Fraser Institute News Release: Pipelines 2.5 times safer than rail for oil transportation; tankers have safest record of all

CALGARY, AB--(Marketwired - July 27, 2017) - Transporting oil by pipelines is more than twice as safe as using rail, and marine tankers are safer still with a markedly improved safety record over the past 40 years, finds a new study released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian policy think-tank.

"The evidence is clear -- building new pipelines and shipping oil by tanker is the safest and most environmentally responsible way to get Canadian oil to global markets," said Kenneth Green, Fraser Institute's senior director of energy and natural resource studies and co-author of Safety First: Intermodal Safety for Oil and Gas Transportation.

The study updates previous research that finds pipelines are 2.5 times less likely to experience a spill than rail, with an occurrence rate of 0.03 accidents per million barrels of oil shipped by pipeline between 2004 and 2015, compared to 0.08 accidents per million barrels of oil shipped by rail over the same period.

Marine tankers, by comparison, have a spill rate of less than 0.001 per million barrels of oil shipped.

Indeed, while oil shipped by tanker has increased from 1.4 billion tonnes in 1970 to 2.9 billion tonnes in 2015, the amount of spillage has plummeted by 98 per cent. Specifically, in 1970, there was 383,000 tonnes of oil released in spills globally compared to just 6,000 tonnes in 2016.

"Canadians will benefit greatly from increased oil exports, which should be transported in the safest way possible. That means building new pipelines to Canada's coasts and shipping oil by marine tanker around the world," Green said.

Kenneth Green, Senior Director, Natural Resource Studies
Fraser Institute

Taylor Jackson, Senior Policy Analyst
Fraser Institute

To arrange media interviews or for more information, please contact:
Bryn Weese, Media Relations Specialist, Fraser Institute
Tel: (604) 688-0221 ext. 589

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The Fraser Institute is an independent Canadian public policy research and educational organization with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal and ties to a global network of think-tanks in 87 countries. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for Canadians, their families and future generations by studying, measuring and broadly communicating the effects of government policies, entrepreneurship and choice on their well-being. To protect the Institute's independence, it does not accept grants from governments or contracts for research. Visit

Contact Information:

Bryn Weese
Media Relations Specialist
Fraser Institute
Tel: (604) 688-0221 ext. 589