PST’s Data and GIS Analyst James Eager walks us through one state’s pipeline safety track record each month. Click on the “State of Safety” tag at the bottom of the post to see all of James’s entries to date.
At 54,156 miles, Oklahoma has the ninth most mileage of operational pipelines in the United States. Let’s take a deeper look at the state of Oklahoma and how their operators perform when it comes to pipeline safety.
From 2010 to present Oklahoma has had:
- 488 total incidents including:
- 389 Hazardous Liquid incidents
- 75 Gas Transmission incidents
- 20 Gas Distribution incidents
- 4 Gas Gathering or Underground Natural Gas Storage incidents
- 209 significant incidents
- 11 incidents ending in injury and/or fatality
- 24 incidents resulting in fire and/or explosion
- 447 total members of the public evacuated
- Incidents have released:
- 3,580,080 gallons of hazardous liquids
- 1,765,401 thousand cubic feet (mscf) of gas
- Enbridge and ONEOK stand as the worst offenders
Pipeline incidents in Oklahoma appear to be relatively volatile, although a recent downward trend in both total and significant incidents (above and below, respectively) looks promising. When compared to an average of adjacent states (Texas, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, and New Mexico), it appears that Oklahoma’s recent trend may suggest an improvement compared to the state’s neighbors.
According to PHMSA’s incident reports, there are 71 unique operators working in Oklahoma. There are 45 parent companies involved in running these 71 operators. Of these 45 parent companies, just five of them account for more than half of the state’s incidents since 2010: Enbridge, Energy Transfer, Enterprise, Magellan, and ONEOK. The table below presents these five parent companies and their summary statistics over the past 12 years. The trend column displays their annual incident rate from 2010 to 2021, with a green point at their maximum and an orange point at their minimum. The row labeled “Other” is an average of the 40 other parent companies operating in Oklahoma.
|Parent Operator||Current Mileage||Total||per 1K Miles||Significant||Trend||Total||per Incident|
Enbridge’s high cost is largely due to a crude oil incident that occurred on May 18, 2013, in Cushing, OK, where corrosion caused a leak that spread quickly into surrounding ponds, tributaries, and soil. The total cost of the damage for this 70,000-gallon incident was over $15,000,000 (adjusted for inflation) – $5 million more than any other incident in Oklahoma.
At a first glance, looking at incident release sizes and their cost, the five most frequently culpable parent companies don’t appear to separate from the pack too much. However, ONEOK does appear to bear responsibility for many of the largest and costliest gas releases, while Enbridge and Enterprise appear to have costlier incidents in the hazardous liquids industry than most others.