The worst nightmares of the oil and gas pipeline industry are coming true in the United States. High-pressure natural gas pipelines run underground through many suburban areas as part of the network providing fuel to homes and businesses. This infrastructure poses an immense, but... insufficiently recognised, threat to the general public. In 2010, one of these pipelines ruptured in San Bruno, a suburb of San Francisco adjacent to the international airport. The result was a massive explosion and fire in which eight people died, many were injured, and 38 homes were destroyed. This possibility haunts many cities around the world. Coincidentally in the same year, another worst-case scenario came true, near Marshall, in the state of Michigan. A pipeline rupture released vast quantities of oily sludge into a local river system. The smell was so offensive that many nearby residents were forced to sell their homes and get out. The clean-up cost the pipeline owner more than a billion dollars, making it the most expensive oil spill on land in US history. This book examines the causes of these two events. It argues that, although they were profoundly surprising to the companies concerned, from a broader perspective they were no surprise at all, stemming as they did from well-known human, organisational and regulatory failures.