BP is currently at the front end engineering (FEED) stage of the Main Export Pipeline (MEP) project, which includes a 1760 km 46-inch diameter oil pipeline between Baku, Azerbaijan on the Caspian Sea and Ceyhan, Turkey, on the Mediterranean Sea, passing through Georgia.

BP's stated business goal is "no accidents, no harm to individuals, no damage to the environment". Industry-wide experience has shown, however, that this goal is extremely difficult to achieve on pipeline projects of this scale. MEP management committed to making a step-change in safety performance for this project. They identified the need, at the conceptual design stage, to determine the key safety drivers to ensure that the maximum safety benefit could be derived.

Genesis Oil and Gas Consultants was commissioned to work with BP on this study which involved extensive interaction with the industry including interviews and a specially convened workshop.

The study found clear recent historical evidence that the risk of serious accidents from major onshore pipeline projects is unacceptably high. The two major causes of fatality and serious injury on pipeline construction projects are:

  1. Moving Vehicle and Transportation risks

  2. General Construction Site risks such as struck by moving objects, electrocution, falls etc.

Within these categories, some further interesting conclusions can be drawn from the research:

  • Construction workers are twice as likely to be killed in a motor-vehicle accident as the average worker

  • Injury prevention efforts have had limited effect on motor-vehicle related deaths

  • The occupation most likely to be killed is the supervisor or foreman. Research has shown that many accidents have occurred when the foremen have seen unsafe acts but failed to intervene, and that they do not follow safety procedures themselves

  • People are most frequently killed when they are on foot walking or running near machinery on construction sites

  • Those operating machinery are frequently killed; putting their own lives and others at risk

  • Project pace and constant changes in work environment and employer/workforce relationships are particular problems for the construction industry.

This paper discusses the study findings further and also describes the way in which the findings have been implemented on both the MEP and another major pipeline project - the Shah Deniz gas pipeline.


The Main Export Pipeline (MEP) project includes a 1760 km 46-inch diameter oil pipeline, the terminals at each end and intermediate pumping stations.

The routing is very complex and passes through a range of mountains in Georgia and Turkey. The types of terrain encountered include:

  • high altitude up to approximately 3000 m

  • steep slopes

  • rivers and canals

  • gorges

  • road and rail crossings

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