Buried pipelines, like those owned and operated by Phillips 66 Pipeline LLC, are the primary means of moving energy products from their origination point to consumer use.
There are nearly 2.5 million miles of pipeline in the U.S. alone. The U.S. transmission lines moved 79.8 billion gallons (14.9 billion barrels) of crude and petroleum products in 2013 alone (www.api.org). Recognized by the National Transportation Safety Board as being the safest way to carry energy products, this massive, largely unseen energy transit network is proven and reliable.
Gathering pipeline systems literally gather crude oil from production wells. Crude oil pipeline systems transport crude oil (the raw good) from the gathering systems to refineries. Crude oil systems can be tens to hundreds of miles in length and may cross state and international borders. Refined products systems transport products that have been processed in some way, including gasoline, kerosene and many industrial feedstock petrochemicals from refineries to the end user or to storage and distribution terminals. Refined products pipelines extend thousands of miles and cross state and continental borders.
The diameter of pipe can range in size from 2 to 42 inches. Oil pipeline systems are owned, operated and interconnected by many different companies. The location, construction and operation of these systems are typically regulated by federal and state regulations.
There are many federal and state regulatory agencies to confirm products are handled in pipelines of integrity and by capable operators. The risk of living or working near a pipeline containing hazardous materials is tied to the potential of an unplanned release of product carried by the pipeline. Unintentional releases can impact surrounding populations, property and the environment. Releases may result in property damage, environmental damage or injuries – even death.
Pipeline incidents like these can yield a significant economic effect by interrupting business or damaging infrastructure. Moreover, releases can impact wildlife or contaminate drinking water. Consequences escalate due to fire or explosion caused by the ignition of released products, toxicity or asphyxiation effects.
Fortunately, serious pipeline incidents are rare. However, it is best to understand the hazards—which vary by product type, pipeline type and external-to-pipe characteristics—of living or working near a pipeline.
The U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) provides useful hazardous materials information. PHMSA jointly publishes and distributes the Emergency Response Guidebook as an aid for first responders to quickly identify and provide protection from specific hazardous materials involved in transportation accidents and incidents.
The following table is a simplified list of common pipeline products and their associated hazards. Determine what is carried in the pipeline near you by visiting www.npms.phmsa.dot.gov or reviewing the information captured on a nearby notification sign (called a pipeline marker).
Hazards Table, Adapted from Emergency Response Guidebook 2012 Version
|PRODUCT||COLOR & DESCRIPTION||LOCATION AFTER RELEASED||FLAMMABILITY||HEALTH HAZARD|
|REFINED PRODUCTS||Refined products vary widely in color.||Vapors are heavier than air and tend to settle to the ground.||Gasolines of various kinds are the most flammable. Kerosene and fuel oil are somewhat less likely to ignite, but should be considered dangerous.||Breathing low concentrations of refined products leads to little health hazard. Contact can sometimes cause minor skin irritations; however, refrain from contact. Higher concentrations of refined products may lead to asphyxiation.|
|CRUDE OIL||Color can vary from yellow to nearly black. “Sour crude” contains hydrogen sulfide (H2S), and, under certain conditions can be recognized by its rotten egg odor.||Vapors are heavier than air and tend to settle near the ground.||Flash points of crude oil mixtures can vary. Will burn, producing heat and smoke.||Can cause throat and eye irritation as well as breathing difficulty. Heavier concentrations will cause dizziness similar to intoxication and may lead to serious breathing difficulty, even death.|
|HIGHLY VOLATILE LIQUIDS (HVLS)||Colorless. It is transported as a liquid but becomes a gas and forms a vapor cloud when released into the atmosphere. Vapors vary in size depending on weather conditions. If the vapor drifts from the immediate vicinity of a leak, becomes much less visible and detected only by a monitor.||Vapors are heavier than air and tend to settle to the ground, especially in low-lying areas.||Vapors are highly flammable and ignite very easily. Fire hazard is higher on a calm day, since vapors remain more concentrated instead of dispersed in the air.||Vapor displacement of oxygen can result in asphyxiation. Vapors can cause severe freeze burns when in contact with skin.
Some HVLs contain hydrogen sulfide (H2S). Light concentrations of H2S will cause throat and eye irritation as well as breathing difficulty. Heavier concentrations of H2S will cause dizziness similar to intoxication and may lead to serious breathing difficulty, even death.
|NATURAL GAS||A colorless gas.||Vapors from liquefied gas are initially heavier than air and spread along the ground. Vapors may travel to source of ignition and flash back.||Natural gas, alone, does not burn. Combustion only occurs when there is a mixture of gas and air, containing between five and 15 percent of natural gas.||Harmful, even fatal, if inhaled or absorbed through the skin.|
|HYDROGEN||A odorless, colorless gas.||Vapors may travel considerable distances to a source of ignition where they can ignite, flash back or explode.||Extremely flammable, burning with a clear flame that can be difficult to see.||Can reduce the oxygen available for breathing.|
- Maintaining a comprehensive integrity management program
- Meeting rigorous standards
- Communicating with local emergency response agencies frequently
- Educating the public about pipeline safety and avoiding incidents
Operational data is transmitted by a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system. SCADA is a series of land-line and satellite electronic controls and computers. The complex system allows Phillips 66 Pipeline LLC to remotely operate valves and pumps and monitor pressures and other vital information from a centralized location.
