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OPS Statistics Reveal Drop in Number of Gas Pipe Incidents This Year

The rate of incidents involving natural gas transmission and distribution pipelines appears to have slowed in the first half of this year, according to statistics from the Department of Transportation's Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS).

Gas transmission pipelines have reported a total of 48 incidents causing $17.79 million in damages during the first six months of 2005, the OPS said. If this pace continues into the second half, transmission pipes will likely report fewer incidents for the current year than in 2004, which saw 120 gas transmission incidents causing $36.45 million in damages.

However, gas transmission line incidents have resulted in two deaths in the first half, which is double the number of fatalities that occurred in all of 2004, the OPS noted. Transmission lines also have reported two injuries so far this year, compared to three injuries last year.

The majority of the transmission pipe incidents in the first half of this year were caused by external and internal corrosion, earth movement, third-party excavation damage, miscellaneous factors and unknown reasons, the OPS said. There have been no fire/explosions as the primary cause so far, it noted. This compares to last year when there were more than two fire/explosion incidents involving gas transmission pipes.

Gas distribution pipelines have reported a total of 60 incidents causing $11.44 million in damages in the first six months of this year, according to the agency. If this pace continues into the second half, distribution pipes also are likely to post considerably fewer incidents in 2005 than in 2004, which saw 172 gas distribution incidents costing $39 million in damages.

In addition, distribution lines have reported no deaths so far this year, compared to 18 during 2004. The OPS lists 18 injuries for distribution pipelines in the first half of this year, compared to 41 for all of 2004.

Most of the incidents involving gas distribution lines this year were caused by fire/explosions as the primary cause, third-party excavation, and vehicles unrelated to excavation activity, the OPS said.

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