PHMSA issues order after Kentucky gas line leak, fire

Nick Snow
Washington Correspondent

WASHINGTON, DC, Aug. 8 -- The US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration issued a corrective action order to Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. following a July 22 leak and fire on the El Paso Corp. subsidiary's Line 100-1 system in Kentucky.

The 24-in. line ruptured about 6 miles southeast of Clay City, Ky., resulting in the release and ignition of about 42.9 MMcf of gas, the US Department of Transportation agency said.

The fire was extinguished within 1 hr and no one was injured, although three nearby residences were evacuated and minor property damage occurred, it added.

A preliminary investigation indicted that pitting and corrosion was present in a 2-3 ft area near the fracture and within 2-3 in. of the pipe's longitudinal seam, with the fracture following the longitudinal seam near the pitting, according to the July 27 order.

It said that 25 ft of mangled and twisted pipe, with its external coating completely burned off, blew out of the ground and landed 200 ft away during the incident. The line was installed in 1944 and was last inspected and pressure tested in 1986, PHMSA said.

It ordered TGP to not run Line 100-1 at more than 80% of the operating pressure in effect prior to the incident and to keep pressure at the leak site below 572.8 psi until obtaining written approval from PHMSA's Office of Pipeline Safety Southern Region director.

PHMSA also ordered TGP to conduct a detailed metallurgical analysis of the pipe that failed, including documenting the chain-of-custody when handling and transporting the failed pipe section and other evidence from the incident site, obtaining the OPS's Southern Region director's approval before conducting metallurgical testing, and providing the regional director with the date, time, and place of the test so a PHMSA representative can be present to witness it.

TGP also will be required to submit a written plan and schedule to verify the integrity of the pipeline segment from Campbellsville Compressor Station 96 to Clay City Compression Station 106. The OPS Southern Region's director may extend the order's 45-day compliance deadline if the pipeline system operator submits a written request.

Contact Nick Snow at nsnow@cox.net.

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