Pipeline Transportation and its safety
There are many ways to transport raw materials and tools needed to build a whole new building. Transportation such as truck or ships are common when transporting hardware. But what happens when you have to transport chemicals. Ranging from fuel for vehicles to chemicals used to make detergents, we all need some means of transport. That is where pipelines comes to the rescue.
What are pipelines?
Pipeline transportation is a means of transferring good from one place to another over large distances. The good are no ordinary but mostly raw form chemicals or oil. Imagine how fuel that you use in your car reaches the gas station. The process is simple as it seems. The oils is processed in refineries and factories and sent via pipelines to the nearby location and long range distances. Once the pipeline route finishes, the road transport takes over. Which then supplies the fuel to different gas stations. You may have noticed large trucks coming and supplying oil. Well this is the process they go through.
Pipelines are mostly situated outside the country outskirts where there is barren land that can accommodate miles long piping. The crude oil pipeline is mostly underground dig deep to avoid any spillage or accidents and is made of steel or plastic. The pipelines that carry Natural Gas is slightly pressurized to convert gas to liquid and is made of carbon steel. USA , Russia and Canada are main countries that use pipeline transportation as the means to transport good. USA uses 65 percent of pipelines while Russia and Canada uses 8 and 3 percent respectively.
Despite being a reliable source to transfer explosive or inflammable substances. Pipelines are subject to many hazards that turn into accidents. Back in time during the war the army of other countries mostly invaded the pipeline area trying to sabotage the substance it was carrying. Pipelines have been subject to terrorist attack. Oil spillage and gases explosions are the main cause of accidents. Many also got killed especially the workers supervising the operations.
Pipelines can also collapse due to weak infrastructure or pounding too much material in one go. Best example is supply of Ammonia which is quite explosive and unstable when transferred through pipelines. It is reported on most occasion that hazard occurred because the supply from the back end was not stable enough which corrupted the pipeline system. Causes of hazards are stress corrosion, using bad material and damages from external forces.
Pipeline safety and precautions
Although encountering hazards, the pipeline system is still reliable and safe as compared to road or rail transport. There are many incidents depicting the hazards on road such as oil leakage or truck tires being burst due to immense heat. Pipelines is far away from this issue as it has not tire mechanism. Pipelines can carry almost any kind of chemical which the road transport cannot over long range. The high quality fuel is volatile in nature and can get evaporated if supplied on roads whereas pipeline has an air tight mechanism so gases cannot escape its chambers. Hence supply is made easy.
In every year from 2003 to 2013, pipelines experienced fewer occurrences per million barrels of oil equivalent transported than the road did. Overall in this period, rail and road experienced 0.227 occurrences per million barrels of oil equivalent transported compared to 0.049 for pipelines.
Ways to prevent hazards
Hazards can occur anywhere. Whether it be natural hazards or accidents, so precautions must be taken to minimize the damage done. First of all risk analysis is mandatory when considering pipelines. Pipelines are very long ranging from 100,000 to 300,000 kilometers so keeping on watch in the progress is difficult. It is recommended to setup camps at or checkpoint at different spots so employees can supervise the operation.
On the other hand technical safety working is guaranteed. Employees are advised to wear radioactive suits and goggles if highly inflammable product is transported. Most importantly do not stuff too much volume in the pipeline way, supply equal amount of substance to avoid mishap. It is very important to take into account the supply that is being processed in industries. A half processed supply will likely be unstable and can cause internal corrosion compared to fully processed one.
Overall Pipelines are much safer then other means. Sadly they do not contribute to much countries mostly smaller countries. Installing pipeline system overall will save many freight and labor charges cutting down unwanted costs people have to pay.Author: Team Quantum