Integrity Management: Pipeline Incident Prevention TacticsThe term “integrity management” commonly refers to a set of rules that require interstate transmission pipeline operators to:
- Identify and assess all threats to a particular pipeline segment, whether internal or external
- Produce an integrity management plan designed to routinely assess identified threats and undertake any necessary measures to maintain the pipeline’s safety
- Inspecting surface conditions above and around a pipeline. This happens via aerial patrol or on foot, in accordance with U.S. DOT regulations
- Inspecting pipeline integrity using in-line devices (commonly called smart tools or PIGs) or hydrotesting.
- Employing internal pipeline corrosion, cathodic protection and chemical inhibitors
- Executing damage prevention and public awareness plans, including the support of One-Call networks
- Utilizing high-tech control and monitoring tools that yield continuous data on products, pressures, flow rates and emergency information
- National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)
- U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline & Hazardous Safety Materials Administration (PHMSA)
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
- U.S. Coast Guard
- Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
- State and local regulatory bodies
Phillips 66 Pipeline LLC conducts a damage prevention program to educate the public with the intention of preventing releases due to pipeline dents, scrapes, or gashes. PHMSA regulates the usefulness of both pipeline operator damage prevention programs as well as the state damage prevention law enforcement programs.
You can minimize the potential hazards of risky digging projects by learning about pipelines and sharing what you know with others. Do your loved ones install fence posts, garden, plan to install a pool or plan to dig at least 12 inches for any reason? Make sure they know about pipelines, have called 8-1-1 to have underground utilities marked and know the signs of a pipeline leak.
811 is the toll-free, national call before you dig phone number. By dialing 8-1-1, you are automatically connected to a local One-Call center. The One-Call center will ask for details regarding the planned digging project.
How One-Call Works
By dialing 8-1-1, you are automatically connected to a local One-Call center. Notify your local One-Call center of your planned digging projects 2-3 days before work begins. Be sure to check the Common Ground Alliance’s state map to find out how far in advance you need to call.
Operators with underground utilities in the vicinity of your project are notified by the One-Call center. Wait a minimum of two days for affected utility operators to respond to your request.
Confirm that all affected utility operators have responded to your request and marked underground utilities. You can recognize the type of line marked on a site by using the following color code:
Respect the marks. Remember that the location of underground utility lines is not an exact science and some areas may have varying degrees of accuracy. A Phillips 66 Pipeline LLC employee will be on site if you plan to dig very near one of our lines or facilities.
Dig Carefully around the marks with care. Utilize hand-digging techniques appropriately and follow the recommendations of the CGA’s Best Practices guide.
Call Again if rain or excavation work has caused the ground markings to be unclear. Call 8-1-1 anytime you begin a new job in the same area.
For best service, have this information in hand before you call:
- The type of work you’ll be doing
- The equipment you’ll use and the depth you plan to dig
- The date and time of your planned work
- The street address, or nearest intersection and best description of the area, in which you plan to dig
- Driving directions or GPS coordinates, if available
One-Call Legal Requirements
The specific regulations for digging and contacting One-Call vary slightly from state-to-state; you can find more about your state here.
Dependent upon your state’s One-Call law, you could be responsible for fines, repair costs, and additional property and life damages if you strike a pipeline. Some energy products, when unexpectedly released, that come in contact with an individual or ignite, can cause injuries or even death. By calling 811/One-Call, and adhering to markings, you are mitigating personal liability should an unplanned incident or accident occur.
Indications of a Pipeline Problem:
The pipeline location (a residence, business or right-of-way) and pipeline product type (crude oil, natural gas) will contribute to how a leak is recognized. Other factors may include weather conditions, time of year and severity of the leak.
SMELL – An unusual smell, petroleum odor or gaseous odor may sometimes accompany a pipeline leak. Natural gas, though, is odorless and remains so during transit to the distribution facilities where odorants (typically, mercaptan) are added to the gas to impart a distinct odor.
SIGHT - Liquid pools, discolored or abnormally dry soil, continuous bubbling in wet or flooded areas, an oily sheen on water surfaces, and vaporous fogs or blowing dirt around a pipeline area can all be indicative of a pipeline leak. Dead or discolored plants in an otherwise healthy area of vegetation or frozen ground in warm weather are other possible signs.
