Risk Assessment of Incidents Response for Downstate New York Natural Gas Distribution Infrastructure

Risk Assessment of Incidents Response for Downstate New York Natural Gas Distribution Infrastructure

Brian J. Galli (Assistant Professor and Graduate Program Director, Master of Science in Engineering Management Industrial Engineering, Hofstra University, USA) and Aamir Khizar (Long Island University, Brookville, USA)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 35
DOI: 10.4018/IJRCM.2019040103
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In the United States today, there are thousands of miles of an extended network of natural gas pipelines across the nation. Current pipeline explosions and leaks in several regions have challenged the natural gas industry to re-evaluate efforts and to pursue proactive strategies. Safety and the environmental threat has become a primary concern in the United States and around the world, but mostly in cases where natural gases, oil, and other hazardous wastes are intricate. Thus, a significant point in the natural gas pipeline industry that signifies both the economic and social issue is the unplanned pipeline risk. In this article, a quantitative data analysis was performed for Downstate New York companies, Con Edison and National Grid. There, the data from various natural gas pipelines was observed for the trend regarding failing material, failure cause, aging characteristics, and perform a risk assessment to come up with training and risk checklist that could be crucial for risk handling strategies. The statistical analyses of the natural gas pipeline-related incident data for distribution pipelines between 2012 and 2016, which were composed from Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) of the United States Department of Transportation (DOT), are compiled. The total miles in the gas distribution pipelines in downstate New York is approximately 48,539 as of 2016. The equipment failure, other incident cause, other outside force, and excavation damages are the leading causes of the pipe-related incidents, which are responsible for over 20% of the total incidents between 2012 and 2016. As a result, a quantitative research methodology has been developed as the suitable approach to achieve risk assessment. Mainly, this approach aims towards risk management in natural gas industry projects using the maximum likelihood method on 70 rupture incidents between 2012 and 2016, which were collected from the PHMSA pipeline incident database. The hypothetical quantitative risk assessment of the gas distribution pipelines are illustrated by combining the statistics of the pipeline rupture incidents, as well as risk assessment performed in the present study.
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1. Introduction

1.1. History

Pipelines are the safest ways of transferring energy fuels, so the world relies on them to distribute energy. According to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), the New York pipelines encompass a total of 48,539 miles. As natural gas consumption rises, so does the need to have a transport structure in place to supply the amplified demand. The Department of Transportation (D.O.T) defines a Transmission line as a pipeline that transports gas from a gathering line to a distribution center and operates at >124 psi (Interpertation, 2011). Any pressure below 124 psi is categorized as a Distribution Line (Figure 1). Pipelines deliver an economical and safe means of transporting natural gas across vast distances around the states. Although energy demand has risen over the previous decade, more recent estimates suggest that this demand may increase during the upcoming decade. (EIA) (Figure 2). The new demand for natural gas is visible in NYC, Queens, Long Island, Brooklyn, and Staten Island areas, as they are incessantly growing. Thus, adding miles of distribution pipelines may be essential to sustain the demand.

However, the natural gas pipeline does fail from time to time, occasionally with catastrophic consequence. It is significant to recognize the efficient and valuable transportation of natural gas from the source point to consumption points, which involve the use of a highly controlled transportation system. Natural gas is most frequently transported using pipeline structure. This is merely a system of pipes that are often underground and used to move products or water from the source point to treating or utility point (Guo, 2014). According to a report by the PHMSA, there have been more than 4,600 gas pipeline accidents identified and recorded since 1990. From PHMSA statistical reports, excavation damage and corrosion have been defined as significant causes of most fatal pipeline accidents. Other causes include incorrect operation, equipment failure, materials or weld damage, and outside force damage, which can also cause pipeline incidents.

Figure 1.

The gas pipeline transportation system (Source: Pipeline Safety Trust, (Pipeline Safety, 2015))

Figure 2.

Annual New York natural gas total consumption (Source: U.S. Energy Info. Admin, (EIA))


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