The safety aspects of pipelines conveying hazardous materials are included neither under the umbrella of Seveso Directives aiming at preventing major accidents at industrial facilities, nor in other EU legislations, such as the Pressure Equipment Directive (PED). Starting from evidence that in the last decades the international natural gas market has been growing at a very high rate and continues to exhibit an increasing trend, in this paper we focus on consequences deriving from accidents on high pressure buried Natural Gas Pipelines (NGP) and related probabilities of the various outcomes. A survey on historical accidents occurred on NG pipelines in the USA, Canada and EU allowed the attainment of significant statistics concerning the main factors responsible for the accident evolution, namely failure mode, immediate and root cause, evolving scenario, degree of confinement produced by the surroundings and ignition timing. In this paper, we focus on a refined Event Tree framework, to overcome the limitations of the amply applied over-conservative IP UKOOA approach. In order to evidence the capability of the approach, the use of refined PET is exemplified by means of a real case-study of a high pressure buried NG pipeline, contrasting the actual results with those obtained by conventional methods, in terms of evolving scenario probability and damage. Conclusions are drawn about the effective application of the framework within risk assessment and the uncertainties and sensitivities in the pipeline accident modelling.
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