Selecting a route for a pipeline right-of-way (ROW) generally consists of engineering (technical and economic), socioeconomic and biophysical components. To effectively select a route, simultaneous consideration must be given to all the components from the initiation of a project to the integration of all aspects of each throughout the route selection process. To successfully select a route which creates a win-win situation for all the stakeholders of a pipeline project, political/governmental issues, community and land owner views, public perceptions and other similar controlling factors (such as Safety, Health, Environment and Risk (SHER)) must be carefully analyzed and integrated into the process. It is the consideration of all these issues that will lead to a ROW which will provide a technically acceptable solution, which is at the same time the least expensive, economically viable and acceptable to the community it traverses.

This paper will provide an overview of route selection techniques (including new technologies) used and the process generally practiced by pipeline designers, highlighting controlling issues and optimization methods that need to be utilized in order to achieve a cost effective route selection. It provides details on significant “Feeling/Perception” issues that can either thwart or, by careful consideration of these issues, lead to a successful pipeline project. An example of such a route selection process will be provided on a project located in rough and mountainous terrain, that has significant regulatory/governmental, land, environmental, indigenous and geological issues.

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