Natural Gas Explosion in Portland Causes Several Injuries, Immense Damage to Property

Firefighters work to put out fire after a natural gas explosion occurred in Portland, Oregon, October 19, 2016. Photo: Don Ryan / AP

Firefighters work to put out fire after a natural gas explosion occurred in Portland, Oregon, October 19, 2016. Photo: Don Ryan / AP

A natural gas explosion on Wednesday in Portland, Oregon caused eight injuries and several evacuations after it erupted into fire on a popular street called “Trendy Third.”

The explosion caused immense damage to property, crumbling a building to ashes and blowing out windows of another nearby building.

Utility company NW Natural responded to calls at 8:55am on Wednesday morning about a subcontractor hitting one of its gas lines while digging.

Workers from NW Natural were onsite by 9:10am and were working to control the gas leak when an eruption occurred at 9:38am. The cause of the ignition is unknown.

The company was able to control the gas leak by 9:52am, according to the update on its website. NW Natural is currently coordinating with Portland Fire, PGE and City of Portland structural officials to turn service back on in the area as soon as possible.

“We want to assure our customers and the communities we serve that public safety is our absolute priority. We continually train our crews to be ready, and I’m proud of their rapid response,” said CEO David Anderson in a statement.

Source:
PennEnergy
NW Natural

Natural Gas Pipeline Leaks, Causes Rupture in Kansas

A natural gas leak caused a pipeline rupture in Lincoln County near Salina, Kansas on Thursday, blowing a 10-feet-wide hole in the affected field area. There was no fire, and no injuries occurred as a result of the rupture.

The Kansas Department of Transportation temporarily closed nearby highways for several hours after the rupture was reported at around 1:00pm on Thursday afternoon.

Northern Natural Gas was notified of the incident. The company shut off gas to the 24-inch, high-pressurized line, which took more than two hours to clear of natural gas.

The cause of explosion is unknown but is being investigated.

Source:
KWCH News
Sunflower State Radio

PG&E Found Guilty for Violating Pipeline Safety Regulations, Obstructing Investigators

Devestation in San Bruno, California caused by a gas pipeline explosion, 2010 By Brocken Inaglory - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11489206

Devestation in San Bruno, California caused by a gas pipeline explosion, 2010
By Brocken Inaglory - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11489206

A federal judge on Tuesday found Pacific Gas & Electric Company guilty of violating pipeline safety regulations prior to a 2010 natural gas pipeline explosion and then obstructing investigators about how the company was identifying its high-risk pipelines.

The jurors convicted PG&E of obstruction and 11 counts of pipeline safety violations, which included the failure to gather information to evaluate potential gas line threats and deliberately not classifying a gas line as high risk.

A judge could fine PG&E up to $3 million for the convictions once the company is sentenced. No individual has been charged, so no one is facing prison time.

PG&E pleaded not guilty and said its employees did the best they could with ambiguous regulations that were difficult to understand.

Prosecutors originally pursued a fine of $562 million from the company during deliberations but unexpectedly dropped the fine to a maximum of $6 million a few days ago, causing critics to believe prosecutors were not holding the company accountable.

Investigators have blamed the explosion that killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes in San Bruno, California to be a result of PG&E’s incomplete and inaccurate pipeline record-keeping.

Source:
PennEnergy

Spectra Expects to Spend Nearly $100 Million on Corrective Actions After Pipeline Blast

APRIL 29, 2016 NATURAL GAS EXPLOSION IN SALEM TOWNSHIP, PENNSYLVANIA -- PHOTO FROM ABC NEWS

APRIL 29, 2016 NATURAL GAS EXPLOSION IN SALEM TOWNSHIP, PENNSYLVANIA -- PHOTO FROM ABC NEWS

Spectra Energy expects to spend approximately $75 to $100 million to inspect and repair its natural gas pipeline system in Salem Township, Pennsylvania following a gas explosion back in April of this year.

A section of Spectra Energy’s Texas Eastern pipeline failed on April 29, 2016 and resulted in an explosion that left a 12-foot deep, 1500-square-foot hole and burned 40 acres of land. The incident also severely burned a man and disrupted natural gas service to the northeastern U.S.

Spectra’s Chief Financial Officer and Vice President John Patrick Reddy said the company is working closely with PHMSA to take corrective actions. He told investors that Spectra expects to have the line completely back to its required standards by November 1 in order to meet customer obligations for the winter season.

