Pipeline safety is a hot topic these days, as proponents and opponents of the fourth phase of the Keystone Pipeline, known as Keystone XL, face off in Congress. That debate is extending to several regions where pipelines are under construction or in the planning stages. The North American oil market, and especially the transportation sector, are undergoing significant changes as companies are extracting new types of oil.
The market for Bakken crude and oil sands, which are heavier and potentially more volatile than other types, is up. This, combined with the public struggle over Keystone XL, has raised public awareness and led to more local efforts to increase safety or stop projects entirely.
In Minnesota, state authorities have delayed the construction of a new line by Enbridge, a company that was involved in the Kalamazoo River oil spill four years ago, the largest inland spill in U.S. history. Residents along the route of the proposed PennEast Pipeline are also questioning the safety of building a pipeline through farmland where sinkholes could form.
Meanwhile, the pipeline safety market is reaping the benefits of this increased focus. Research firm MarketsAndMarkets says that the global market for physical and IT safety measures and professional services such as pipeline safety training will reach $6.73 billion by 2018. The report projects a compound annual growth rate of 9.1 percent. North America leads global investment, which is being driven primarily by stricter government regulations.
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