Aging Pipelines

Added Danger of Transporting Dilbit in Aging U.S. Pipelines 

More than half the pipelines operating in Alberta have been built in the last 20 years while the tar sands region was developed.[1]

In contrast, the majority of hazardous liquid pipelines in the U.S. are more than 40 years old.[2]

The older a pipeline, the greater the potential that its coating, steel strength, or corrosive protections could be compromised.

According to the Railroad Commission, the existing pipeline for Seaway is more than 36 years old.[3]

Since 1975, Seaway has carried both natural gas and crude. More recently, the pipeline has mainly been used to carry both heavy and light crude from offshore drilling rigs and from Central and South America. Only relatively minor alterations will be needed to allow it to carry Canadian oil sands oil south according to a company spokesman.[4]
 
  worker skimming oil from Kalamazoo River surface
“The U.S. pipeline system was not designed with raw tar sands crude in mind, ...safety regulations were not written to address its unique risks... PHMSA has not yet been able to study the issue or been involved in the environmental review for Keystone XL.”
Cynthia Quarterman, PHMSA Administrator, June 2011, Federal Energy &amp#59 Commerce Hearing on Pipeline Safety
 
 
 


3.^Alberta's pipeline system increased from 49,597 km in 1990 (Alberta Energy and Utilities Board, Pipeline Performance in Alberta, 1990-2005, April 2007, p. 7, http://www.ercb.ca/docs/documents/reports/r2007-a.pdf

4.^PHMSA. 2009 Hazardous Liquid Data, cited in Pipeline Safety Trust, http://www.pstrust.org/ageofliquidpipelines.htm

5.^In the Alberta system, 1257 of 2705 spills resulting in releases greater than 26.3 gallons between 2002 and 2010 were attributed to internal corrosion. This number does not include spills attributed to external corrosion, stress cracking corrosion, hydrogen stress cracking or unknown causes. This constitutes 46.5 percent of all spills on the Alberta system between 2002 and 2010. Data provided by Visible Data Inc. using ERCB's incident database on January 7, 2011. The U.S. pipeline system had 222 spills resulting in releases greater than 26.3gallons attributed to internal corrosion. PHMSA, Distribution, Transmission, and Liquid Accident and Incident Data, January 1, 2002 through Decem ber 31, 2010, http://www.phmsa.dot.gov/pipeline/library/data-stats. This constitutes 8.9 percent of all spills greater than 26.3 gallons on the U.S. system between 2002 and 2010.

6.^Austin American Statesman, Tim Eaton, January 26, 2012, Canadian Oil could reach Texas by summer if Keystone alternative found, http://www.statesman.com/news/texas-politics/canadian-oil-could-reach-texas-by-summer-if-2128844.html