Our global demand for energy is constantly increasing but the infrastructure we use to transport it is aging and poorly maintained. When our energy infrastructure fails, the consequences can be catastrophic. We lose access to the energy that we depend on for everyday life and we face gas explosions
, oil leaks
, or deadly wildfires
as a result.
There are about 2.5 million miles of pipelines in the United States of which there are about 72,000 miles of crude oil lines that connect regional markets. As massive new projects continue to generate news, the existing infrastructure that's hidden beneath our feet continues to be problematic on a daily basis. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA
) defines a pipeline incident as one that may involve any of the following:
- Fatality or injury requiring in-patient hospitalization.
- $50,000 or more in total costs, measured in 1984 dollars.
- Highly volatile liquid releases of 5 barrels or more or other liquid releases of 50 barrels or more.
- Liquid releases resulting in an unintentional fire or explosion.
Since 2010, there have been 4,215 pipeline incidents resulting in 100 reported fatalities, 470 injuries, and property damage exceeding $3.4 billion. According to PHMSA, about 2 pipeline related incidents occur everyday. These pipeline incidents are caused by numerous factors, with the top three causes being excavation damage, equipment failure, and pipeline corrosion.