Some energy products are odorless and cannot be detected through scent alone. It is important to be alert to unusual sights and sounds in the area of a pipeline.
SOUND – Volume can range from a quiet hissing to a loud roar correlative to the size of the leak.
What to Do in An Emergency or If You Suspect a Problem:
- Leave the area and warn others to stay away. Never attempt to look for or operate any pipeline equipment, including valves.
- Call 911. Be ready to report as much as you know about your concerns, why you suspect a problem, and your general location.
- If you are safe, and able to do so, call the Phillips 66 Pipeline LLC emergency number, provided toll-free, at 1-877-267-2290. Emergency responders will contact Phillips 66 Pipeline LLC as well.
But I Thought Everything Was Safe?
Phillips 66 Pipeline LLC has an excellent safety record (view our statistics at the U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration website). Because the safety of our communities is our number one priority, we use a multi-pronged approach: exacting pipeline design and construction standards, continual line surveillance, a robust integrity management program, and invaluable relationship and training with emergency responders and leaders in areas where we operate.
Phillips 66 Pipeline LLC has a goal of zero pipeline safety and community incidents – whether caused by us or others. To achieve this, we educate the public to do their best to avoid any safety issues. We share best practice information like always calling 8-1-1 and keeping the right-of-way free from encroachments. Again, there are many and varying preventative and mitigative tactics in place to avoid a pipeline leak, but should the unforeseeable occur, we want our neighbors to know exactly what they should do.
Will You Notify Me If a Leak Has Been Identified?
Should a worst-case scenario pipeline leak occur that could affect our neighbors, Phillips 66 Pipeline LLC response teams will follow our Emergency Response Action Plan (ERAP) protocols (shared at least annually with responders in our areas of operation). Our ERAP tactics are detailed and specific to each pipeline system. Presuming all fail-safes work as they should, you likely would not be notified of a leak near you.
That said, if a pipeline leak was dangerous, or if it posed an immediate threat to health or environment, you would be notified as quickly and systematically as possible. This notification would likely be made by your community responders or elected officials.
Phillips 66 During and After an Incident
Our cutting edge Control Center houses a team of highly-specialized Pipeline Controllers that operate sophisticated line monitoring systems 24 hours, 7 days a week. A line leak would be detected through the combination of human resources and automated tools.
Should the unlikely event of a leak occur, Phillips 66 Pipeline LLC would follow Emergency Response Plan protocols and dispatch representatives from our trained response team to the site. The response team is comprised of multiple roles and disciplines: pipeline operators, environmental specialists and emergency responders. These individuals understand the characteristics of the products we transport and how to best mitigate any leak situation.
After a leak is stopped, the recovery process begins. This includes the physical recovery of product spilled as well as the recovery of surrounding areas to what they once were. Phillips 66 Pipeline LLC would clean and restore affected areas with as minimal impact to business and property owners as practicable. Recovery costs would include environmental needs, home and business recovery as needed, government fines and fees, etc.
All stages of response and recovery are careful monitored by several federal and state agencies, including the U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Coast Guard, and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
Preparing to Dig
One-Call is a free national service that alerts underground utility operators, like Phillips 66 Pipeline LLC, to mark the location of their lines before a digging project begins. Always contact your local One-Call office three working days before you plan to dig. To do so, simply dial 8-1-1. In most states this is not merely suggested, it’s the law.
Dialing 811 for One-Call will always give you the most accurate underground utility location information and is the only and best way to proceed before a digging project; however, there are other methods to find the general location of a line.
Pipeline markers are signs (like the one pictured below) placed by operators at regular intervals along the general route of a pipeline. These signs are commonly found near road and railway crossings, at aboveground facilities along the pipeline system, and within a right-of-way. A right-of-way is the dedicated clearing of land that provides a safety buffer above and around a pipeline. Most often a right-of-way appears as a wide strip of manicured grass.
Markers vary in shape, size and color, but all include the type of product transported, the operator’s name and emergency contact number. These signs simply act as a reminder that pipelines are nearby; they are not a replacement method for calling 811 before a digging project.
Using Online Resources
Visit our Phillips 66 Pipeline LLC Map Viewer to find all Phillips 66 Pipeline LLC-operated pipelines closest to you.
The National Pipeline Mapping System contains information about the facilities, hazardous liquids lines and gas transmission lines near you. This free online application is managed by the U.S. Department of Transportation and shares information for all PHMSA-regulated operators in the United States.
Online mapping tools are for reference purposes only; they are not a replacement method for calling 811 before a digging project.
Encroachments are obstructions that can limit or impair a pipeline operator’s ability to effectively maintain pipelines in a safe operating environment. Examples of common encroachments include: sheds, patios, swimming pools, fences, septic systems, swimming pools and trees.
