Ignored Pipe Caused Philadelphia Refinery Explosion

In June there was a series of explosions and a massive fire at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) Refining Complex, the East Coast’s oldest and largest oil refinery (see Massive Explosion, Fire at Philadelphia Refinery). It took fire fighters a full day to extinguish the blaze. The refinery had already been through bankruptcy once. The fire caused it to close down and layoff over 1,000 workers (see Philly Refinery to Close Following Massive Fire – 1,020 Jobs Lost). We now have a good idea of what caused the initial problem: An elbow pipe that had not been inspected in almost 45 years had become paper-thin.
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Enbridge Zeros in on Cause of Kentucky TETCO Pipe Explosion

On August 1, Enbridge’s Texas Eastern Pipeline Company (TETCO) pipeline exploded in Lincoln County, Kentucky–killing one and sending six to the hospital (see TETCO Pipe Explodes in Kentucky Killing 1; Southbound M-U Gas Stops). Since that time one of the three TETCO pipes in the area has returned to service. The federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) continues to investigate. As is typical for such an investigation, we won’t have an official determination for months, maybe even a year, as to what caused the explosion. However, Enbridge is saying the explosion is likely due to a certain kind of pipe manufactured back in the 1950s.
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XNG Compressed Gas Truck Overturns Near Binghamton, Driver Killed

XNG CNG truck crash (Credit: Broome County Sheriff)

What is arguably the worst-case scenario for a virtual pipeline company has happened–and it happened not more than 10 miles as the crow flies from MDN HQ. Early Monday morning a compressed natural gas (CNG) truck from Xpress Natural Gas (XNG) was traveling up Interstate 88 near Binghamton (Chenango Bridge area) at 1 am when the driver noticed two deer on the road. He swerved to miss the deer, tipping over the truck which held full canisters of CNG. The truck and trailer crashed into the concrete barrier between the east- and west-bound lanes, ejecting the driver and, sadly, killing him. Both deer were killed as well. One of the canisters in the trailer was punctured and released its gas. Some 80 nearby homes were evacuated as a precaution.
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Two Lawsuits Filed Against Enbridge for KY TETCO Pipe Explosion

On August 1, Enbridge’s Texas Eastern Pipeline Company (TETCO) pipeline exploded in Lincoln County, Kentucky–killing one and sending six to the hospital (see TETCO Pipe Explodes in Kentucky Killing 1; Southbound M-U Gas Stops). Since that time one of the three TETCO pipes in the area has returned to service. We’re just now learning that at least two lawsuits have been filed against Enbridge and TETCO–one for wrongful death, the other by a couple severely injured and burned following the incident.
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Another Mariner East 2 Pipe Sinkhole Opens in Delaware County

Credit: PA Environment Digest Blog (click for larger version)

Once again drilling work to install Sunoco’s Mariner East 2 Pipeline in Middlefield Township in Delaware County, PA (near Philadelphia) has resulted in a sinkhole. This one is about the size of a 15×15 swimming pool. Sunoco reports the hole exposed a 12-inch pipeline flowing NGLs (no holes, no leaks in the pipeline). The company immediately filled in the sinkhole and covered over the NGL pipeline.
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Partial Service Restored to Exploded TETCO Pipe in Kentucky

What the TETCO Kentucky explosion looked like the morning after (click for larger version)

On August 1, Enbridge’s Texas Eastern Pipeline Company (TETCO) pipeline exploded in Lincoln County, Kentucky–killing one and sending six to the hospital (see TETCO Pipe Explodes in Kentucky Killing 1; Southbound M-U Gas Stops). Actually TETCO operates three pipelines in that area, all located next to each other in the same right-of-way and collectively called TETCO. Line 15 is where the explosion occurred. Yesterday morning Enbridge announced it had restarted flows along TETCO Line 25.
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Enbridge Wants to Bring TETCO Pipe in KY Back Online Aug 24-26

TETCO Line 15 explosion & fire on Aug 1

On August 1, Enbridge’s Texas Eastern Pipeline Company (TETCO) pipeline exploded in Lincoln County, Kentucky–killing one and sending six to the hospital (see TETCO Pipe Explodes in Kentucky Killing 1; Southbound M-U Gas Stops). Actually TETCO operates three pipelines in that area, all located next to each other and collectively called TETCO. Line 15 is where the explosion occurred, but Lines 10 and 25 (located next to Line 15) remain offline until further notice (see 3 TETCO Pipelines in KY Closed Indefinitely, Feds Order Repairs). TETCO is hoping to return one of the three lines to service later this week.
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3 TETCO Pipelines in KY Closed Indefinitely, Feds Order Repairs

