Explosion In California Neighborhood Kills SoCalGas Worker And Injures 15 Others

On Monday, in Southern California, a natural gas explosion destroyed a home, injured 15 people and killed a gas company worker. The explosion was reportedly caused by a contractor who hit a gas line after failing to call Southern California Gas to check where gas lines were located.

Firefighters arrived at the home where the line was struck shortly after receiving news of what happened, an hour before the actual explosion. The fire took more than an hour to extinguish. Among the 15 people injured, three were firefighters. Neighbors reported that nearby homes were shaken from the explosion and windows were shattered.

Kevin McKinney, a neighbor whose home was damaged, explained that there was “a huge, huge explosion and then I heard screams and went outside,” where he found a man lying in the street who was taken away in an ambulance.

Source: Pipeline & Gas Journal

Explosion Causes Fire at Philadelphia Oil Refinery

Early Friday morning, after several explosions, a large fire broke out at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery. The explosion's blaze caused nearby homes to shake and gave minor injuries to 5 workers. Immediately, gas prices increased by 3.9 % for fear of restricted access to supplies.

The fire proved difficult to extinguish as access was limited “due to the damage and instability” of the crumbling building. Crews from the fire department continuously poured water on pipes and tanks to cool them down and workers from Philadelphia Energy Solutions teamed up to turn off the gas that was feeding the fire. Eventually, the fire department successfully extinguished the fire on Saturday afternoon.

The air in the surrounding areas was tested for 61 chemical compounds about every 3 hours after the explosion and officials stated the air was safe and that there were no immediate health threats to be concerned about.

There is still no answer as to what caused the explosion, however investigations have begun.


North Carolina Gas Explosion Kills 1, Injures 25

An explosion stemming from a Dominion Energy subsidiary's natural gas line in downtown Durham, North Carolina caused one person dead and 25 people have been hospitalized, including nine Durham firefighters.

Wednesday morning at approximately 10:26 a.m., a gas leak was reported after a contractor drilled under the sidewalk, rupturing a 2-inch gas line. The following explosion destroyed one building and damaged several others, according to local police.

Firefighters had contained the fire as of around 2:30 p.m. and buildings near the explosion had been evacuated. 

Dominion Energy said in a statement that a contractor, who was not its employee and was not working on behalf of the utility, was doing excavation work and dug into a natural gas pipeline before the explosion.


Energy Transfer’s Natural Gas Pipeline Ruptures in Missouri

Panhandle Eastern’s fiery rupture of a natural gas line lit up the early-morning sky about one mile north of Mexico, Missouri on Sunday. This will limit the capacity while repairs are being done, Energy Transfer said in a notice.

The rupture took place downstream from the Centralia Compressor Station and occurred about 120 miles from St. Louis. Although the rupture didn’t cause serious injuries, it did interrupt power to several homes, the Audrain County Sheriff’s Office noted in a Facebook post.

It took about 40 minutes for the fire to burn the remaining gas and extinguish itself. The flames were so intense that the crews weren't able to battle the blaze when they first arrived, said Little Dixie Fire Protection District Fire Chief Steve Gentry.

In order to clear the debris blown into the air by the explosion, Missouri 15 highway was closed for several hours. The highway was repaired and utility crews replaced several poles and lines. The cause of the explosion is unknown.


Texas Eastern Pipeline to Serve Kentucky and Tennessee After Enbridge Pipeline Explosion

The direction of natural gas flow of Enbridge’s Texas Eastern pipeline in Ohio has been reversed following the explosion of a line on Monday.

The blast injured two people and damaged three homes.

Prior to the blast, gas was flowing south through the damaged section of pipe from the Marcellus and Utica shale in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia toward the Gulf Coast.

Now, the pipeline will serve customers in states like Tennessee and Kentucky who stopped receiving gas after the explosion.

Enbridge said it isolated two other gas pipes near the 30-inch damaged line as crews safely investigate the integrity of those lines prior to returning them to service.

An estimated return to service date has not been provided.


Enbridge Gas Pipeline Explosion Strong Enough to Damage Two Homes and Injure Two People

A fireball caused by an Enbridge natural gas pipeline explosion in Ohio damaged homes and prompted the evacuation of nearby residents.

The explosion occurred on Enbridge’s Texas Eastern pipeline system and appeared to have destroyed two homes, said Chasity Schmelzenbach, emergency management director for Noble County, Ohio.

“We got reports flames were shooting (up) 80 feet to 200 feet (25-60 meters),” Schmelzenbach said.

