In this episode of the Pipeliners Podcast, host Russel Treat is joined by Andy Black, President & CEO of Liquid Energy Pipeline Association (formerly Association of Oil Pipelines, AOPL), to discuss the roles of various organizations, including FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission), and how pipelines are the safest, most environmentally friendly way to transport liquid fuels.
In this episode, you will learn about the three missions LEPA focuses on, how FERC protects the shippers of the oil industry, and the amount of incidents have decreased in recent years due to the industry wide programs being implemented.
Liquid Energy Pipeline Show Notes, Links, and Insider Terms:
- Andy Black is the President and CEO of the Liquid Energy Pipeline Association. Connect with Andy on LinkedIn.
- The Liquid Energy Pipeline Association, formerly known as the Association of Oil Pipe Lines (AOPL) promotes responsible policies, safety excellence, and public support for liquids pipelines. LEPA (Liquid Energy Pipeline Association) represents pipelines transporting 97 percent of all hazardous liquids barrel miles reported to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). LEPA and API produced the 2021 Pipeline Safety Excellence Performance Report that details the industry’s safety record and strategic plan initiatives to continue improving pipeline safety.
- API (American Petroleum Institute) is the only national trade association representing all facets of the oil and natural gas industry, which supports 10.3 million U.S. jobs and nearly 8 percent of the U.S. economy.
- FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) regulates, monitors, and investigates electricity, natural gas, hydropower, oil matters, natural gas pipelines, LNG terminals, hydroelectric dams, electric transmission, energy markets, and pricing.
- Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) is natural gas that has been cooled to a liquid state (liquefied), at about -260° Fahrenheit, for shipping and storage. The volume of natural gas in its liquid state is about 600 times smaller than its volume in its gaseous state in a natural gas pipeline.
- PHMSA (Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration) is responsible for providing pipeline safety oversight through regulatory rule-making, NTSB recommendations, and other important functions to protect people and the environment through the safe transportation of energy and other hazardous materials.
- NGL (Natural Gas Liquids) is natural gas that has been cooled down to liquid form for ease and safety of non-pressurized storage or transport.
- Department of Energy (DOE) is a cabinet-level agency of the federal government responsible for ensuring America’s security and prosperity by addressing its energy, environmental, and nuclear challenges through transformative science and technology solutions.
- Valve and Rupture Rule is a newly updated PHMSA regulation.This rule establishes requirements for rupture-mitigation valves, such as spacing, maintenance and inspection, and risk analysis. The final rule also requires operators of gas and hazardous liquid pipelines to contact 9-1-1 emergency call centers immediately upon notification of a potential rupture and conduct post-rupture investigations and reviews.
- Nightmare Pipeline Failures is a collection of pipeline failures that have occurred in the United States, going into detail what went wrong and how it could have been prevented.
- FAA (Federal Aviation Administration): The continuing mission of the FAA is to provide the safest, most efficient aerospace system in the world.
- The Marshall Incident refers to the Enbridge Incorporated Hazardous Liquid Rupture and Release, which occurred on July 25, 2010, in Marshall, Michigan. Read the full NTSB Accident Report.
- Keystone Pipeline (KXL) is a large-scale pipeline system designed to transfer oil from Canada to Texas. The fourth phase of the project, Keystone XL, became a hot-button, divisive issue in 2015, which caused delays. The expansion was approved in 2017 by the Trump Administration. However, the project was set on the path to cancellation under the Biden Administration in early 2021. In June 2021, the Keystone XL Pipeline Project was terminated.
Liquid Energy Pipeline Full Episode Transcript:
Russel Treat: Welcome to the “Pipeliners Podcast”, Episode 258, sponsored by Gas Certification Institute, providing standard operating procedures, training, and software tools for custody transfer measurement and field operations professionals. Find out more about GCI at gascertification.com.
Announcer: The Pipeliners Podcast, where professionals, Bubba geeks, and industry insiders share their knowledge and experience about technology, projects, and pipeline operations. Now your host, Russel Treat.
Russel: Thanks for listening to the Pipeliners Podcast. I appreciate that you’re taking the time, and to show appreciation, we give away a customized YETI tumbler to one listener every episode. This week our winner is Albert Chavez with Hilcorp. Congratulations, Albert. Your YETI is on its way. To learn how you can win this signature prize, stick around till the end of the episode.
