Feds Cite Spectra for Multiple Natural Gas Pipeline Safety ViolationsJul 11th, 2012 | By fjgallagher | Category: Lead Articles
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.
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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.