Kinder Morgan evaluating Plantation ethanol shipments

Kinder Morgan Energy Partners is evaluating the possibility of shipping batched ethanol along individual segments of its Plantation Pipeline system.

Apr 22nd, 2009

Christopher E. Smith
OGJ Pipeline Editor

FORT WORTH, Apr. 22 -- Kinder Morgan Energy Partners is evaluating the possibility of shipping batched ethanol along individual segments of its Plantation Pipeline system, according to Mike Outlaw, vice-president of southeast region operations and engineering. Outlaw, speaking at the 60th annual API Pipeline Conference, said other Kinder Morgan pipelines were also being evaluated for potential ethanol transport.

The eye toward pursuing other ethanol shipment possibilities follows more than 4 months of successful batch shipments along KMEP's 16-in OD Central Florida gasoline pipeline. The pipeline transports one 20,000-25,000 bbl batch/week from Tampa to Orlando, Fla. Shipments are currently limited by available tankage in Orlando, with Outlaw saying planned storage adjustments will allow shipment of 35,000-40,000 bbl weekly batches.

Inhibitor use along the pipeline is so far in expected ranges, with no indication of stress corrosion cracking using coupon rack monitoring. Before beginning ethanol shipments along the pipeline, KMEP replaced all gaskets and elastomers per manufacturer recommendations, with no unexpected mechanical problems experienced to date.

KMEP has experienced no contamination issues of note along the Central Florida line since beginning ethanol shipments, according to Outlaw. The gasoline-ethanol interface is also clearly identified by existing gravity instrumentation. Outlaw said KMEP keeps linefill tight, even in a shutdown situation, to help in this regard, yielding a roughly 200 bbl boundary between gasoline and ethanol batches.

KMEP's Plantation system features a number of pipelines in the same right-of-way, and Outlaw emphasized that ethanol shipments would occur in the system's smaller diameter lines, not the 30-in. OD main line.

Contact Christopher E. Smith at chriss@ogjonline.com.

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