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.


33,000 Gallons Leaked Into Creek by Sunoco's 12-inch Pipeline, PHMSA Says

Sunoco’s 81-year-old pipeline, in which they plan to convert for natural gas liquids, leaked
33,000 gallons of gasoline into a creek near Philadelphia in June because of an unspecified pipe failure, according to new data from a federal agency.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration released a spreadsheet disclosing details of the investigation into the spill at Darby Creek near Philadelphia International Airport. The leak was first reported by a member of the public on June 19.

Data shows that 798 barrels, or 33,516 gallons, of gasoline were unintentionally released by the pipeline that runs from Point Breeze near Philadelphia to the Montello terminal at Sinking Spring near Reading, Bucks County.

A section of the 12-inch pipeline will be used temporarily as part of the new Mariner East 2 natural gas liquids pipeline until construction on delayed sections of the line is completed, Sunoco has said.

About two-thirds of the spill, or 509 barrels was recovered, leaving a total of 289 barrels or 12,138 gallons, according to PHMSA data. The pipeline had been shut down for routine maintenance the day before the leak was reported, and then restarted with a new section to replace the leaking pipe on July 1.

The report did not specify any environmental damage, however soil contamination is present and there will be a need for long-term remediation.

State Impact Pennsylvania

ETP Discovers Cause of July Gasoline Leak Near Philadelphia Creek

Energy Transfer Partners has discovered that a gasoline leak in Philadelphia last month was caused by its 12-inch pipeline in the area.

The June 22 leak happened in a nearby creek, and as a precaution, ETP shut down both 12-inch and eight-inch pipelines in the area that help carry refined products from refineries to New York Harbor and Western Pennsylvania. 

After originally not knowing the cause, ETP responded saying that it was still determining whether the leak came from its pipelines or not.

The eight-inch pipeline was reopened three days after the initial leak was reported, but the larger line remained shut as investigations continued.

ETP has replaced a section of the pipeline and returned the line to service, the company said on Tuesday.



ETP Shuts Two Philadelphia Pipes After Possible Gasoline Leak

Energy Transfer Partners said it is keeping two Philadelphia refined product pipelines shut down while it investigates discovered gasoline in a creek nearby.

The two pipes, one 8-inch and one 12-inch, help carry refined products from refineries to New York Harbor and Western Pennsylvania.

The shutdowns came as a result of a Friday precaution regarding discovered gasoline in a creek outside Philadelphia. ETP responded on Friday saying that it was still trying to determine whether the leak came from its pipelines.

The source of the leak has yet to be discovered, and ETP has not responded to requests for comments.


Energy Transfer Partners Offers to Relocate Families Affected by Sinkholes From Mariner East 2 Pipeline Construction

Pipeline developer Energy Transfer Partners said it would relocate five Philadelphia families affected by sinkholes in their backyards that formed last month during construction for the Mariner East 2 natural gas liquids pipeline.

After the sinkholes were reported, the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission ordered a temporary halt to Energy Transfer's Sunoco Mariner East 1 pipeline, which runs parallel to the Mariner East 2 that is currently under construction, while Energy Transfer and regulators assess the integrity of East 1.

The 87-year-old Mariner East 1 carries as much as 70,000 barrels of natural gas liquids daily across Pennsylvania to Marcus Hook.

The families have been offered relocation for up to six weeks as well as reimbursement for food while Energy Transfer conducts geotechnical studies in their backyards related to the sinkholes.

The $2.5 billion Mariner East 2 pipeline is designed to run for 350 miles spanning Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania and will carry propane, butane, and ethane from the Marcellus Shale formation to the Marcus Hook facility near Philadelphia for both domestic distribution and export.

NBC Philadelphia

Pennsylvania Judge Urges State Regulators to Reject Buckeye Partners Pipeline Reversal

Pennsylvania Administrative Law Judge Eranda Vero on Thursday urged the state's Public Utility Commission to reject Buckeye Partner's controversial request to reverse a section of its 350-mile product pipeline.

Buckeye Partners is looking to reverse a section of its Laurel Pipeline that currently moves westward from Philadelphia into Pittsburgh, a reversal that would offer Midwest refiners greater access to western Pennsylvania.

Although the Public Utility Commission has the final say in the decision, the judge's recommendation to reject the request could have a significant impact on the final ruling.

Judge Vero said Buckeye failed to prove that the pipeline was underutilized and that consumers would be uninjured, along with other conclusions.

Philadelphia refiners like Philadelphia Energy Solutions and a subsidiary of Delta Air Lines said the reversal would harm their business and lead to closures.

The reversal would help Midwest refiners move cheaper Canadian crude deeper into Pennsylvania.