Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker Methodology and Data Notes

From Global Energy Monitor
This article is part of the Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker, a project of Global Energy Monitor.
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Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker

The Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker (GFIT) organizes information in both map and table format. The interactive map allows users to geographically visualize pipeline routes and terminal locations, provides links to further information, and provides menu-based data filtering options. In addition, each infrastructure project has a wiki page housed on GEM.wiki. Wiki links are provided with each project in the map and table. The sources used in data collection can be found cited in each project's wiki page. When information about an item changes, the changes are made to both the GFIT data set and the wiki page.

Research Process

Preliminary lists of pipelines and terminals are gathered from public data sources including industry, news, and government websites. Alternate names for projects are also recorded. For each project in China, the corresponding Chinese name was identified. Pipelines with a capacity of under 0.25 bcm/year (gas) or 6,000 bpd (oil) were not included in the GFIT. There is no capacity threshold for terminal inclusion. Sources for data points are all documented in the respective project's wiki page. Wiki pages also provide a repository for more in-depth information including project background, financing, environmental impacts, fossil fuel source, public opposition, aerial photographs, videos, links to permits, coordinates, and maps. Under standard wiki convention, each piece of information is linked to a published reference, such as a news article, company report, or regulatory permit. Once wiki pages are created and data sets are compiled, they are circulated for review to researchers familiar with local conditions and languages. In order to ensure data integrity in the open-access wiki environment, professional research analysts also review all edits made to project wiki pages.

Mapping

Locations were determined using publicly available maps, usually from industry sources or news publications. Pipeline routes were plotted by visual approximation. The Tracker's public interface, including the map view, table view, and filtering mechanism, was developed by GreenInfo Network using the Leaflet Open-Source JavaScript library.

Summary Statistics

Tables presenting descriptive statistics are generated at the end of every data update. The current tables were generated using Google Sheets, R 4.0.0, and Python 3.8.2.

Pipeline Data Tables

Pipeline data tables were created using the GFIT pipeline data set. All data tables are broken down by fuel type (oil or gas) and by project status, and by either country, region, owner, or start year. Using these groups, the tables calculate either the number of pipelines, the total pipeline kilometers, or the total pipeline capacity.

Pipelines that have multiple owners were prorated and assigned equal shares unless specific ownership shares were available. Kilometer tables were calculated using the pipeline's publicly available length, when possible. When no length value is publicly available, pipeline length estimates are calculated using the pipeline's location coordinates in the GeoPandas 0.7.0 package in Python 3.8.2. Country and region tables were calculated by estimating the percentage of pipeline that falls into different countries. Country percentages were estimated using the GeoPandas 0.7.0 package in Python 3.8.2. Regional definitions are based on the definitions used by the International Energy Agency's (IEA) World Energy Outlook report.

LNG Terminal Data Tables

LNG terminal data tables were created using the GFIT terminals data set, which is organized by import terminal projects and export train projects. All data tables are broken down by facility type (import or export) and by project status, and by either country, region, owner, or start year. Using these groups, the tables calculate the number of import terminals and export trains, and the total LNG import and export terminal capacity.

Projects with multiple owners were prorated and assigned equal shares unless specific ownership shares were available. Regional definitions are based on the definitions used by the International Energy Agency's (IEA) World Energy Outlook report.

Data Dictionary

The following table provides definitions for the data fields included in the GFIT’s table view, as well as for variables that were used to generate the GFIT statistical tables. These and additional variables are maintained in the GFIT data set. The GFIT data set is available in Excel format to researchers in nonprofit, media, or governmental organizations upon request. Send email requests to ted@tednace.com.

Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker Data Dictionary
Variable Name Definition
Project The primary name of the pipeline or terminal.
Countries The country the terminal or domestic pipeline is in, or the countries that an international pipeline passes through.
Type The type of infrastructure. Currently included in the GFIT are: liquefied natural gas terminals, gas pipelines, and oil pipelines.
Status For each project, one of the following operational status categories is assigned and reviewed every six months:

1) Proposed: The item has been proposed but construction has not yet commenced.

