Natural Gas Pipelines
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In the Netherlands natural gas is transported through an underground pipeline network with a combined length of about 14000 kilometers. In preparation of new legislation, in which zoning distances will be based on a probabilistic approach, the quantitative risk analysis methodology for underground transmission natural gas pipelines is revised to reflect new understandings in the risk scenarios, failure frequencies and effects. The new zoning policy is part of a two-track policy for preventing major accidents. Firstly, the frequency of accidents occurring and their effects when they do occur is reduced as much as reasonably possible by taking measures at the source of risk. Secondly, the number of persons exposed to effects, should an accident occur, is reduced by the zoning policy. Two measures are used in defining these policies: the individual risk as a measure of the level of protection to each individual member of the public, and societal risk as a measure of the disaster potential for the society as a whole. In order to get a complete overview of third party risks in the Netherlands, all pipeline owners are obligatory to provide pipeline data to a national risk register. Based on these data and taking into account the new zoning distances, an analysis of the consequences of these new zoning distances for land use planning is carried out. The aim of this analysis is to identify potential bottlenecks where dwellings are situated within the new zoning distances of these pipelines and to identify where, based on the spatial planning plans available up to 2030, in the future possible bottlenecks may appear. In future, new pipelines should be constructed such that the zoning distance equals 5 meter. Additional measures should reduce the risk if for example dwellings are situated within the new zoning distances. As there are no measures available for reducing the effects of a pipeline rupture, the additional measures focus mainly on reducing the probability of pipeline ruptures. Because external interference is the main cause of pipeline ruptures, the additional measures focus on this cause. Proposed measures for reducing the risk of high pressure natural gas pipelines are for example the use of concrete slabs or warning tapes and agreements with landowners about land utilization. Also, the introduction of an obligatory one-call system is an important generic measure for reducing the probability of pipeline failures
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