“You could see it upwards of 10-15 miles (16-24 km) away. Lots of people thought it was in their backyard because it does appear large.”

Enbridge said that two people were injured in the 10:40 a.m. EST blast, and that the company “immediately started to shut in and isolate that section of the pipeline” while cooperating with authorities.

A PHMSA investigator has been dispatched.


Pemex Pipeline Leak Takes the Lives of at Least 109 People in Mexico's Tlahuelilpan District

A devastating pipeline explosion took the lives of at least 109 people while hospitalizing another 50 in Mexico.

The Mexican security minister said that Pemex did not close the valve at a leaking gasoline pipeline when first notified because it was not initially thought to be an “important” leak.

The explosion took place on Friday in the Hidalgo state’s Tlahuelilpan district where 800 people were collecting fuel from the major pipeline’s leak.

Reports say that the leak was initially manageable. Some explained it as a small fountain where people gathered to collect the fuel and give it to “runners”. As the crowd grew, so did the risk.

An individual rammed a piece of metal to create a much larger leak. The fire that engulfed those around the leak is part of an ongoing issue of fuel theft in Mexico. Last week, the President of Mexico added 4,000 soldiers to patrol the major pipelines.

Security Minister Alfonoso Durazo explained that the Mexico’s military detected the leak four hours before Pemex close the valve.

Oil and Gas Investor

Enbridge's Pipeline to Increase to 85 Per Cent Pressure Following October Explosion

Enbridge’s pipeline that ruptured near Prince George over a month ago will have its natural gas flow increased, the company said.

The 36 inch-pipeline will increase to 85 per cent of its normal operating pressure after the National Energy Board’s amendment order.

The normal operating pressure at the time of the October 9 explosion was 80 per cent. The NEB had ordered Enbridge to limit gas flow at 80 per cent.

The pipeline explosion that ruptured the 36-inch pipeline did not damage the adjacent, smaller, pipe.

Full capacity will return after safety inspections are conducted, the company said.

Prince George Matters

Will There be Health Risks After Enbridge Pipeline Explosion? Company Doesn't Think So

Enbridge, owners of the natural gas pipeline in British Columbia that ruptured and erupted in flames last week, says that the dust settled on homes near the blast site does not pose a health threat.

The company announced that earth sampling near the site shows mineral and metal composition well below provincial and federal standards for urban and residential areas.

Although there is no timeline to return the 91-centimeter pipeline to service, construction of an access road to the damaged line continues and repair crews may be able to reach the scene later this week.

Enbridge says it recognizes the incident’s impact on the communities and companies around it, and are working to make sure their needs are being met.


Massachusetts Gas Explosion Tied to Repair Crew Not Relocating Pressure Sensors

The Massachusetts gas explosion has been tied to a NiSource Inc. affiliate failing to require contract repair crews to relocate pressure sensors during natural-gas pipeline work, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said on Thursday.

The failure caused over-pressured lines to explode and erupt over a hundred houses in three Massachusetts communities into flames. The incident also left one dead and 21 injured, as gas poured through Columbia Gas Co of Massachusetts’ distribution system.

After the first alarm was raised at Columbia Gas’s monitoring center, 3 ½ hours went by before critical valves controlling gas flows were shut, NTSB said in a preliminary report.

The valves were not able to be remotely closed or opened, however technicians were notified, the report added.

Crews were on their way to Lawrence to replace an aged cast-iron main with a newer plastic distribution main line. The abandoned main had regulatory sensing lines use to detect pressure in the system, the NTSB report said.

After disconnecting the main line, the sensing line lost pressure and the regulators fully opened. This allowed for a full flow of high-pressure gas to be supplied to the neighborhood through the distribution system.

Columbia Gas did not account for the location of the sensing lines or require their relocation to ensure the regulators were sensing actual system pressure despite approving the work package.

Minutes before the explosion, Columbia Gas’s monitoring center in Ohio received high-pressure alarms. It took 25 minutes for the company to shut down the regulator at about 4:30 p.m.

Pipeline & Gas Journal

Enbridge Receives NEB Approval to Restart Pipeline Next to Massive Explosion

Enbridge received NEB approval on Thursday to restart its 30-inch line, which is located in the same right of way as the impacted 36-inch line. They also began a multi-hour process to return the line to service.

In a comprehensive integrity assessment that followed the approval, Enbridge looked for evidence of damage to the pipe, geotechnical and ground disturbance, as well as other potential integrity issues on the 30-inch line.