This week Andy Black, President and CEO of the Liquid Energy Pipeline Association, most recently known as AOPL, joins us to discuss the missions and initiatives at the association.
Andy, welcome to the Pipeliners Podcast.
Andy Black: Russel, it is great to be here. I have long enjoyed this show and it’s an honor to be with you.
Russel: It’s honor to have you. You were one of the people I put down on the list back in 2017 when I said, “Who are the people that I ought to try and get on the show?” Very awesome. We actually met, I think, for the first time at API last year. Got introduced by our buddy over at Marathon, Sean.
Finally, we’re getting it done. There you go.
Andy: Exactly. It’s great. Thank you.
Russel: Before we get into this, why don’t you tell us a little bit about your background and how you ended up President and CEO of the Liquid Energy Pipeline Association?
Andy: Sure. I grew up in Houston, where, of course, energy is always talked about. I went to college in Fort Worth at TCU, where I met Congressman Joe Barton of that part of the state. He asked me to come to Washington to work for him.
Congressman Barton became Subcommittee Chairman Barton and Committee Chairman Barton, and that gave me lots of opportunities to do energy work with Texas companies and national companies. Did a couple of rounds of pipeline safety legislation and also the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Great background. It’s like a graduate school.
I went to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, FERC, the economic regulator of pipelines. Then I went to the Washington office of El Paso Corporation. Of course, now they’ve been bought by Kinder Morgan, but that was a series of pipelines and production issues and LNG that I was working on.
That’s when the then Association of Oil Pipe Lines asked if I would talk to them about being their President and CEO. I became that in 2009. It helped that I worked on pipeline safety legislation. It helped them that I have been in FERC and that I have been in Congress. I’ve loved this job ever since, and I’m lucky to have it.
Russel: What was your degree program at TCU?
Andy: Economics, minor in business, political science. As I was thinking about this, I remember great classes from Dr. Ken Morgan at TCU, who leads the Energy Institute now on energy resources and geology. That was inspiring. Then I got an MBA at University of Maryland in night school while I was working on the Hill.
Russel: One of the things that’s interesting and for anybody that in our business, there’s actually a very good fit between political science and pipelining because much of what we do as pipeliners is interacting with government bodies, local jurisdiction, state jurisdictions, federal jurisdictions, etc., and that is a political science thing.
Andy: I’m sitting here in Washington, DC, as I talk to you and I’m fully aware that that’s not the real world. [laughs] One of the things that I like about this job is one foot in Washington policy in the political world and one foot in the business world, and try to interpret for each other on that.
Yeah, there’s an art of politics and policy in that. Every pipeline operator needs to have somebody watching Washington for them, and that’s what we do.
Russel: That’s awesome. Diving in a little bit, in your introduction, I said, you’re the President and CEO of the Liquid Energy Pipeline Association. Then, in your description of your background, you said you joined AOPL. You want to share with the listeners what that’s all about.
Andy: We have just changed our name. For 75 years, this association was AOPL, the Association of Oil Pipe Lines. Starting on August 15, we’re now the Liquid Energy Pipeline Association, LEPA.
Why did we do that? Two reasons. One, oil didn’t really fully reflect who we are now. Maybe one third of the pipeline network reported to PHMSA is crude oil, another one third is pipelines carrying refined petroleum products, and another third is NGLs, HVLs, CO2.
Back in 1947, oil might have been understood to be oil and all derivatives from it, but that’s not the way people talk today. We’ve had pipelines carrying NGLs, pre-fractionation and post, like propane, and they don’t think of them as oil.
Even refined products aren’t called oil today. We wanted a name that reflects better the business models of our members today, and the second reason is to reflect what our business models are in the future.
We’ve had pipelines start to add renewable diesel service as refineries convert. We’ve got CO2 pipelines in the membership now, but we’re seeing projects to move more CO2, and they certainly don’t think of that as oil. Liquid energy seems better reflective of who we are and where we’re going, but we’ll keep doing the same things.
