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Land and environment

Land issues are an important part of pipeline development and operation, and need to be considered:
  • When selecting a pipeline route;
  • When acquiring a pipeline easement;
  • When taking into account environmental considerations during construction; and,
  • Over the lifetime of the pipeline once reinstatement has occurred (easement management).

A geographical information system (GIS) is a database that stores information linked to various geographical locations, allowing for the management of spatial data. In combination with a global positioning systems to determine exact locations, GIS’ can provide essential information required for the engineering and design of a pipeline. Information such as steel property, depth of burial and coating condition can be provided for a specific point along a pipeline using a GIS.

Often pipeline routes run through private land and it is important for pipeline owners to maintain a good relationship with landholders during the easement acquisition process. This relationship is usually facilitated by a landholder liaison agent, who can use his or her extensive knowledge of easement documentation, land acquisition legislation, compensation knowledge and rural experience in combination with their knowledge of the project to ensure all parties are satisfied.

Environmental consultants are required to assess what kind of flora and fauna will be impacted by the construction of a pipeline. Environmental auditors are often involved in the construction process to ensure that proponents are following correct procedure, and that the process is compliant to government regulations.

Pipeline standards location classes determine how a pipeline will be designed and operated in order to minimise danger and damage to other land users. However, an increasingly salient issue in the pipeline industry is encroachment, which is when urban development occurs around a pipeline which has already been constructed, increasing the likelihood of third party damage.
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