Our Region’s Pipeline Network
Pipelines Vital Role
The least recognized freight transportation mode is pipeline. However, pipelines play a vital role in our daily lives. They transport fuels and chemicals we use in cooking and cleaning, in our daily commutes and travel, in heating our homes and businesses, and in manufacturing thousands of products. This requires the transportation of huge volumes of hazardous liquids and gases; and the most feasible, most reliable, and safest way to do so is through pipelines.
The energy transportation network of the OKI region has 1,130 miles of transmission pipeline. This represents less than 0.4 percent of all transmission pipeline miles in the United States. Like rail, pipelines are privately owned and operated. In 2020, 17 companies were operating our region’s pipelines. The public sector’s role in pipelines is to protect people and the environment by advancing the safe transportation of energy and other hazardous materials that are essential to our daily lives. (Source: Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHSMA). (2020). Annual Report Mileage for Natural Gas Transmission & Gathering Systems. [Data set].)
The source for all pipeline data is the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). Due to PHMSA’s stringent guidelines for privacy and security, OKI is limited in the way this data can be shared. For this reason, general regional- and county-level summaries of pipeline data are presented within this Freight System Performance summary. Also, pipeline alignments presented in map form are approximate.
Approximate Alignments of the Transmission Pipeline Network, 2020
Source: United States Department of Transportation (USDOT), Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). (2010 and 2020). National Pipeline Mapping System (NPMS). [Data sets].
Industrial Pipeline Safety Shutdown Valve Control System
Source: The Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments. (2022).
A performance review of transmission pipelines in the OKI region reveals that our total pipeline mileage has increased by 19 percent over the past decade. More pipeline would equate to more product moved, raising the probability rate for occurrences of safety incidences, environmental impacts, and other factors. On the contrary, OKI’s review shows that fewer serious incidences involving pipelines have occurred with fewer fatalities and injuries. We’ve also seen a reduction in the number and amount of hazardous liquid spills released to the environment from pipelines.
A conservative estimate of the annual value of product carried by the region’s transmission pipelines is $2.7 billion, with just over half of them carrying natural gas. With 85 percent of its miles dedicated to interstate pipeline, the OKI region is playing an increasingly important role in the overall pipeline network by receiving liquids and gases from across the nation.