Minnesota Natural Gas Distribution Pipeline Project

In September 2014, the BlueGreen Alliance profiled the natural gas distribution system of Minnesota and examined efforts to repair leak-prone pipes within the system.

Minnesota’s natural gas distribution pipeline system is a network of more than 30,000 miles of pipe that supply homes, businesses, and communities with energy. Repairing aging and leak prone natural gas pipelines has the potential to create and support quality, family-sustaining jobs and drive investment toward a more resilient pipeline system.

As of 2012, the Minnesota had 512 miles of distribution pipelines made from leak prone materials: 430 miles of bare steel pipeline, 53 coated unprotected steel, and 30 cast/wrought iron. In 2012 there were 646 leaks reported in the state of Minnesota.

This profile and the fact sheet examine the natural gas distribution system of Minnesota and the benefit of repairing leak-prone pipes within the system.

The metro is in many ways is at the forefront of efforts underway by gas providers to upgrade aging pipe infrastructure. These improvements are critical in reducing methane emissions—a potent greenhouse gas that is estimated to have at least 20 times the climate change impact versus carbon dioxide on a pound for pound basis over a 100-year timeframe.

As part of an education and outreach project sponsored by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety
Administration (PHMSA), the Minnesota BlueGreen Alliance convened a series of meetings engaging frontline gas workers, community and environmental groups, and others.

The meetings were held throughout 2014 and helped identify challenges and opportunities facing the network of natural gas distribution pipelines in the Twin Cities metro. We also identified best practices, highlighted how far along the utilities and workers have come in advancing distribution pipeline repair, replacement and detection, and developed strategies that could be used around the country to tackle methane leaks in distribution pipelines.

 

Minnesota Natural Gas Distribution Profile 
Minnesota Natural Gas Distribution Pipeline Fact Sheet