Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker Methodology and Data Notes

From SourceWatch
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is part of the Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker, a project of Global Energy Monitor and the Center for Media and Democracy.

Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker

The Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker (GFIT) organizes information in both map and table formats. 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 the Sourcewatch website. Wiki links are provided with each project in the map and table. When information about an item changes, the changes are made to both the GFIT 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. Wiki pages provide a repository for 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 of SourceWatch, researchers also review all edits of project wiki pages.


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

Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker Data

Data Dictionary

The following table provides definitions for the data fields included in the GFIT’s table view. Key variables are also maintained in the GFIT dataset. The GFIT dataset is available in Excel format to researchers in nonprofit, media, or governmental organizations upon request. Send email to ted@tednace.com.

Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker Data Dictionary
Variable Name Definition
Project The primary name of the pipeline or terminal.
Countries The countries the terminal is in or that the pipeline passes through.
Type The type of infrastructure. Currently included in the GFIT are: Liquified natural gas terminals, coal terminals, gas pipelines, oil pipelines
Status For each project, one of the following 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: In the absence of an announcement that the sponsor is putting its plans on hold, a project is considered “shelved” if there are no reports of activity over a period of two years.

4) Cancelled: In some cases a sponsor 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. In the absence of a cancellation announcement, a project is considered “cancelled” if there are no reports of activity over a period of four years.

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

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

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

Owner The organization(s) at the highest level of project ownership.
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.

Coal terminal capacity: million metric tonnes per annum (mmtpa) of coal.

Liquid natural gas terminal capacity: mmtpa and billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d).

Oil pipeline capacity: barrels per day (bpd).

Gas pipeline capacity: million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d), billion cubic meters per year (bcm/year), and barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d).

Pipeline Data Quality

The December 31, 2018 release of the Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker includes 864 gas pipelines, 422 oil pipelines 1,286 pipelines.

Missing Data Values by Variable and Pipeline Type
Variable Name All Pipelines Gas Pipelines Oil Pipelines
Country 0 0 0
Fuel 0 0 0
Project Status 0 0 0
Region 0 0 0
Estimated Length 35 28 7
Owner 61 52 9
Exact Length 122 85 37
Capacity 331 195 97
Start Year 352 234 157

Pipelines Data Tables

Data tables were created using the GFIT pipelines dataset. These include number of pipelines by project status and by country, region, owner, and start year, as well as pipeline capacity by project status and by country, region, owner, and start year, and pipeline kilometers by project status and by country, region, owner, and start year. Pipelines that have multiple owners, country locations, or regional locations were prorated and assigned equal shares unless specific shares were known.

Articles and resources


Related SourceWatch articles

External resources

External articles