Earlier last month, PHMSA released an Amended Corrective Action Order to Spectra Energy requesting additional corrective actions regarding the Texas Eastern pipeline, saying that other lines in Salem Township potentially have been damaged or adversely affected by the explosion.

Source:
NPR - State Impact

Judge Cuts Proposed Fine Against PG&E for California Pipeline Blast

A judge has tremendously cut a $562 million fine against Pacific Gas & Electric Company in a criminal case alleging the company violated federal pipeline safety regulations prior to a disastrous natural gas explosion in California and then obstructed investigators.

With no explanation given, the U.S. District Court Judge Thelton Henderson issued the order on Tuesday. The prosecutors also offered no explanation as to why they decided to seek a much lower fine against the utility after more than a month of testimony and several days into jury deliberations.

Jurors are still deciding whether PG&E is guilty of multiple charges filed following the explosion in 2010 that killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes in San Bruno.

If found guilty, the utility faces a $6-million fine as opposed to $562 million for 11 counts of pipeline safety violations and obstructing investigators after the explosion.

Robert Weisberg, criminal law professor at Stanford University, suggested that prosecutors may be concerned that the jurors would think the original fine was too much money and too much of the jurors’ time to sit through a possible penalty phase, thus would side with the gas utility out of anger toward the prosecutors.

Brandon Garrett, a professor at the University of Virginia School of Law stated that the original fine against PG&E was meant to act as a deterrent and that the revised proposed fine was a “massive and unexplained discount” given by the prosecutors.

"Obviously, if a company does not have to pay a fine that is larger than its gains, then its crime becomes profitable," Garrett said.

Source:
ABC News

Pascagoula Natural Gas Plant May Restart by Year's End

A Pascagoula natural gas processing plant that was severely damaged in an explosion back in June could restart operations by the end of this year, stated CEO James Teague of Enterprise Products Partners to investors during a conference call.

“The investigation of the Chemical Safety Board is still underway and we are cooperating. At this time, our best estimate is the plant will return to operation in the fourth quarter,” said Teague.

Enterprise set aside $7 million for damage repair, but the vice president of investor relations Randy Burkhalter said that amount may increase as they are still developing what the cost will be to get the facility back up and running.

The Pascagoula processing plant extracts liquids from natural gas, sending the gas to users and the liquids to plants that make propane and butane. Due to the plant’s temporary shutdown, some oil and gas platforms in the Gulf of Mexico have limited production. Some natural gas is being diverted from the Destin Pipeline, which feeds the Pascagoula plant, to other connected pipelines. Gas is then being piped ashore for processing in Louisiana.

Investigations about the explosion that sent flames into the air for hours are still ongoing.

Enterprise now wholly owns the plant after purchasing BP’s 60 percent share earlier this year.

Source:
PennEnergy

PG&E to Face Jury After Deadly San Bruno Pipeline Explosion

Destruction after fire and explosion in San Bruno. By Brocken Inaglory, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16412750

Pacific Gas and Electric Company is scheduled to face a jury in a criminal trial after being accused for obstructing investigations just before the disastrous pipeline explosion in San Bruno, California. Opening statements are set to begin Thursday.

The September 2010 deadly explosion of a natural gas pipeline killed eight people and obliterated 38 homes. Prosecutors claim that after the explosion federal investigators were misled about how PG&E kept records of high-risk pipelines.

The company was indicted in 2014 for violating pipeline safety regulations and failing to identify and assess the San Bruno natural gas line as well as other similar pipelines as high-risk pipelines. Investigators blame the 2010 explosion on poor-record keeping based on incomplete and inaccurate pipeline information.

If PG&E is found guilty during trial, the company will face $562 million in fines. PG&E has pleaded not guilty, saying its employees did not intentionally violate pipeline safety laws or obstruct investigations.

Read more from the source:
PennEnergy

PG&E Fined $24.3 Million for Inaccurate Records on Natural Gas Pipelines

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) seeks $24.3 million from Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) for failure to maintain accurate records of its natural gas distribution system.

CPUC reported Wednesday that it previously fined PG&E $10.8 million for a natural gas explosion in 2014 that demolished a cottage in Carmel. This incident elicited an investigation into PG&E to study its record-keeping of its gas distribution system.

The investigation found that PG&E relied on false records of underground gas lines, which led to damaged pipelines during excavation, interrupted gas service, and ultimately the explosion in Carmel.

Read more from the source:
Fox 40 via The Associated Press