Russel: Often name changes, you look at them and you’re like, “What were people thinking?” but I think this is a great name change because really, AOPL infers crude oil pipelines, and you guys are doing all kinds of hydrocarbon and related liquid energy contents.
Andy: Exactly. Even if hydrogen is moved as a liquid later, we’ve got a place for that. I worked with our members on the name change. I want to thank John Stoody of now LEPA (Liquid Energy Pipeline Association) for inspiring this, and our members for working with us on what’s a name, what’s a logo that really reflects who we are.
Lots of support for that and we’re ready to go. We’ve told Washington, and the public, and our stakeholders who we are. I think there’s broad recognition.
Russel: I also think that I’ll read the name and I’ll know what you do. [laughs] It’s more line of sight. I wanted to ask you about FERC. A lot of the podcasts I have done until now have dealt with PHMSA and PHMSA regulation and so forth, but FERC also regulates pipelines, but it’s a different regulatory framework. Can you tell us who FERC is, and what they do, and why it matters?
Andy: I’m glad you’ve started with FERC because that’s a key reason for our association to be in existence. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is granted power by Congress under the old Interstate Commerce Act that was first built for railroads and now pipelines were added a century ago, to regulate the rates, terms, conditions of pipeline transportation that liquid energy pipelines give to our shippers. It’s a statute that protects shippers.
There are five members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, nominated by the President, confirmed by the Senate. They’re more independent than PHMSA. They’re not truly considered part of the executive branch.
It’s independent. Notionally, it’s under DOE, but it’s a body like the Federal Communications Commission or the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that has quasi-judicial authorities and is very important in what pipeline operators do.
It affects our ability to get enough revenues to fund our service and all of our safety improvements. They have a lot to do with whether we bring investment dollars into this sector when more pipeline capacity is needed. One last thing I’ll note is, as you’re well aware, Russel, and many of your listeners are, there’s multiple ways to move liquid energy. There’s pipelines, there’s trucks, there’s trains, there’s barges.
It’s only pipelines that are regulated by FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The others either aren’t regulated by an economic regulator or it’s somebody else, so FERC is unique in that it’s only got a part of this business.
Russel: The way I frame up in my mind what FERC is, is they’re there to make sure that there’s a fair and open market for the transportation of hydrocarbons through pipelines.
Andy: Yeah. That’s right. Their job is to make sure that the rates, and terms, and conditions for pipeline service are not unduly discriminatory, and they’re just and reasonable. Pipeline operators have an opportunity to recover their costs and get an appropriate return, but it shouldn’t be discriminatory, and it shouldn’t be unjust and unreasonable.
One of the things that we do is work with pipeline operators on how FERC regulates them. Then we’re talking with FERC staff and with those five FERC commissioners all the time. We’ll be doing another round of discussions with them in the next week or so about what’s happening in this market.
They see this market for liquids pipelines a little less than they see natural gas pipelines because a natural gas pipeline has to go to FERC for approval, but we go to states for approval. It’s a constant effort to educate them on how competitive this industry is and that we need to have the type of regulations that are appropriate for how competitive this is, and how risky liquid pipelines are.
Russel: Exactly. The other thing that’s interesting about liquids versus gas is…I should frame this as a question. I’m fairly familiar with FERC regulations as it relates to gas pipelines. I say fairly. I should say notionally. I have no familiarity as it relates to liquids pipelines. Isn’t it true to say that the business operations framework is different for the two kinds of pipes?
Andy: Yes. Absolutely. A lot of the natural gas pipelines regulated by FERC are cost of service. Cost of service may be appropriate for natural gas. It’s rare within liquids pipelines because of the volatility that we have in this sector and the fact that a shipper can walk away at any point, doesn’t have a contract, we’re regulated as a common carrier.
If the shipper wants to ship on our pipeline, we need to make sure that it’s just and reasonable rates and not unduly discriminatory. We are found to have a lot more competition. FERC has granted many liquid pipeline operators with market-based rates.
As long as the market that they operate in, they don’t have a certain amount of market power in, market-based rates are available to them. Most of the liquid pipelines economic regulation is under an oil pipeline rate index that’s set every five years.