TETCO explosion/fire in Kentucky

Last Friday the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued their preliminary findings (full copy below) on the explosion of the Texas Eastern Pipeline Company (TETCO) pipeline explosion in Lincoln County, Kentucky–an explosion that killed one and sent six to the hospital (see TETCO Pipe Explodes in Kentucky Killing 1; Southbound M-U Gas Stops). PHMSA also issued a “corrective action order” on Friday that requires TETCO to keep Line 15, where the explosion occurred, and Lines 10 and 25 (located next to Line 15), offline until further notice. Indefinitely.
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TETCO Remains Closed in KY Following Blast, NE Production Back Up

Last Thursday the Texas Eastern Transmission Company (TETCO) pipeline exploded near a trailer park in Lincoln County, Kentucky (see TETCO Pipe Explodes in Kentucky Killing 1; Southbound M-U Gas Stops). The blast and resulting fire killed one woman, injured five more, and destroyed five homes in the area. It shut down the pipeline in that area which flows 1.7 billion cubic feet of Marcellus/Utica gas (Bcf/d) south to the Gulf Coast. The pipeline will remain shut down “at least” until next Monday, Aug. 12.
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TETCO Pipe in Kentucky Remains Closed After Last Week’s Explosion

Last Thursday the Texas Eastern Transmission Company (TETCO) pipeline exploded near a trailer park in Lincoln County, Kentucky (see TETCO Pipe Explodes in Kentucky Killing 1; Southbound M-U Gas Stops). The blast and resulting fire killed one woman, injured five more, and destroyed five homes in the area. It shut down the pipeline in that area which flows 1.7 billion cubic feet of Marcellus/Utica gas (Bcf/d) south to the Gulf Coast. The pipeline remains shut down today.
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TETCO Pipe Explodes in Kentucky Killing 1; Southbound M-U Gas Stops

TETCO Pipeline explosion/fire in Kentucky

Early yesterday morning around 1:20 am, the Texas Eastern Transmission Company (TETCO) pipeline exploded near a trailer park in Lincoln County, Kentucky. The blast and resulting fire killed one woman, injured five more, and destroyed five homes in the area. Flames shot up more than 300 feet into the air, visible from neighboring counties.
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Columbia Gas Pays $143M to Settle Lawsuit from Mass. Explosions

Columbia Gas of Massachusetts (NiSource) continues to recover (physically and reputationally) from a series of explosions last September in its local delivery pipelines north of Boston (see Local NatGas Pipes Explode Near Boston Killing 1, Injuring 25). The explosions and resulting fires tragically killed one teenager and injured 25 others. It left some 8,600 households and businesses without natural gas–for months. Several class action lawsuits were filed against the company. News is breaking today that Columbia has settled all of the class action lawsuits for $143 million.
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Philly Refinery to Close Following Massive Fire – 1,020 Jobs Lost

Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES), which operates the East Coast’s largest refinery on the banks of the Delaware River, was already wobbling because of onerous federal regulations that require refiners to blend in biofuel with gasoline and diesel, or purchase very expensive credits. PES can’t blend, so they must buy the credits, which put them under water financially, forcing them into bankruptcy last year (see Philadelphia Refinery Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy). Following a series of explosions and a massive fire last week (see Massive Explosion, Fire at Philadelphia Refinery), PES has announced it will be closing down over the next two weeks, throwing 1,020 people out of work.
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Massive Explosion, Fire at Philadelphia Refinery

PES fire

Last Friday around 4 am there was a series of three explosions and a massive fire at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) Refining Complex, the East Coast’s oldest and largest oil refinery. It took fire fighters until Saturday afternoon to extinguish the blaze. The main concern was that if the fire reached a tank of hydrofluoric acid used in the refining process it would be released as hydrogen fluoride (a poison), affecting nearby residents. Fortunately that didn’t happen. The thing about the story that caught our attention is that propane and butane (potentially sourced from the Marcellus) are what fed the fire.
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MarkWest, Contractor Fined $98K for SWPA Gas Plant Explosion

In mid-December there was an explosion at a MarkWest Energy natural gas processing plant in Chartiers (Washington County), PA, injuring four people (see MarkWest Plant Explosion in Washington Co. Injures 4; 1 Critical). Unfortunately one the workers later died (see Sad Postscript: Man Dies of Injuries from MarkWest SWPA Explosion). The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigated the incident and has just fined MarkWest and a contractor (that employed the workers) a cumulative $98,508.
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Dominion Investigating Condensate Tank Fire in Tyler, WV

On May 25, lightning struck a 1 million gallon condensate tank near Friendly (Tyler County), WV on a Saturday afternoon (see Lightning Strikes Huge Condensate Tank in Tyler, WV – Fire Now Out). At least, that’s the theory. The strike (if that’s what it was) ignited the tank, creating a “massive” fire according to news accounts. Dominion Energy, owner of the tank, is still investigating to see how the fire began (was it really lightning?), and how such accident can be avoided in the future.
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