Safety of buried steel natural gas pipelines under earthquake-induced ground shaking: a review

Nikolaos Psyrras, Anastasios Sextos*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

78 Citations (Scopus)
875 Downloads (Pure)


Evidence from past earthquakes suggests that damage inflicted to buried natural gas (NG) pipelines can cause long service disruptions, leading to unpredictably high socioeconomic losses in unprepared communities. In this review paper, we aim to critically revisit recent progress in the demanding field of seismic analysis, design and resilience assessment of buried steel NG pipelines. For this purpose, the existing literature and code provisions are surveyed and discussed while challenges and gaps are identified from a research, industrial and legislative perspective. It is underscored that, in contrast to common belief, transient ground deformations in non-uniform sites are not necessarily negligible and can induce undesirable deformations in the pipe, overlooked in the present standards of practice. It is further highlighted that the current seismic fragility framework is rich in empirical fragility relations but lacks analytical and experimental foundations that would permit the reliable assessment of the different parameters affecting the expected pipe damage rates. Pipeline network resilience is still in a developing stage, thus only few assessment methodologies are available whereas absent is a holistic approach to support informed decision-making towards the necessary mitigation measures. Nevertheless, there is ground for improvement by adapting existing knowledge from research on other types of lifeline networks, such as transportation networks. All above aspects are discussed and directions for future research are provided.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)254-277
Number of pages24
JournalSoil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering
Early online date8 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018


  • Buried pipeline
  • Gas networks
  • Natural gas
  • Seismic fragility
  • Seismic resilience
  • Service disruption
  • Soil-pipe interaction
  • Structural health monitoring


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