FERC looks back at the last five years of cost changes within pipelines and cost changes within the country and picks an index. It’s the producer price index for finished goods. For the next five years, indexed rates rise and fall. They sometimes fall based on how the producer price index does.
We’ve had a period of high inflation and high increasing costs for liquid pipelines. During times of disinflation, the index rates have to go down. That’s a crucial part of what we do and what we look at at FERC.
Right now, we’re in court with FERC on what they did on the last oil pipeline index, an important part of our mission. Important to getting the right type of incentives and the right type of revenues for us to do all the things that we need to do.
Russel: This conversation, to me, Andy, is really interesting. So much of what I do personally in my businesses and so much of what I’ve done in this podcast has been around the operating side of the business. What you’re talking about is more around the commercial side of the business and how all that works.
This conversation, for me, clarifies why FERC is approving pipeline projects. The answer to that is, they don’t want them overbuilt or underbuilt. Either way, it adversely impacts the market.
Andy: FERC needs to make sure that shippers are protected. If a pipeline wants to go out there and build or even overbuild, as we have done at some times in our history, FERC’s there to make sure that the shippers are protected. They don’t say yes or no to a pipeline.
The primary way a liquid pipeline talks to FERC about a new project is there’s usually something unique in an agreement between a pipeline and its shippers, something novel that both sides want to make sure that FERC is going to be OK with. The pipeline operator will ask, “Is this OK?”
Russel: That’s completely different than what my understanding was about what FERC’s doing. So they’re not looking at the market, what they’re looking at is the contractual framework between the pipeline and the shippers?
Andy: You may be thinking about a natural gas that FERC determines whether there’s need. They look at precedent contracts there. That’s not this business. If you want to open a pipeline and you can get state approval, no problem. FERC’s going to make sure that the relationship between pipelines and shippers is as it should be as a common carrier.
Russel: Fascinating. See, this is one of the reasons I love doing this podcast. I’m always learning something new.
Andy: One last thing it makes me think of is this is an industry and a way of regulation at FERC that allows for more rapid change. If a pipeline operator decides they want to convert from crude to product service or NGL to crude, anything like that, they don’t need to wait for FERC to approve it. There’s a reason for them to do it. Shippers need that change in service.
The pipeline could be more valuably used a different way. You do it. You make sure that you’re treating your shippers right. FERC always has that opportunity. There’s no abandonment proceeding here. In liquids regulation, we can react to the market, and we’ll do that.
Russel: We talked about who FERC is and what they do. How does the Liquid Energy Pipeline Association…? What is your mission? How does that relate to what you’ve got going on with FERC?
Andy: We’ve got three missions that we carry out for our members. The first is responsible public policies. That’s economic regulatory policies at FERC, pipeline safety policies at PHMSA, security at TSA, permitting. Part one, again, is responsible public policies.
Number two is continuous improvement. It’s safety excellence. It’s pursuing the goal of zero incidents and carrying out a lot of programs to try and do that. Third is gaining public support and trust and maintaining that for liquid pipelines, making sure that people recognize the benefits that pipelines bring them, and the safety compared to other modes.
Increasingly, we’re talking about the environmental benefits of energy in liquid pipelines compared with the other modes of transporting. Public policies, performance excellence, and public support.
Russel: We’ve talked about public policy from a FERC standpoint. What kind of initiatives do you have going on with PHMSA or TSA?
Andy: With PHMSA we always want them to be pointed in the direction that allows pipeline operators to focus on the areas of highest risk and the best use of safety dollars. Operators should be doing digs for the right things, not the wrong things.
It’s a constant discussion of making sure that PHMSA recognizes how technology has improved, how analytics have improved, and in-line inspection and know-how, and letting us focus on those areas that are the greatest risk. We talked with PHMSA about their notice of proposed rulemaking.
You’ve been talking regularly with Keith Coyle of Babst Calland. They and other firms work with PHMSA on those inspections and enforcement. We talk with members and with people like Keith about how PHMSA maintains those discussions with pipeline operators, how they enforce issues when that’s necessary.
We’ll be talking with PHMSA and Congress next year. This will be another time when our nation’s pipeline safety laws and programs will be reauthorized, both for natural gas and for liquids pipelines.
