I’ve been wondering about the impact of the recent Trump Executive Order and Memoranda on pipelines. At first blush you might think that these executive orders mark the beginning of a boom for pipeline operators. However Trump’s initial executive orders specifically addressed the Keystone XL and the Dakota Access pipelines to expedite regulatory approvals.
- Executive Order Expediting Environmental Reviews
- Memoranda regarding construction of Dakota Access Pipeline
- Memoranda regarding construction of Keystone XL Pipeline
Certainly, with the change in administration the White House view on pipelines has changed from environmental concern to economic opportunity.
While both pipelines are now flowing product, the dissenters remain vocal. Even relatively small leaks make national news when they are associated with a high profile pipeline project. As recently as May 22nd, two spills on the Dakota Access Pipeline totally 100 gallons made national news.
Pipelines are by far the safest way to transport oil and gas. In fact, pipelines are approximately 70 times safer than trucks.
The challenge is that when a large volume is moved by pipeline and an incident does occur, the incident can be catastrophic.
The recent release of API 1173 and API 1175 provide guidance for pipeline operators to address pipeline leak detection as a risk management process combining various systems to improve operating performance. In April, at the API Pipeline Conference, a Leak Detection Workshop to assist attendees to learn about developing, maintaining, and managing a robust pipeline leak detection program.
An effective program is multifaceted and incorporates integrity management, leak detection, pipeline operations and control room management. Now that it is full speed ahead, let us hope that leak prevention gets as much attention as pipeline construction.