Ensuring the safety and reliability of our pipelines is one example of how we deliver on our commitment to environmentally responsible operations.

  • Plains is on a journey to zero incidents and has invested hundreds of millions of dollars a year in pursuit of that objective. Between 2007 and 2016, Plains has invested more than $1.3 billion to maintain and improve the integrity of our assets in the U.S. and Canada.
  • Since that time, we have also proactively taken thousands of miles of pipelines out of service, and have constructed thousands of miles of new pipelines without incident.
  • We take extra steps to try to ensure the quality of the steel pipes before they are accepted as parts of our pipeline. Newly manufactured line pipe is inspected before leaving the mill, as it is being welded and prior to operation to ensure it is ready to be placed into service.

Safe Construction Techniques

Plains has adopted a number of practices that exceed regulatory requirements when we construct new pipelines. We routinely evaluate and employ new construction techniques that can lessen the impact of construction or lower the risk of future incidents. Where a pipeline route crosses sensitive areas—such as significant water crossings or cultural resources—horizontal directional drilling or boring is often used to bury the line dozens of feet below the surface. This allows the surface to remain undisturbed and further reduces the likelihood of an incident during the operation of the pipeline.

Emissions

Plains’ primary business involves the transportation and storage of crude oil and natural gas liquids.  Greenhouse gas (GHG) compound concentrations in crude oil and natural gas liquids are very low. The bulk of Plains’ potential GHG emissions are associated with our natural gas storage and transportation assets. A small portion of our potential GHG emissions are associated with hydrocarbon combustion in engines such as truck engines, compressor and pump engines, and generator engines. 

A small portion of our business involves the operation of our natural gas storage and transportation assets. A somewhat higher, but still small portion involves the operation of gasoline and diesel-fueled transport trucks. Where possible, we try to avoid GHG emissions associated with combustion sources such as pump and compressor engines and generators through the use of electric motors, which source electricity from local utilities, as opposed to hydrocarbon-fueled engines. Greenhouse gas emissions from truck transport engines are minimized through a preventive maintenance program that ensures that trucks are properly tuned and maintained, including proper maintenance of exhaust and emission control systems.