Feds Cite Spectra for Multiple Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Violations

Jul 11th, 2012 | By Mark | Category: Lead Articles

NatGas Consulting

Federal pipeline safety regulators have cited Texas Eastern Transmission, a division of Spectra Energy, 14 times for natural gas pipeline safety violations since 2006. The most recent citations, for a series of potentially explosive violations of pipeline safety regulations, were issued May 29. Spectra Energy is currently moving ahead with a massive natural gas transmission pipeline project that will move natural gas through New Jersey into lower Manhattan. Area residents are growing increasingly concerned about Spectra's record of pipeline safety violations.f

Federal regulators are seeking more than $134,000 in fines from the natural gas company recently granted permission to build a massive new natural gas pipeline through New Jersey into lower Manhattan for a series of potentially explosive safety violations in the company’s pipelines in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico.

Documents obtained by NaturalGasWatch.org show that inspectors from the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Agency cited Texas Eastern Transmission, a division of Spectra Energy, for seven serious pipeline safety violations, including failure to monitor its pipeline for corrosion and failure to control for corrosion.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission recently gave the permission to Spectra to build a massive new natural gas pipeline through New Jersey into lower Manhattan, where area residents are growing increasingly concerned about the company’s record of pipeline safety violations.

Ed. note: If you enjoy the content and reporting you get here at NaturalGasWatch.org, please take a moment to click on one of the advertisements you might see on the right-hand side of the page. Your support will help us keep this site up and running for years to come. Thanks, fj.

PHMSA issued the citations on May 29, in connection with a series of inspections that were conducted at Spectra’s Port Charles facility in Louisiana between February 2011 and December 2011.

Specifically, PHMSA cited Texas Eastern for:

  • failing to control for internal pipeline corrosion;
  • failing to inspect for internal pipeline corrosion;
  • failing to clean and coat portions of pipelines that are exposed to external corrosion forces;
  • failing to monitor for atmospheric pipeline corrosion;
  • failing to maintain and operate transmission line valves that might be necessary in an emergency;
  • failing to maintain pipeline Rights of Way in a manner that would not impede patrolling and visual pipeline inspections, and;
  • failing to adequately mark the placement of buried natural gas transmission lines.

From the May 29 citation:

During the field inspection of the Lake Charles (Louisiana) area, PHMSA inspectors observed that Texas Eastern (Spectra) failed to clean and coat portions of their pipeline exposed to atmospheric corrosion at two (2) locations. PHMSA inspectors observed disbonded coating, atmospheric corrosion, and severe pitting in couple of locations. The locations were at Mainline Block Valve MP 49.64 and at Vermillion 265 offshore platform.

Also from the May 29 citation:

During the Arkansas area field inspection, the PHMSA inspector noted where line markers were not placed and maintained as close as practical over each buried main and transmission. In Arkansas the areas were at MP 85.12, downstream from the valve in the open field area and at MP 339.09, upstream and downstream from mainline valve 1-496. Additionally, while inspecting the Portland south unit in Texas, the PHMSA inspector noted a similar issue. There were no line markers on the rear fence at the Measuring Station 73258/59, at MP 23.25, where the line enters the fenced area.

The May 29 citation represents the fourteenth instance that PHMSA has cited Texas Eastern for pipeline safety violations in the company’s natural gas transmission system since January 2006. Six of those 14 instances have included citations related to failure to control pipeline corrosion, and Texas Eastern has paid more than $4 million in fines in connection with those violations.

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4 Comments to “Feds Cite Spectra for Multiple Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Violations”

  1. [...] This latest citation is the fourteenth time that PHMSA has cited Texas Eastern for pipeline safety violations since January 2006. Six of those 14 instances have included citations related to failure to control pipeline corrosion, and Texas Eastern has paid more than $4 million in fines in connection with those violations. Full story here. [...]

  2. MikeB says:

    Talk with folks from New Jersey to Pennsylvania who actually have experience with Spectra Energy. Company execs say, “Safety is our franchise. It’s what we do.”

    Yet Spectra Energy has a documented track record that reads like a police rap sheet with multi-million dollar fines, leaks, explosions and a refusal to be transparent – all on the public record.

    For example, at Spectra Energy’s Bedford County, PA, compressor station, there have been performance problems since it began operations in 2009. But it declines to answer questions on the issues — including multiple shutdowns/blowdowns, gas leaks, valve failures. Reference link: Citizen Regulators 4 — http://www.spectraenergywatch.com/blog/?p=1362

    Or: Spectra Energy

  3. [...] answer,” one area resident told NaturalGasWatch.org. “I’m nervous because Spectra Energy is installing a 16-inch main gas trunk within 60 feet of my house that is supplying gas to a 720 MW [...]

  4. PIPE LINING says:

    The main cause of the pipeline rupture that killed eight people and burned three dozen houses last September was 54 years of bad management by Pacific Gas & Electric Company, and state and federal regulators who did not notice the problem

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