EPNG fined $15.5 million; pipeline rehab ordered

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, July 30 -- In the first judicial settlement brought under the Pipeline Safety Act, the Justice Department and the US Department of Transportation's (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has fined El Paso Natural Gas Co. (EPNG) $15.5 million and mandated comprehensive rehabilitation of its entire 10,000 mile pipeline system. The action stems from an investigation of the August 2000 explosion on EPNG's pipeline system in Carlsbad, NM, that killed 12 people.

EPNG will spend at least $86 million for widespread, comprehensive modifications of its natural gas pipeline system to resolve alleged corrosion-control violations.

The complaint, filed concurrently with the settlement agreement, alleges that EPNG failed to employ personnel qualified in corrosion-control methods, failed to investigate and mitigate internal corrosion in two of its gas pipelines, and failed to suitably monitor those pipelines to determine the effectiveness of steps taken to minimize internal corrosion.

"The comprehensive pipeline modifications EPNG will complete as part of today's settlement will help to ensure that the severe internal corrosion that resulted in such a tragic accident will not be repeated," said Ronald J. Tenpas, acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division.

Severe internal corrosion causing major reduction in pipe wall thickness was determined to be the cause of the 2000 explosion. The settlement requires EPNG to inspect for corrosion and rehabilitate all the pipe on its interstate gas pipeline system, which extends from the San Juan, Permian, and Anadarko basins to markets in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and northern Mexico.

EPNG will be required to:
-- Modify its pipeline system to enable certain segments to be inspected by in-line inspection tools to determine the wall thickness of the steel pipe.
-- Remove pipeline drips that are not as effective as use of cleaning pigs on the system.
-- Collect and analyze liquid samples for corrosive properties whenever a pipeline, vessel, pig trap, meter tube, or tank is opened on the system.
-- Comply with gas quality guidelines that require monitoring of potentially corrosive gas quality constituents in the gas stream, and report semiannually that it complied with operating procedures for enforcement.
-- Conduct annual reviews of site-specific plans and review all nondestructive examination (NDE) records and high resolution magnetic flux leakage data to determine if any facility needs to be inspected, reinspected, or monitored to determine the occurrence of wall loss.
-- Develop a training program for EPNG's corrosion-control specialists and engineers.

The consent decree, lodged July 27 in the US District Court in New Mexico, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by the federal court. It is available at (http://www.usdoj.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html).

Related Articles

Russia’s Turkey pipeline deal possibly may keep door to Europe ajar

12/18/2014 Russia’s memorandum of understanding to build a natural gas pipeline to Turkey after canceling its South Stream project could help keep the door op...

Woodside delays Browse FLNG development schedule

12/17/2014 Woodside Petroleum Ltd. has reported it expects to enter front-end engineering and design phase for the proposed Browse floating LNG (FLNG) develop...

EPP kills plans for Bakken-to-Cushing crude oil pipeline

12/15/2014 Enterprise Products Partners LP (EPP) has elected not to proceed with development of its proposed crude oil pipeline that would have extended 1,200...

Woodside to buy Apache’s interests in Wheatstone, Kitimat LNG for $2.75 billion

12/15/2014 Woodside Petroleum Ltd. has agreed to acquire interest in the Wheatstone LNG and Kitimat LNG projects, respectively in Western Australia and Britis...

Gas agreement seen firming China-Russia energy ties

12/15/2014 A Nov. 9 framework agreement for another large gas-supply deal between OAO Gazprom and China National Petroleum Corp. remains far from concluded bu...

Falling prices may pose new test for China oil policies, speakers say

12/15/2014 China, which successfully revised its oil strategy in response to new technologies since 2008, could face fresh tests if prices stay low for a prol...

Watching Government: Russia: On the ropes?

12/15/2014 Russia's Dec. 1 cancellation of its South Stream natural gas pipeline was not surprising. European nations have signaled for years that they intend...

ExxonMobil forecasts 35% higher world energy demand by 2040

12/15/2014 A significantly bigger global middle class, expanded emerging economies, and 2 billion more people will contribute to 35% higher world energy deman...

API: Producers reducing methane emissions already

12/15/2014 US oil and gas producers are reducing wellhead methane emissions already and don't need ill-conceived, overly prescriptive federal regulations, Ame...

White Papers

AVEVA NET Accesses and Manages the Digital Asset

Global demand for new process plants, power plants and infrastructure is increasing steadily with the ...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Approach for the Digital Asset

To meet the requirements for leaner project execution and more efficient operations while transferring...
Sponsored by

Diversification - the technology aspects

In tough times, businesses seek to diversify into adjacent markets or to apply their skills and resour...
Sponsored by

Engineering & Design for Lean Construction

Modern marketing rhetoric claims that, in order to cut out expensive costs and reduce risks during the...
Sponsored by

Object Lessons - Why control of engineering design at the object level is essential for efficient project execution

Whatever the task, there is usually only one way to do it right and many more to do it wrong. In the c...
Sponsored by

Plant Design for Lean Construction - at your fingertips

One area which can provide improvements to the adoption of Lean principles is the application of mobil...
Sponsored by

How to Keep Your Mud System Vibrator Hose from Getting Hammered to Death

To prevent the vibrating hoses on your oilfield mud circulation systems from failing, you must examine...
Sponsored by

Duty of Care

Good corporate social responsibility means implementing effective workplace health and safety measures...
Sponsored by

Available Webcasts


On Demand

Optimizing your asset management practices to mitigate the effects of a down market

Thu, Dec 11, 2014

The oil and gas market is in constant flux, and as the price of BOE (Barrel of Oil Equivalent) goes down it is increasingly important to optimize your asset management strategy to stay afloat.  Attend this webinar to learn how developing a solid asset management plan can help your company mitigate costs in any market.

register:WEBCAST


Parylene Conformal Coatings for the Oil & Gas Industry

Thu, Nov 20, 2014

In this concise 30-minute webinar, participants have an opportunity to learn more about how Parylene coatings are applied, their features, and the value they add to devices and components.

register:WEBCAST


Utilizing Predictive Analytics to Optimize Productivity in Oil & Gas Operations

Tue, Nov 18, 2014

Join IBM on Tuesday, November 18 @ 1pm CST to explore how Predictive Analytics can help your organization maximize productivity, operational performance & associated processes to drive enterprise wide productivity and profitability.

register:WEBCAST


US HYDROCARBON EXPORTS Part 3 — LNG

Fri, Nov 14, 2014

US LNG Exports, the third in a trilogy of webcasts focusing on the broad topic of US Hydrocarbon Exports.

A discussion of the problems and potential for the export of US-produced liquefied natural gas.

These and other topics will be discussed, with the latest thoughts on U.S. LNG export policy.

register:WEBCAST


Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected