Three Reasons Pipelines Are Incredibly Safe

Fri, June 12, 2020

Home to over 466,000 miles of pipeline, Texas relies on this vast network of infrastructure to safely and efficiently transport oil and natural gas to consumers across the state. Considering the important role that pipelines play in Texas, we’ve outlined three key reasons why they are the safest way to transport oil and natural gas.


1. Careful Planning Prior to Installation

Before construction on a pipeline even starts, a survey team travels across the route of the planned pipeline to perform a comprehensive environmental survey. This ensures the chosen route is protective of the environment, with efforts taken to preserve sensitive habitats. While the environmental survey is taking place, pipeline companies obtain various permits and approvals from local, state, and federal government agencies. Once all approvals are secure and the environmental survey complete, only then can pipeline construction begin.


2. 99.999 Percent National Safety Record

Pipelines typically consist of steel or plastic tubes with a width of 2 to 60 inches depending on the substance transported. Before being placed, pipelines are shaped, welded, and coated to ensure safe transportation. Once ready, the pipelines are positioned into place underground where they undergo a series of tests to confirm that all safety precautions are met. These precautions have helped U.S. pipelines achieve a
99.999 percent safety record. Further, once pipeline construction is complete, companies often partner with biologists and ecological engineers to restore the land with indigenous vegetation and wildlife.


3. Regular Inspections

Once operation begins, crude oil and natural gas are collected by pipeline for shipment across the state – often hundreds of miles. Various infrastructure, such as compressor stations, are positioned throughout the length of the pipeline to adjust the pressure, monitor flow rates, and keep the product moving smoothly. Pipeline inspections occur regularly to check for signs the pipeline needs maintenance. These frequent inspections ensure pipeline operators are able to catch and fix issues well before they become a problem.


Thanks in part to the safe and efficient manner of transportation provided by pipelines, the United States has now become the world’s largest combined producer of oil and natural gas. Pipeline have helped make America’s status as a global energy superpower possible, by safely and efficiently delivering the critical oil and natural gas resources needed to power economies both domestically and abroad.