Full Content is available to subscribers

Subscribe/Learn More  >

Are Pipelines Being Held to an Unreasonably High Standard of Performance?

[+] Author Affiliations
Alan Murray

Principia Consulting, Inc., Calgary, AB, Canada

Paper No. IPC2018-78744, pp. V002T01A008; 8 pages
  • 2018 12th International Pipeline Conference
  • Volume 2: Pipeline Safety Management Systems; Project Management, Design, Construction, and Environmental Issues; Strain Based Design; Risk and Reliability; Northern Offshore and Production Pipelines
  • Calgary, Alberta, Canada, September 24–28, 2018
  • Conference Sponsors: Pipeline Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5187-6
  • Copyright © 2018 by ASME


The media and sections of the public have shown recently an acute interest in Pipeline operational performance incident statistics. Published data for North America shows that 99.999% of crude oil and petroleum products shipped by pipelines reach their destination safely. Some pipeline operators claim even better performance, 99.9996 % being one example. However, should failing to deliver 4 barrels of product for every million shipped be a legitimate cause for concern? If not how about the more general case of 1 per one hundred thousand?

Is pipeline performance being singled out unreasonably when compared to other threats to public and environmental wellbeing such as medical malpractice or industrial waste contamination? Evidence from Canada and elsewhere, indicates that, during their hospital stay, an appreciable number of patients, one in every 18, experience adverse events, such as medication error, injurious falls, infections, and other medical misadventures. Errors (mostly minor), in fulfilling pharmaceutical prescriptions show an even higher error rate — 1 in 4 in one recent study, yet the public appears to be unperturbed.

A common thread is determining what constitutes an acceptable level of risk whether individual or societal, voluntary or involuntary. Besides providing a broader context for pipeline risk, the paper explores the origin and intent of the environmental screening standard of 1 in 10−6, as well as the concept of setting risk tolerance to be as low as reasonably practicable — ALARP. The question of why there may be a reticence for many Pipeline Regulators to set, as other industries have, a prescriptive value for ALARP is considered.

Copyright © 2018 by ASME
Topics: Pipelines



Interactive Graphics


Country-Specific Mortality and Growth Failure in Infancy and Yound Children and Association With Material Stature

Use interactive graphics and maps to view and sort country-specific infant and early dhildhood mortality and growth failure data and their association with maternal

Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).

Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging and repositioning the boxes below.

Related eBook Content
Topic Collections

Sorry! You do not have access to this content. For assistance or to subscribe, please contact us:

  • TELEPHONE: 1-800-843-2763 (Toll-free in the USA)
  • EMAIL: asmedigitalcollection@asme.org
Sign In