Based on the current comprehensive regulatory framework in place and proven track record of safe CO2 pipeline operations across the nation, it is clear that pipelines, such as the Heartland Greenway, provide a safe means of transporting CO2 and should be approved.
Federal law and regulation impose comprehensive safety requirements on the construction and operation of CO2 pipelines. Congress in the Pipeline Safety Reauthorization Act of 1988 required the U.S. Department of Transportation to regulate CO2 pipelines under federal pipeline safety regulations. The U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) in 1989 expanded its federal pipeline safety regulations to cover CO2 pipelines. Current PHMSA regulations at 49 CFR Part 195 prescribe hundreds of requirements on the construction, inspection, maintenance, monitoring and incident response for CO2 pipelines. PHMSA inspects and enforces compliance on pipeline operators violating federal CO2 pipeline safety requirements.
CO2 pipeline operators, as required by federal regulations and their own safety programs, must devote significant resources to ensuring their pipelines operate safely.
CO2 pipeline operators proactively inspect their pipelines on regular schedules to look for any issues and ensure the pipeline remains safe. Operators use diagnostic tools called “smart pigs” that travel inside pipelines scanning the walls with technology similar to an ultrasound or MRI found in a doctor’s office to identify and guard against potential pipe issues.
CO2 pipeline operators perform preventative maintenance on their pipes to address potential issues before they become a problem and monitor their pipelines from a central control center 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Specially trained controllers keep a watchful eye over systems monitoring pipeline pressure, flow and volume. Operator personnel patrol along the pipeline route and personnel in airplanes or helicopters travel overhead the length of the pipeline on a regular schedule looking for signs of leaks.
Navigator CO2 has worked with landowners since the inception of the Heartland Greenway to ensure the project is built safely, the right way, and to last. They have a commitment to be good neighbors with the communities they serve within the project’s footprint. With large-scale infrastructure projects such as the Heartland Greenway, it is critical to maintain open dialogue and to educate members of the community about the robust safety measures that have been implemented to secure both a project that will reap economic benefits for the local economy and to keep the community safe.
These pipeline safety programs are having their intended effect of improving pipeline safety performance. According to federal government safety data of 5,000 miles of CO2 pipelines currently in operation, CO2 pipeline incidents are down 56% over the last 5 years. Compared to other liquids pipelines, CO2 pipelines are the safest. Since 2017, CO2 pipelines have experienced 55% fewer incidents per mile than crude oil pipelines and 37% fewer incidents per mile than refined products pipelines.
Andrew Black is president and CEO of Liquid Energy Pipeline Association.For more ag news and opinions, visit Agri-Pulse.com.