São Paulo has one of the world’s largest metropolitan regions, locally called Great São Paulo (SP), where the population is around 20 million. Due to the large demographic density of the region and its high level of industrialization SP is both the country’s largest consumer and producer of petroleum by-products with four refineries that together accounts for approximately 50% of the national production capacity.
The pipeline system that carries this crude oil and its by-products is the most complex nationwide, with over 2,500 km of oil and gas pipelines, distributed through 1,100 km of pipelines right-of-way (ROW). The majority of these pipelines were implemented in the 1950s and 1970s. At that time the pipeline route crossed rather vacant peripheral areas of insignificant real estate value.
With the expansion of urban centers, those peripheral areas became attractive, especially to the low purchasing power population that sought for better life conditions. Therefore, the surrounding areas to the pipeline ROW became occupied in a rather disorganized urban consolidation.
Hence, the ROW became a “vacant” area for these new neighbors that started to misuse it, sometimes as an expansion of their houses (backyards, parking lots, playgrounds), sometimes as a disposal facility. If not properly taken care of, this misusage can easily become a major threat to operational integrity and safety.
Experience showed that the basic procedures of TRANSPETRO Public Awareness Program (based in International Recommendations, i.e. API 1162) needed a more effective intervention, as the misuses remained a challenge.
The paper herein aims at presenting interventions made in the ROW since 2007, that aimed to reduce the misusage of it, based on the concept of “evacuating by occupying with responsibility”, providing both the surrounding community and TRANSPETRO with alternatives of collective interest for those “vacant” areas on an organized and safe basis.