Shell Sets The Pace In Promoting Pipeline Safety

Call Before You Dig
August 2010 Vol. 65 No. 8
Mary Mujica accepts the President’s Award on behalf of Shell from CGA president Bob Kipp (left) and (right) Vic Weston, chairman

An estimated 2.7 million television viewers across the country witnessed the climactic finish of the April 25 NASCAR race in Talladega, FL, as driver Kevin Harvick sped past a competitor to capture the lead in the final lap. For Shell, principal sponsor of Harvick’s high-performance car, the event represented a double victory. It reaffirmed the company’s decision to support Harvick and others on the Richard Childress Racing team, aligning Shell products with a winner on the track. And, it provided significant visibility for a critical pipeline safety message.

In addition to the Shell Pecten and the logo of Pennzoil, Shell’s leading lubricants brand, the car carried these words: “811. Know what’s below. Call before you dig.” The slogan reminded viewers that a phone call to this number could help prevent damage to pipelines and other underground utility lines, which could cause injuries, environmental incidents and service outages.

That extra effort to promote pipeline safety marked another milestone in Shell’s ongoing involvement in the Common Ground Alliance (CGA), an organization comprising representatives of the underground utility industry who are dedicated to reducing damage to buried facilities. As CGA President Bob Kipp explained, “NASCAR is a target market for us because a lot of…workers, homeowners and people who do a lot of digging watch the races.”

It is that kind of creative thinking to put 811 in the public’s eye, Kipp said, that prompted CGA to honor Shell with its first-ever President’s Award, citing the company’s “leadership and innovation in efforts made to protect people, property and the environment.”

Protecting the pipelines
About 165,000 miles of petroleum pipelines crisscross the country, carrying almost 6.8 billion barrels of crude oil and almost 6.6 billion barrels of refined petroleum products annually. According to Department of Transportation (DoT) statistics, pipelines are the safest method of transporting gasoline, diesel, heating fuel and jet fuel, and by reducing the volume that must be moved by truck or train; they make the roads and railways safer for travelers.

To help prevent damage to pipelines and other utility lines, 62 call centers with toll-free 800 numbers have been established across the country for people to contact before beginning an excavation project. The centers notify companies with buried facilities nearby; representatives of companies whose lines could be jeopardized meet with the excavators, mark the lines’ location and provide information about safe digging practices.

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