The Pipeline Performance Tracking System, PPTS, is a key component of the oil pipeline industry's Environmental and Safety Initiative, a multi-discipline approach to understanding and improving industry performance.
The availability of more detailed data is crucial to that objective. Although many individual operators had developed stringent internal reporting criteria, there were no industry-wide aggregations to enable industry to identify lead indicators and learn from them to prevent spills.
An invitation to participate in the voluntary PPTS was distributed widely in the oil pipeline industry at the program's inception in 1999, without regard to whether an operator was or is a member of API or the Association of Oil Pipe Lines. There are currently more than 50 operators participating, representing about three-quarters of the oil pipeline mileage in the United States. Participants report on all operated facilities, whether under the regulatory oversight of the U.S. Department of Transportation's Office of Pipeline Safety or not.
Participants in PPTS report spills of 5 gallons or more plus any smaller spills to water. The spills of 50 barrels and more account for 96% of the volume. Thus, the lower threshold in PPTS results in many more spills being reported – providing a corresponding increase in the opportunities to learn from them – but the old reporting system was already capturing almost all of the volume spilled. On spills of 5 gallons or more, or incidents involving a death, injury, fire or explosion, PPTS collects data on the conditions at the time of the release, a detailed set of causes and causative factors, public safety impacts, and environmental impacts and remediation. Thus, the comprehensive new data on smaller spills will provide new insight on how to prevent larger incidents. Future fact sheets will discuss new lessons learned as they are developed.
Pipeline Operators: sign in to PPTS