Enbridge said in an online statement, “Now that the 30-inch line has been deemed fit for service, our restart plan is to gradually bring the line’s pressure up to approximately 80% of normal operating capacity.”

“Once this process is safely completed, some much-need capacity will be restored for our customers.”


Enbridge's Pipeline Explosion Forces 100 to Evacuate

Enbridge’s natural gas transmission pipeline erupted into flames after a rupture occurred at around 5:30 pm on Tuesday. The explosion forced about 100 nearby locals to evacuate their homes.

Enbridge spokesman Michael Barnes said in an emailed statement that the explosion happened 13.5 kilometers from Prince George.

“Enbridge emergency crews have responded, have isolated and are currently depressurizing two natural gas transmission lines in the vicinity to contain the incident,” he said. “The incident area has been cordoned off to maintain public safety.”

Most residents were allowed back into their homes Wednesday after the evacuation zone was reduced to 1 kilometer from the explosion site.

No injuries or damage was reported beside the pipeline itself. The site is in a rural area.

National Energy Board spokesman Tom Neufeld said the fire was along Enbridge’s Westcoast main line, which falls under the board’s jurisdiction.

“NEB inspectors have been deployed to this area. They’re going to monitor and oversee the company’s response to the incident, and they’re going to determine the impact and extent of the fire and release,” Neufeld said.

The agency will work closely with the Transportation Safety Board, which is responsible for investigating the incident, he added.

The cause of the incident is still under investigation.

Financial Post

First Lawsuit Arises Accusing Columbia Gas and NiSource of Poor Maintenance

A resident of the area affected by the Columbia Gas pipeline explosions that destroyed more than 80 homes has sued utility operator NiSource Inc on Tuesday, accusing it of inadequately maintaining its distribution system.

The proposed class action lawsuit targets NiSource and its subsidiary Columbia Gas of Massachusetts which serves the areas northwest of Boston that were blasted, resulting in one death and at least 25 injuries.

The lawsuit is the first to be filed after the explosions. It claims that the gas pipeline system used by Columbia Gas was “poorly maintained, antiquated, obsolete, and highly dangerous.”

Although NiSource did not respond to a request for comment, it has set up a phone center to accept resident’s claims for property damage and costs related to the incident.

The lawsuit said the company failed to implement reasonable safety and leak prevision practices and failed to replace obsolete high-risk materials in the system. It seeks unspecified damages on behalf of residents affected by the incident and an order requiring NiSource to stop operating its system in an unsafe manner.


Columbia Gas Pipeline Pressure 12 Times Too High Prior to Explosion

The Columbia Gas pipeline responsible for more than two dozen injuries and one death was discovered to have had 12 times higher pressure than it should have.

Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey sent the letter Monday seeking answers to questions about the explosion.

The letter says, according the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, “the pressure in the system should have been around 0.5 pounds per square inch, but readings in the area reached at least 6 PSI.”

Early reports indicate over-pressurized gas lines are to blame although the actual cause remains under investigation.

Columbia Gas President Stephen Bryant announced Tuesday at a news conference that a $10 million donation would be made to a relief fund.


Residents Cleared to Return to Neighborhoods after Series of Pipeline Explosions

Three Massachusetts communities were cleared for residents to return to after a gas explosion killed one man and set dozens of buildings on fire on Thursday.

Over-pressurized lines caused a natural gas leak triggering a series of explosions and fires in Andover, North Andover and Lawrence. Residents of around 8,000 homes and businesses were ordered to evacuate and shut off electricity to prevent further fires.

Columbia Gas of Massachusetts declined to comment on Sunday on what caused the leaks, stating that federal investigators would decide. The company said before the releases that upgrades to gas lines in neighborhoods across the states would be upgraded.

The National Transportation Safety Board, PHMSA, the Massachusetts Fire Marshal’s office, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are all investigating the gas leaks and explosions.

“There is no sign that anyone did anything intentional,” Jennifer Mieth, a spokeswoman for the state Fire Marshal said on Friday. She said the FBI would stay involved until the NTSB determined the case of the leaks.

Utility crews worked through the weekend and complete checks and shut gas meters on homes and buildings in the affected areas with Electric power being restored to all customers on Sunday.

Natural gas service will not be restored until utility workers evaluate the area’s gas lines for safety.


Targa Pipeline Explosion That Killed 3-Year-Old Caused by Hole in Pipeline

An August explosion that killed a 3-year old girl in Midland was caused by a natural gas pipeline which had been leaking “for some time,” according to a report from Energy and Environmental News.