An important year to make sure that Congress, the public operators, are all focused on that shared goal of improving pipeline safety but doing it in the right way.
Russel: I’d be interested to get your take on this. I would say that in the last three to five years, there’s been a lot more focus on rule making on the gas side because of the mega rule, and the gathering rule, and all that.
There’s been some issues on the liquid side, but a lot more going on the gas side. What do you think’s coming down the road in the future after reauthorization? What’s in your binoculars?
Andy: We’re all updating or implementing the recent rule on valves and rupture detection. PHMSA has said they want to initiate a rulemaking on the pipeline transportation of CO2. There are regulations that cover CO2, and it’s supercritical as it’s moved right now.
There’s an argument that other gaseous forms, other liquid forms, or gaseous forms may not be considered. We’ll work with Congress on that, and we’ll work with PHMSA. We want to address concerns about the safety of CO2 pipelines.
We found, when you look at PHMSA data, the safety of CO2 pipelines is actually better than the other types of liquid pipelines right now, but if there are gaps in emergency response to fill, our operators are ready to work with Congress and PHMSA on that. We also would like PHMSA to make progress on something Congress was wise to work on, on the last reauthorization law.
Congress recognized that PHMSA’s integrity management regulations haven’t been updated in more than 20 years. As you know and talk about with your guests, the ability of inline inspection has improved.
What vendors and pipeline operators can do involving analytics and know how have improved, but yet PHMSA hasn’t. We want PHMSA to have confidence to update its repair criteria in integrity management to reflect these new abilities.
Congress authorized PHMSA to create some technology pilots to let pipeline operators test these approaches in integrity management with an equal or greater level of safety. PHMSA hasn’t really implemented that in a way that is attracting pipeline operators to do that.
We’ll be going back to Congress and saying, “You had the right idea. There’s a need to update integrity management and to give PHMSA more confidence. Let’s find a way to do technology pilot programs that really work.”
Russel: We could do a whole nother conversation about that topic by itself. There’s a lot there. One of the other things you mentioned is your commitment to continuing improvement. What is the Liquid Energy Pipeline Association got going on with that?
Andy: I want to congratulate our members and our partners that we work with on this. Every year, we do a performance report on how we are doing. We look at the total number of liquid pipeline incidents reported at PHMSA, and we look at specific incidents that impact people or the environment.
Incidents that impact people/environment are down 31 percent last year over the five years before that, and total number of incidents are down 17 percent. We’ve got industry-wide programs that are working. We’re not at the goal, of course, which is zero incidents.
Some of the areas that we work on with our members and with our partners and friends at the American Petroleum Institute are about organizational excellence. That technology and innovation that I mentioned to improve safety and improve emergency preparedness. Safety management systems I know have been covered on prior pipeline podcasts.
We want to encourage members to employ those to do their gap assessments, to take action on that, and we want other pipeline sectors to do that as well. This was developed by liquid pipelines, but it doesn’t need to be restricted to just liquid pipelines. As you know, and as you’ve been a part of, there is a great practice within our industry of sharing lessons.
We need to share more lessons, and we need to make sure that we’re baking the learnings of those lessons into companies. It’s not just the person who attends the conference like the API Pipeline Information eXchange, but do they go back to their company and make improvements from that? We’ve worked hard to figure out how to do that.
Russel: If I might, I want to throw something out at you Andy, that you may have never heard of before. I recently read a book called “Nightmare Pipeline Failures.” As we’re recording this, I’m also recording the author of that book and talking to her about the content and the subject matter in that book.
In reading this book, one of the things they talk about is the need for accountability, beyond accountability to the company. Accountability to my profession. One good example of that would be pilots or a ship captain.
They have professional organizations, they have professional credentials, and they have accountability to a code of ethics and a code of behavior, and how they approach their job that is bigger than the company they work for. I actually think that that model makes sense in the pipeline world.
As I was reading the book, I’m like, “Well, what would it take in the US or North America to create a credential of professional pipeliner?” Has that ever occurred to you or is that something that’s a brand new concept?
Andy: I’ve heard about that book and I’ve heard it’s powerful. This makes me think of the sharing that Larry Shelton did on your podcast, a good while back, about the Olympic pipeline. What a powerful story. We need pipeline operators to be sharing lessons from incidents in whatever setting.
