America is the world’s top producer of natural gas. Crude oil and petroleum exports from the US have also more than doubled since 2010. But can America’s existing pipeline infrastructure keep up with this boom in energy production?
In short, no. Producers are being forced to turn to alternative (and much less safe) means of transport – such as train and road – to keep up with demand. A recent report by Charles Hughes outlines the need for more pipelines in America, stating:
“…average annual accident rates during 2007–16, per billion ton-miles of oil and gas transported, were 0.66 for oil pipelines (i.e., the fewest accidents), 0.73 for natural gas pipelines, 2.20 for rail, and 7.11 for road.”
So does America need more pipeline infrastructure? The answer is a resounding YES if safety is to be paramount.
Why are pipelines better for energy transportation?
Other than the obvious evidence that they’re much safer than other means of transportation, pipelines are also much more time and cost-effective. Transporting natural gas and crude oil via pipelines allows for less human error. Driving a train or truck is always going to attract more accidents as there is an increased likelihood of third-party disruption on the roads and on the tracks. This also means a further chance of delays in delivery because of holdups on freeways, and more money spent on truckers’ wages and fuel spent to get the substance to its destination. Conversely, pipelines reside mostly underground and are operated by minimal staff at pump stations. Pipelines are definitely a more efficient solution in the long run.
Pipelines aren’t without their own issues, however. “Incorrect operation” is still accounted for 16% of long-range gas transmission pipeline accidents, according to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. While this is a small amount (the most accidents occur because of third-party excavators), it’s vital to ensure that all pipelines are made adhering to top safety standards from the offset to reduce harmful incidents caused by lax manufacturing, from occurring.
Choosing reliable engineers
One way to ensure quality manufacturing is to only hire the best engineers. When it comes to the joins in your pipelines, high-quality precision welding is paramount in regards to safety. Prime Engineering create robust and reliable welding bands for pipelines, tailored to specific requirements.
Make America’s pipeline system foolproof with quality welding bands, and work towards making the transportation of natural gases, crude oil and petroleum even safer and more efficient.