European Cross-Country Oil Pipelines Spillage Report
Proceedings Publication Date
Dr. Horstgünter Schulz
Dr. Horstgünter Schulz
Part of the proceedings of
CONCAWE the oil companies’ European association for environment, health and safety in refining and distribution
Established in 1963 CONCAWE is a non-profit European association capable of carrying out quality research on environmental, health and safety issues related to the downstream oil industry. Its objectives are to acquire adequate scientific, economic, technical and legal information on HSSE issues and to improve the understanding of these issues by the industry, authorities and consumers while promoting the three principles of sound science, transparency and cost-effectiveness. Today
CONCAWE has 34 European oil companies as members, representing close to 100% of the oil refining capacity in EU (plus Norway and Switzerland).

CONCAWE‘s Oil Pipelines Management Group
Established in the early 70s, the Oil Pipeline Management Group (OPMG) is one of the longest standing CONCAWE working group. It is a forum for European oil pipeline operators to exchange views and experience on non-competitive aspects of pipeline operations and management, mostly in the field of safety and environmental protection.

One of OPMG’s main activities is the maintenance of a database and map of EU oil pipelines and the yearly collection of pipeline spillage data for which an annual report has been produced since 1971. CONCAWE thus has over 30-years of information on safety and environmental performance of EU cross-country oil pipelines.

The CONCAWE European cross-country oil pipelines spillage report
First published in 1973 (with data from 1971), the reports provide a detailed account of the safety and environmental performance of EU oil pipelines over the last 35 years. Statistical data includes fatalities and injuries, spillage number frequency and volumes, causes and consequences of spillages. These reports have proved of great value to pipeline operators and are widely quoted as almost the only statistically reliable source of data liquid pipeline failure rates in Europe.

The statistics show that the frequency of spills has steadily decreased over the years. Although the pipeline inventory has been ageing, there is no evidence of widespread corrosion problems as evidenced by the evolution of the corrosion-related spills figures. Modern integrity management techniques including regular use of intelligence pig inspections are contributing to this achievement. The main issue with pipeline integrity is third party interference which is the largest cause of spillage incidents. OPMG is currently working on this topic with a view to develop guidelines to help operators and authorities better manage this issue.

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