The leak was caused by a dime-sized hole according to a Railroad Commission of Texas incident report. The report also states that the gathering line owned by Targa Pipeline Mid-Continent WestTex was “compromised”. The steel wall of the line and the tar coating was supposed to protect the line.

The 3-year-old died two days after the initial incident, and her sisters and parents were badly burned in the explosion, according to the report.

Gas in the 10-inch-diameter pipeline was not odorized and the line was about 20 feet from the front of the family’s mobile home.

Targa hired a contractor to remove a 19-foot section of the pipe, and it was taken to a Targa location under “lock and key,”. The pipe will reportedly be sent to a laboratory for examination. RRC officials wrote that only Targa lawyers have access to the damaged pipe.


30 Houses Evacuated After Energy Transfer 24-Inch Pipeline Explosion

Police say a gas pipeline in Center Township exploded early Monday morning forcing close to 30 homes to be evacuated.

The explosion was on Energy Transfer Partner’s 24-inch natural gas gathering line in Beaver County, Pennsylvania. Reports suggested that the pipeline explosion occurred shortly before 5 a.m.

“It took time… to burn the gas that was remaining in the lines out,” police said.

Center Township Police Chief added that there were also some evacuees that required medical assistance because of their medical condition and not injuries sustained by the actual explosion.

Power lines and other towers fell, blocking a road, and closing an interstate in both directions.
The Central Valley School District – which includes Center and Potter townships and Monaca – closed all of its schools Monday due to the explosion.

Although no injuries were reported, several homes in the area were evacuated after the fire broke out, the company said in an emailed statement. The cause of the explosion is still unknown.

The fire was extinguished around two hours after the initial fire. later that morning, the company reported.

Biz Journal

New Facts Released from Fatal Oklahoma Fire That Killed Five

After a January fire killed five in an eastern Oklahoma drilling rig, federal investigators said on Thursday that more than 100 barrels of drilling fluid poured out of a natural gas well prior to igniting.

The Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board's lead investigator explained that the volume of fluid should have triggered alarms at the site especially since the 107 barrels of oil is far above the five to 10 barrels of drilling mud outflow threshold that is used to trigger an alarm at oil and gas operations. The alarm would have indicated that natural gas had flooded the well at dangerous levels.

The drilling fluids started pouring from the blowout preventer, used to prevent well explosions, after being pushed out the well by natural gas.

It was unclear how long workers knew of the surge in drilling fluids prior to the actual explosion. The ignition source that led to the explosion is also unknown.

The investigation is still expected to continue for several more months. Interim executive director of the chemical safety board said that the goal was to complete the investigation within 12 to 18 months from the accident.

Houston Chronicle

Five People Airlifted to Hospital After Series of Natural Gas Explosions in Midland

Five people have been airlifted to a Lubbock, Texas hospital with critical burn injuries after a series of natural gas pipelines exploded in Midland County, officials said. The cause of the explosion and fire was not immediately known.

Energy pipeline operations were interrupted in the area, which is home to the Permian Basin, and has many oil and gas pipelines intersecting each other.

Kinder Morgan said on Wednesday that it took precautions and isolated a part of its El Paso Natural Gas Pipeline (EPNG) after finding out that there was a fire near its line. One of its employees was taken to the hospital.

Kinder Morgan added that preliminary indications point to a third-party line failure occurring before the EPNG line failure.

After fire department personnel suppressed the initial fire, a second and third explosion followed an hour later. Another injured in the fire was a firefighter.

No further information was immediately available on the people injured.


Colonial Pipeline Sued for 2016 Explosion that Killed Two

Colonial Pipeline of Alpharetta, GA has been sued by the family of a man killed in a 2016 pipeline explosion and another man injured in the blast. The complaint was filed in Fulton County State Court on July 9th.

Two men died in the October 2016 explosion in Alabama with five more being injured.

The complaint claims that a project inspector for Colonial did not show up on the day of the explosion. The plaintiffs said that the inspector told a subordinate to go ahead with the excavation despite not having documentation concerning the pipeline provided to him.

A Colonial spokesman provided a statement to the Daily Report saying that the company “continues to extend its sympathy to the family of Mr. Whatley for their loss. Colonial has received the lawsuit and looks forward to addressing the issues raised. At this time, the company will have no further comment on the lawsuit.”

Colonial Pipeline’s 5,500-mile system carries more than 100 million gallons of refined fuel daily between Houston and New York City.

Lawyers for the co-defendant Superior Land Designs told reporters that they had been served and were reviewing the complaint.

The blast occurred on October 31st in Shelby County, Alabama.

Atlanta Business Chronicle