A new study by the Fraser Institute, published August 13, 2015, compared the safety of transporting oil and gas by pipelines and rail, and it was determined that rail was found to be over 4.5 times more likely to experience an occurrence when compared to pipelines. Interestingly, only 17% of pipeline occurrences take place in actual line pipe – the majority of spills occur in facilities. However, both methods are found to be generally quite safe, with approximately .049 occurrences per Mboe (Million barrels of oil equivalent) transported with pipeline, and .227 occurrences per Mboe with rail.
In both Canada and the United States, rising oil and gas production means that the expansion of our energy infrastructure is a necessity, and construction of the major pipelines such as Keystone XL must resume. New technologies, such as Vintri’s Material Traceability solution, will allow the new pipeline builds to be even safer than what present number reflect. At present, resistance to pipeline transport is sending oil to market by modes of transport that pose higher risks of spills and personal injuries, such as road transport, and rail, which has seen a 166% growth between 2003 and 2013.
Looking at the numbers, the choice is clear. Pipelines are the safer option.
The complete Fraser Research article can be found here: