The Concawe Special Task Force on Oil Pipelines Performance has just issued its assessment of European cross-country oil pipelines with particular focus on such pipeline indices as spillage volume, clean-up and recovery, environmental consequences and causes of the incidents.
Andreas Haskamp, one of the five select members of the Special Task Force and serving concurrently as a member of the Advisory Committee of the annual Pipeline Technology Conference (PTC), said in a statement that "it is worth a read and to have a look at the statistics of spillage data on European cross-country oil pipelines Concawe has collected for over 50 years." He added what was especially noteworthy was that of the eight spillages reported in 2020, "there were no fires, fatalities, or injuries connected with these spills."
Spillage data on European cross-country pipelines is analyzed over a 50 year period from 1971 to 2021, with the last full year in 2020. A total of 72 companies and agencies operating a total of 35,626 km of oil pipelines in Europe are currently listed for the Concawe annual survey (including 1,223 km
currently out of service). For 2020, 65 operators provided a full set of data representing over 149 pipeline systems and a combined active length of 32,014 km.
The total reported volume transported in 2020 was 605 Mm3 of crude oil and refined products and the total traffic was about 110x109.
Of the eight spillages reported in 2020, 4 were theft-related. Excluding theft, this corresponds to a frequency of 0.12 spillages per 1000 km of line, equal to the 5-
year average but well below the long-term running average of 0.43 spillages per 1000 km of line, which has been steadily decreasing over the years from a value of
1.1 spillages per 1000 km of pipeline in the mid ‘70s.
The historical data shows generally favorable trends in the frequency of spillages, though accidental third-party interference is an on-going problem not fully resolved, as pipelines run predominantly below ground over long distances through diverse areas. As such they are vulnerable to accidental damage caused by parties involved
in digging, excavating and other earth moving activities.