Fines for oil spills and other pipeline-related accidents have been rising under the Biden administration in the US, according to a news report from E&E News.1 The news story states that: “Federal civil penalties for pipeline safety violations topped US$10 million for the first time in 2021 and rose again last year to US$11.6 million. During the Trump administration, fines averaged about US$4.5 million per year.” Not only are fines going up, but money spent on complying with PHMSA orders is also rising. “Companies reported spending US$386 million to comply with PHMSA orders and enforcement actions from 2018 to 2022” (according to experts, this figure is likely to be grossly underestimated). The article quotes Bill Caram, Executive Director of the Pipeline Safety Trust, who said “this administration seems to be taking pipeline safety more seriously than previous administrations, including Democratic administrations.”
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Moving the dial on safety is something that features prominently throughout this issue of World Pipelines, as we showcase safety in its many forms. Our keynote section presents different facets of project management, with a view to prioritising safe and up-to-standard governance of pipeline assets. The feature includes articles on: adapting to changes in construction risk management (p.10); adopting a modern pipeline management style (p.14); and facilitating network security and calculating cyber risk (p.19). This section also includes insight on how safety factors into pipeline design (p.25); the risks of overpressure in pipelines (p.30); and safe, lawful deployment of personnel offshore (p.35).
We give considerable focus to various aspects of pipeline construction, to honour our longstanding relationship with IPLOCA, which holds its annual convention in September. For the construction best practice feature, PACCAR Winch offers expertise on the current challenges facing the pipeline build space (logistics, inventory, scheduling, supply chain, p.39); and Xodus writes about using benchmarking to optimise design margins and keep a project lean (p.43).
Our contractor focus (p.49) gives a selection of pipeline companies the chance to shine: with space to declare their capabilities and talk about recent projects. And for a closer look at offshore contracting, the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) discusses subsea safety (p.100), highlighting the role that ROVs play in pipeline inspection, and how training and competence support a safe, standardised offshore pipeline sector.