Phillips 66 Pipeline LLC, like all operators, has guidelines from the U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration for the implementation of an encroachment program that meets federal pipeline safety standards. Our program includes the provision of greenbelts along a right-of-way, building setback specifications, utility crossing standards, encroachment education for neighbors and adequate cover over our pipelines.
Our pipelines are covered by written easement agreements that provide for reasonable legal protection against unacceptable encroachments and are filed as public records in the counties and parishes where we operate. We require advance review and approval of construction plans that impact our established pipeline rights-of-way so that encroachment issues can be mitigated.
Use the following guidelines to safely protect against encroachment around Phillips 66 Pipeline LLC pipelines.
- Buildings or other engineered structures or works (including, but not limited to barns, sheds, pools, ponds, retaining walls, decks, etc.) should be no closer than 50 feet
- Fences running in parallel to the right-of-way should be no closer than 25 feet
- Fences running in non-parallel to the right-of-way should be no closer than 4 feet
Each year, Phillips 66 Pipeline LLC clears hundreds of miles of pipeline right-of-way as part of our safety effort. A “cleared right-of-way” means trees and brush will be eliminated. Trees and tree canopies prevent us from effectively monitoring pipelines for issues, while tree roots can cause damage to the protective pipeline coatings.
In most cases where a right-of-way contains only a single pipeline, Phillips 66 Pipeline LLC will clear a strip extending 15 feet on either side of the pipeline or the width of the easement, whichever is the lesser expanse. In areas where more than one line is buried, the clearing extends 15 feet from the outermost pipeline(s) or the width of the easement, whichever is the lesser expanse.
Please use our non-emergency number, 1-800-231-2566, for more information about our encroachment guidelines or to discuss a project with one of our right-of-way representatives.
Excerpted from PHMSA’s Briefing on Integrity Management:An integrity management program is a set of safety management, analytical, operations, and maintenance processes that are implemented in an integrated and rigorous manner to assure operators provide protection for HCAs. While the rules provide some flexibility for an operator to develop a program best suited for its pipeline system(s) and operations, there are certain required features – called “program elements” – which each integrity management program must have. The core integrity management program elements include:
- Identifying all locations where a pipeline failure might impact an HCA.
- Developing a risk-based plan (known as the Baseline Assessment Plan) to conduct integrity assessments on those portions of the pipeline. Integrity assessments are performed by in-line inspection (also referred to as “smart pigging”), hydrostatic pressure testing, direct assessment or other technology that the operator demonstrates can provide an equivalent understanding of the condition of the line pipe.
- Integrating the assessment results with other relevant information to improve the understanding of the pipe’s condition.
- Repairing pipeline defects identified through the integrated analysis of the assessment results.
- Conducting a risk analysis to identify the most significant pipeline threats in segments that can affect HCAs. Examples of pipeline threats include corrosion, excavation-induced damage, material defects, and operator errors.
- Identifying additional measures to address the most significant pipeline threats. These measures include actions to prevent and mitigate releases that go beyond repairing the defects discovered through integrity assessment.
- Regularly evaluating all information about the pipeline and its location-specific integrity threats to determine when future assessments should be performed and what methods should be selected to conduct those assessments.
- Periodically evaluating the effectiveness of the integrity management program and identifying improvements to enhance the level of protection.
Phillips 66 Pipeline LLC maintains a system of risk analysis that extends across our pipeline route; our integrity management program meets or exceeds all federal and state regulatory requirements. We use many measures to identify threats to the integrity of a pipeline. Even before a pipeline is commissioned, routes are carefully selected to align with strict engineering, design and environmental standards and regulations. Once the pipeline is in place, our 50-person Asset Integrity team is solely focused on the quality control of our pipelines.
The Asset Integrity team monitors external factors like earth movement and runs inline inspection tool programs. These tools allow us to “peek under the hood” by utilizing ultrasound, MRI and X-ray technology to scan sections of pipeline at a time for imperfections. Tools called “Smart PIGs” use ultrasound technology to detect crack-like features, or Magnetic Flux Leakage (MFL), to detect metal loss features – each indicating there may be corrosion. When the Asset Integrity team receives indications of a problem, a preventative maintenance dig and visual inspection may be required. Repairs are made as necessary to prevent future accidents.
You may not be alerted if maintenance activities are taking place on a right-of-way near your property; however, if a Phillips 66 Pipeline LLC line crosses your property, you will always be alerted if we need access.
Any work that would inconvenience you in any way will be kept at a minimum and completed as quickly as practicable. When long-term maintenance work is conducted, affected parties will have the name and number of a Phillips 66 Pipeline LLC local representative and/or the name of a right-of-way specialist to voice concerns.