2) Construction: Site preparation and other development and construction activities are underway.

3) Shelved: There has either been a public announcement that the sponsor is putting its plans on hold, or if there have been no reports of development activity over a period of two to four years, the project is presumed to be "shelved".

4) Cancelled: In some cases a sponsor publicly announces that it has cancelled a project. More often a project fails to advance and then quietly disappears from company documents. A project that was previously in an active category is moved to “Cancelled” if it disappears from company documents, even if no announcement is made. Or, a project is considered “cancelled” if there have been no indications of development over a period of four years.

5) Operating: The project has been formally commissioned or has entered commercial operation.

6) Idle: Construction has been completed, but it has not entered commercial operations and lacks any indication that it will. Or, the project was at one time operational and now sits unused, but has not been formally mothballed.

7) Mothballed: The project has been formally taken offline, but not yet permanently retired.

8) Retired: The project has been permanently taken offline.

Start Year The year operations initiated in operating, idle, mothballed, or retired projects. Or, the year operations are or were expected to initiate in proposed, construction, shelved, or cancelled projects.
Owner The organization(s) at the highest level of project ownership and their respective ownership percentage(s), when available.
Length The pipeline's length in kilometers. When a pipeline's length is publicly available, that value is used. If no length value is publicly available the pipeline's length is estimated using the its coordinates in the GeoPandas 0.7.0 package in Python 3.8.2.
Capacity The amount of product able to pass through the terminal or pipeline. The unit of measurement varies based on the type of product and infrastructure, so all terminal capacity values have been converted into million tons per annum (mtpa), and all pipeline capacity values have been converted into barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d). When sources report a range, the maximum capacity value is used.

Data Quality

The Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker's (GFIT) data collection methods include professional research analysts searching both industry and general news sources for project development updates, as well as government, NGO, corporate, and industry reports. Information is compared at both the individual project level and the aggregate level. Global updates are researched and published approximately every six months and include updates to project statuses, adding newly proposed projects, and adding qualitative updates to projects' wiki pages such as lawsuits, financing changes, protests, etc.

The information available varies widely between projects. Some variable values are always available, such as approximate location, project status, and product type. Start year is the most frequently missing value in both pipelines and LNG terminals. However, the missing Start Year values from LNG terminals are almost exclusively found in pre-operational projects, with only one operating terminal missing a start year. Ownership, capacity, and pipeline length are often available, but not always, and are missing more frequently from pipeline projects than LNG terminal projects.

The percent of values missing from variables, by variable and infrastructure type, are outlined in the tables below. "Known Length" refers to the pipeline's length reported by sources, whereas "Length" refers to a pipeline's length estimated by its coordinates.

Pipeline Data Quality

The March 2020 release of the Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker includes 1,744 pipelines, including 1,288 gas pipelines and 456 oil pipelines. The following table shows the percentage of values missing from key variables by product type.

Missing Data Values by Variable and Pipeline Type
Variable Name All Pipelines Gas Pipelines Oil Pipelines
Country 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
Fuel 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
Project Status 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
Region 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
Length 35 (2%) 24 (1.9%) 11 (2.4%)
Known Length 224 (12.8%) 182 (14.1%) 44 (9.7%)
Owner 344 (19.7%) 316 (24.5%) 28 (6.1%)
Capacity 694 (39.8%) 591 (45.9%) 103 (22.6%)
Start Year 826 (47.4%) 584 (45.3%) 243 (53.3%)

LNG Terminals Data Quality

The May 2020 release of the Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker includes 846 LNG terminal projects, including 435 import terminals and 411 export trains. The GFIT's terminal data is organized by LNG import terminals and LNG export trains. The following table shows the percentage of values missing from key variables by infrastructure type.

Missing Data Values by Variable and Facility Type
Variable Name Import Terminals Export Trains
Country 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
Facility Type 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
Project Status 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
Region 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
Owner 10 (2.3%) 3 (0.7%)
Capacity 45 (10.3%) 9 (2.2%)
Start Year 131 (30.1%) 87 (21.2%)

References

External resources