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New Report: Pipeline Infrastructure - Delivering on Energy Opportunities

A new report by Vern Grimshaw and John Rafuse, Assessing America’s Pipeline Infrastructure: Delivering on Energy Opportunities, "provides an overview of U.S. pipeline infrastructure, offering insight into its history, performance, and barriers to long-term safety and efficiency." In their introduction, Grimshaw and Rafuse state, "This paper seeks to inform public policymakers in Washington that while America has tremendous opportunities given its vast energy resources, without incorporating new technology, finalizing needed regulations and providing timely siting approvals, and coordinating between industry and government, America’s energy renaissance will not reach its maximum potential.

From the executive summary:

"The United States’ energy delivery system – millions of miles of pipeline and rail infrastructure coupled with barge and truck capabilities – is the most sophisticated in the world. America’s pipeline footprint is unparalleled when compared with other nations and is statistically the safest mode of domestic energy transport. Yet, despite its strong safety record, it is not without incident, as we are reminded by incidents in recent years that have disrupted communities and inflicted heavy clean-up costs. Given the vast reserves of shale oil and gas, U.S. pipeline infrastructure will see significant traffic in the decades to come...

"...We recommend government and industry renew their focus on regulations and specifications governing pipeline infrastructure, including but not limited to the following:

  1. Action by federal regulators (i.e., Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration) to review and revise the codes (49 CFR Part 192 and 195 in particular) necessary to improve pipeline transportation and enforcement as well as facilitate regulatory decision-making so that pipeline operators and owners can plan long-term investments; 
  2. Renewed focus and funding support for pipeline technology research and development efforts to ensure that the U.S. energy transportation system remains the safest for decades to come (see Appendix III: Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) list of projects); and 
  3. Emphasis on review and modernization of industry best practices and specifications surrounding emerging technology like improvements in composite pipe materials and leak detection technologies..."

Click here to read the full paper

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