In the oil and gas industry, pipelines are vital pieces of infrastructure to transport hydrocarbons. They are built to perform in a variety of climates and terrains, and loss of use or damage due to poor pipeline engineering and operation can cost multiple times the monetary value of the products. Thus, maintaining pipelines, usually through mitigating corrosion, is vital. (Learn more in The Science Behind Oil and Natural Gas Pipeline Corrosion and Coatings.)
Unfortunately, this corrosion prevention and control is not always done, and the impact of these failures can be devastating.
In August of 2000, the 30-inch diameter El Paso Natural Gas Company pipeline exploded in New Mexico resulting in multiple deaths and millions of dollars in damages. The worst part of this disaster is that it could have been avoided through proper corrosion control.
The infographic below takes a look at the causes and aftermath of the explosion, and how the disaster could have been prevented.