Mariner East 1 Sprang a Small NGL Leak Near Philly, on Apr 1

Mariner East Pipeline Project map – click for larger version

The Mariner East 1 pipeline sprung a small leak and spilled 20 barrels (~840 gallons) of ethane and propane in Berks County, near Philadelphia, on April 1. Sunoco Logistics Partners, builder and maintainer of the pipeline, shut it down and fixed it over the next several days. The entire episode, which happened 20 days ago, is only now coming to light. Sunoco is being criticized by antis for not taking out a major advertising campaign to announce the leak. Sunoco says they alerted the National Response Center (NRC), the proper federal authority (a program of the U.S. Coast Guard). Apparently it is the job of the NRC to alert the public. Although this was a small leak which was quickly contained and with no long-term effects, Sunoco seems to have missed an important life lesson: He who gets there with the bad news first, wins. Sunoco LP should have (in our opinion) been more proactive in publicly announcing the leak and the steps taken to contain and fix it–and to reassure folks that measures will be taken to prevent any such leaks in the future. There would have been a day or two of hit pieces by “mainstream” media, and then the story would have disappeared. Now, the story will linger and be used against the company should any more minor spills happen…

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