If there’s a way to do this with PHMSA, where PHMSA can learn from it in a safe manner, we’re ready to do that. When we get to talk to Congress, we will be saying yet again that we’re ready to participate in voluntary information sharing, like aviation has with the FAA, if it’s structured to have the right type of rules that airlines participate in.
This is a time, and you know it, where the public expectation and the expectation among pipeline operators is no incidents. It used to be, maybe, small ones were thought of as that’s just small and that doesn’t matter.
We’re measuring incidents, we’re measuring incidents that impact people and the environment, and asking ourselves what is it that we can do to continue improvement. Is that corrosion? Is that wells? Is that equipment failure? There’s a lot of sense of accountability already within pipelines and the law, and with the public, but it’s an interesting concept.
Russel: As I was reading the book, the notion that I had is there ought to be a requirement if you’re going to be a professional pipeliner. I’m doing air quotes with my fingers. It’s really helpful on an audio podcast.
You really ought to have studied and understood every one of the major pipeline incidents in the last 20 years or so. Becoming a professional pipeliner would be, I have detailed knowledge of the things that have gone wrong in the past and why. That’s the criteria of being a professional pipeliner.
Andy: The program now is for us to review data, and each year assess what industry programs are needed. We’ve got a multi-year strategic plan that we develop with API and with members. If there’s been an incident like the Marshall incident in 2010 that shows that we need to improve practices across the industry, we’ll work on that. Is that a technical report? Is that a recommended practice?
Coming out of Marshall, we developed recommended practices on leak detection program management, because leak detection was an issue there, on control room management because control room was an issue, and on cracking, stress corrosion cracking, which was found to be a contributor there.
We’ve learned a lot since then. We need to. We don’t want anything like that to happen again. If it does, it’s time to roll up the sleeves, find out what happened, find what we can do to improve industry performance.
That 31 percent decrease and incidents impacting people in the environment over five years, it shows that we’re doing it the right way but we’re never done,
Russel: No. Zero incidents is an aspirational goal. You might be able to do it for a day, a week, a month, or a year, however long, you’re not going to be able to do it forever. That is the goal, and that’s the only goal that makes sense. I think we, you and I, the industry, we’re all committed to that as a goal for sure.
Russel: That certainly is thematic in all the conversations I’ve had doing this podcast. If I might, I want to pivot on you and talk about the other thing you brought up, which is public support and trust. Certainly, if you’re working as a pipeliner, you feel like an offensive lineman that just got flagged because the only way anybody hears my number is when I screw up.
What does the Liquid Energy Pipeline Association have going on in the public support and trust area?
Andy: We know that a lot of people come to this discussion wondering if we need pipelines, and our job is to proudly say that yes, we need pipelines. Pipelines help Americans, right? When there’s not enough pipeline capacity, your source of energy either dries up, or the prices go higher.
We need to make sure that people understand that pipelines are the safest way to move liquid fuels. Safer than rail, truck, barge, any other mode of transportation. We do that with our members. I encourage anybody who’s looking for a good series of graphics, statistics, and talking points to go to our website at liquidenergypipelines.org.
We need to make sure people understand that the pipelines we have today help them and are safe. We talk about access, opportunity, and affordability. That gives you access to energy. If you’ve got enough pipeline capacity in your area, that’s downward pressure on prices.
When you look up Gas Buddy and you find where prices are, the prices are better, where there’s enough pipeline access. Then there’s an opportunity for jobs. We know that construction jobs and maintenance jobs are good paying jobs on a pipeline, and we want people to understand that.
Lately, of course the conversation has moved to greenhouse gas emissions. Pipeline operators and service providers should be ready to be a part of that discussion. We have a story to tell about the transportation mode that has the fewest greenhouse gas emissions than any other mode. We’re the sustainable way to move the fuels that we all use.
Lastly, Russel, this makes me think of questions that we get. Are we going to continue to need pipelines? And you go look at the analysis that Shell and others have done about the most aggressive Paris Climate Change scenarios.
