TC Energy Received Probable Violation Notice from PHMSA

TC Oil Operations, the company that owns Keystone pipeline failed to provide suitable coating material at numerous locations along the pipeline, according to The Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration. A notice of probable violation was issued by PHMSA as a result of an inspection of the Keystone Pipeline’s facilities and records.

PHMSA didn’t proposed any fines as a result of the probable violation, rather proposed a compliance order that requires TC Oil to “correct deficiencies in coating material so that they are suitable for prevention of atmospheric corrosion.”

According to the notice, the company also needs to provide a “record of the location of piping with insufficient coating and the date in which the appropriate coating was applied.”

“The operator used fusion bonded epoxy as a coating on numerous locations on the pipeline at and above the air soil interface,” the notice reads. TC Energy has six months from the date of the final order to comply.

The 2,600 miles pipeline runs from eastern Alberta, Canada, to Oklahoma and Illinois, and carries crude oil.


SkyX Drone Company Visions Expansion in Texas Oil and Gas Market

In hopes to expand its presence in Texas, an Ontario-based SkyX drone company specializing in performing oil and natural gas pipeline inspections has set up shop in downtown Houston. Live demonstrations of the company's technology will be provided through a test facility the company plans on opening in the Houston area.

"I admire the innovation and impact that SkyX has delivered and the company-wide dedication to offering the most effective solutions to midstream and other long-range assets the world over," a company executive said in a statement. "I am honored to have the opportunity to contribute to the success and expansion of this impressive company."

SkyX drones can be used to inspect pipelines and provide high-quality visual data along their routes that can be used for surveying right-of-way or detecting leaks and corrosion. When paired with specialized cameras fixed to its drones, the company's proprietary software can detect anomalies such as ground depressions and cracks, large corrosion patches on above-ground pipelines and above-ground pools of oil resulting from a leak.


Enbridge's Line 3 Pipeline Opening Delayed in Minnesota

The startup plans of Line 3 replacement crude oil pipeline through northern Minnesota by the Canadian-based Enbridge Energy is delayed by a year, the company said on Friday. The company now expects the new pipeline to go into service in the second half of 2020.

The project was approved last summer by the state’s Public Utilities Commission and the initial plan was to put the pipeline into service in the second half of 2019.

But the Minnesota Department of Commerce argued that Enbridge failed to provide legally adequate long-range demand forecasts to establish that is needed.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz recently said his administration will keep pursuing an appeal of an independent regulatory commission's approval of Enbridge's plan.

According to Enbridge Energy, Line 3 is increasingly prone to cracking and corrosion, and wants to be replaced. But the Native American and environmental activists argue the project risks spills in pristine areas.


Plains All American Pipeline Continues Cleanup of 19,000-Gallon Oil Spill

Crews from Plains All American Pipeline are working to clean up a 19,000-gallon oil spill that was reported northwest of Oklahoma City on Friday.

Although the pipeline spill was reported Friday, the actual start date of the spill is currently unknown. Plains All American Pipeline issued a statement Tuesday saying it was still investigating the cause of the leak.

Officials believe corrosion may have caused a small hole in the pipeline, resulting in the leak.

According to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, about 70 acres of farmland were affected by the 450-barrel spill, and the oil also reached a small creek but was contained before flowing into a second creek that runs into the Cimarron River.

The commission said it would work with the EPA to test the water quality in the affected waterways to ensure they are fully recovered before signing off on the cleanup process.

Houston Chronicle

Enbridge Assures Underwater Pipelines Safe Despite Outer Material Corrosion

Operator of the controversial Line 5 twin oil pipelines underneath the Straits of Mackinac reported that the lines remain structurally sound despite public concerns about the deterioration of some outer protective material on the lines.

Enbridge Inc. released a work plan on its website that identified 18 areas on the underwater pipelines where an outer wrapping made with a glass-fiber mesh was no longer present due to corrosion. The company reported that the mesh was not essential to the integrity of the pipeline and that there is no reason for concern.

Opponents beg to differ, however, responding to the work plan with concerns about a potential pipeline spill under the straits, a body of water that connects the Great Lakes which provides the world's largest surface freshwater supply.

Enbridge's integrity programs director Kurt Baraniecki told the Michigan Pipeline Safety Advisory Board that the corroded coating was applied to the pipeline when it was first built in 1953 to help seal the enamel but that its absence in a few places poses no threat to the operation of the pipeline.

Enbridge VP of U.S. operations for liquid pipelines Brad Shamla told the board that Enbridge does not intend to replace the mesh and that the company is "very comfortable with the integrity and reliability of the pipeline."



Spectra Energy: Faster-than-expected Corrosion Led to Pennsylvania Pipeline Blast



Texas-based Spectra Energy on Tuesday announced that faster-than-expected corrosion caused the natural gas pipeline explosion in Salem Township, Pennsylvania last April that burned 40 acres of land and severely injured a man.

The company held a meeting for board supervisors, regulators, and residents in Salem Township and shared the findings of the pipeline blast, reported by Andy Drake, the vice president of operations and environmental health and safety with Spectra Energy.

In a 2012 inspection of the pipeline, officials found corrosion on the pipeline that they said did not warrant another inspection until 2019 because it was anticipated that the corrosion would grow 2 to 3 percent annually. Instead, the corrosion grew an alarming 10 to 15 percent each year, according to Drake.

Drake noted at the meeting that unique factors at the Salem Township site may have contributed to the blast: the gas pumped there is warmer than most because of its proximity to the transmission station; the ground in the area may also have caused a wet-dry cycling known to accelerate pipe rust.

Spectra is currently digging up other areas along the 265-mile natural gas pipeline and repairing problems that are found. The company estimates that the digging and repairs will cost them $75 million to $100 million.

Houston Chronicle