AGA President and CEO Dave McCurdy recently appeared on the National Journal’s Energy Insiders blog to respond to the question the blog had previously raised about the risks of transporting energy. His response was that, according to the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), natural gas is the safest energy delivery system in the nation. This may be reassuring, seeing as how natural gas utilities operate more than 2 million miles of pipeline across the country to deliver it. In fact, natural gas utilities install about 30,000 miles of plastic pipelines every year, either expanding or replacing current pipelines.
A commitment to safety in the natural gas industry, including the American Gas Association (AGA) and the over 200 local energy utility companies across the country who deliver natural gas, had lead to steadily declining incident rates over the last twenty years; looking at the numbers, there were 57% fewer incident in 2012 than in 1993. Part of this has been the progress made by the industry in reducing excavation damage when setting the pipelines, which is the leading cause of serious incidents, by about 50% since 2004. This progress is attributed largely to the promotion of the 811 national number for people to call before beginning any excavation project, big or small.
According to McCurdy, the AGA invests over $7 billion per year in maintaining the safety and reliability of the natural gas delivery system, in part thanks to the 2011 call by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood for oil and gas pipeline owners to review their structures, identify areas of high potential risk, and accelerate their plans for repair and replacement. The AGA responded by moving policies, internally in utility regulatory commissions as well as in state legislature, to make the acceleration possible and upgrade their networks.
Read the full article here: The Safest Energy Delivery System in the Nation