Gas Transmission Pipelines belong to the critical infrastructure – they are essential for the energy supply of the Industry and public households. International and national statistics show a decrease in the number of events per 1000 km pipeline length due to an increase in Technical Safety during the last thirty years. Nevertheless, catastrophic incidents like gas explosions in Ghislenghien, Gräveneck or Oppau can’t be excluded in future. Third party activities, especially through excavator and drilling machines, are mainly the reason for these incidents. With today’s State of Safety Technology, a wider protection of the critical infrastructure would lead to a non-acceptable effort. However, especially in Germany population density increases while public acceptance of incidents decreases continuously. A specific pipeline security concept is needed - it is time for a paradigm shift: pipelines shall additionally be protected by (1) an innovative third party anti-collision system (THANCS) and (2) an active role of the population to ensure pipeline security.
The CSE Center of Safety Excellence initiated the “THANCS” program with the intention to combine latest navigation and detection technologies for a development of a new anti-collision system to avoid third party incidents.
In addition, an innovative communication concept should encourage the motivation of the general public to secure actively the protection of pipelines. Based on the Nudging-Principle, people’s behavior should be altered in a predictable way without prohibitions, instructions or significant changes in economic incentives. Present types of communication are used mostly for an information transfer to strengthen the public perception of safety, but do not encourage the public awareness. To introduce a new awareness and mitigation concept, latest findings of risk acceptance and communication shall be applied to parties living within a zone of potential consequences of natural gas pipelines. Risk shall be understood, accepted as part of a life, but no fear shall be inspired. In many cases, engineering and objective argumentations, which are dominated by numbers, are insufficient to encourage the necessary trust in the communication. The situational circumstances of those communications have to be suited to the typical application procedure (heuristics) of nontechnical people.
In the presentation, pros and cons of a public communication concepts acting as a new barrier in the Layer of Protection Concept of pipelines will be discussed to enhance pipeline security.