What’s the role of liquid fuels 30 years from now, 40 years from now? We’re absolutely as the world, as Americans going to be using the fuels that are carried by liquid pipelines today. Sure, there’s some electric vehicles being built, but the fleet is going to be turning over very slowly and beyond motor gasoline.
All of the products that come out of crude oil, we’re going to continue to need for a long time to support our way of life. We welcome any of your listeners to join in on those discussions. We talk with our communications professionals and with member companies about what they are finding out there.
We have a good story to tell. We should be proud to do it and not ashamed to work for pipelines.
Russel: It’s interesting. I have never thought about the greenhouse gas emissions associated with pipeline transportation, particularly liquid pipeline transportation. Most of that energy that’s put into the fluid to move it is electric-powered pumps.
That’s a very low source of emissions versus diesels on trains, diesels on barges, or diesels on trucks. It’s a much, much smaller emissions. It would be very interesting. I don’t know if you guys have these kinds of numbers, but it’d be interesting to see charts that show the number of barrels moved versus number of incidents for the various modes of transportation.
I’ll bet it’s much higher for trucks. Almost have to be.
Andy: When Keystone XL was being studied by the Obama Administration, which was no patsy for oil and gas, they looked at the emissions profiles of moving barrels by train, truck, pipeline. I just found the numbers. Trains emit 42 percent more greenhouse gas emission. Trucks emit 467 percent more greenhouse gas emissions.
Now, both of those have a role in transporting energy liquids, especially when pipeline capacity isn’t there. Public should recognize if the barrel isn’t moved on a pipeline, it’s being moved on a mode that has higher emissions.
You’re absolutely right. So called Scope 1 emissions, directly from operations are low and getting lower from liquid pipelines as it’s electric-powered pumps in most of our networks. The pipeline operators are trying to remove the diesel pumps when they get power to electric.
Then we’ve got opportunities to reduce the power use that we need through drag-reducing agents, DRA, and other uses, time-of-day movements, to maybe level off the electricity consumption by a pipeline operator and a pipeline network.
There’s a CO2 story. We’ve got a role. What’s our role as liquid pipelines? It’s reducing emissions that are attributable to pipeline transportation, and we’re working on that today.
Russel: Listen, this has been awesome. I’ve certainly learned a lot that I didn’t know before we started a little more than half an hour ago. I appreciate it, and we definitely have to get you back because I’d really like to take a deeper, more technical dive into some of the topics we just discussed.
I feel like we skipped a stone across a lake and didn’t really spend any time in the lake. We’ll need to do this again.
Andy: I learned from your podcast. I really enjoyed the two sessions on the history of pipelines from the two ladies that you had and you brought back and from Keith. Even when you had Bill Caram of the Pipeline Safety Trust for a thoughtful discussion.
Thank you for what you do. I don’t think anybody does it quite the way that you do. It’s a service and it’s neat to be a part of that. Thank you.
Russel: Andy, I thank you so very much for those remarks. This has really become a passion of mine. I get a great deal of joy out of it. I really do set about doing something of value that the pipeliners can use to learn and stay current about all the things that are going on.
I think this will be episode 255 as I’m recording it. You would think after 255 episodes you’ve learned everything there is to learn about pipelines, but I have to tell you, we’re just getting the crust off the biscuit. We got ways to go to cover it all.
Andy: If you’ve got listeners who want to talk more about us, liquidenergypipelines.org. We represent maybe 97 percent of the industry, but that means there’s 3 percent we don’t. We’re ready to talk to anybody who’d like to talk about us. Thank you, Russel.
We’ll link all that up in the show notes as well as some of the resources you mentioned as we were talking.
Andy: Go great. Awesome.
Russel: Anyway, great. Thank you so much.
Russel: I hope you enjoyed this week’s episode of the Pipeliners Podcast and our conversation with Andy. Just a reminder, before you go, you should register to win our customized Pipeliners Podcast YETI tumbler. Simply visit PipelinePodcastNetwork.com/Win and enter yourself in the drawing.
Russel: If you have ideas, questions, or topics you’d be interested in, please let me know on the Contact Us page at PipelinePodcastNetwork.com or reach out to me on LinkedIn. Thanks for listening. I’ll talk to you next week.
Transcription by CastingWords