Environmental Impact Report Required by MEPA for Tennessee Gas Pipeline Project

Tennessee Gas Pipeline must prepare an Environmental Impact Report for its natural gas expansion project in Agawam and Longmeadow, the Baker admiration has ruled.

Tennessee, a Kinder Morgan subsidiary, would like to increase its compressor station as well as build a new 12-inch two-mile pipeline loop in Agawam. It would also like to construct a “West Longmeadow Meter Station,” which is a delivery gate that would feed a new Columbia Gas pipeline backbone to Spring field.

A signed certificate on Aug. 17 under the Massachusetts Environmental Protection Act requires better information regarding pollution, rare species and wetlands, and other construction and climate related protocols.

The Agawam project would alter 25 new acres and affect many of the elements discussed by the signed certificate. It would also have certain air quality and climate impacts that the state has not adequately described yet.

Mass Live

Report States that Enbridge Line 5 Pipeline Crosses 74 Sensitive Waterways in Michigan

Enbridge stated in a report submitted Friday that its Line 5 oil pipeline crosses 400 different locations of Michigan waterways, with 74 of them being particularly sensitive to leaks that could be especially damaging.

According to the report, these 74 locations are designated as "prioritized," which means they are particularly vulnerable should a spill occur in these areas.

Enbridge reported that it found a "high level of safety" in these high-priority areas, but the company also said further study is planned.

Environmental groups want the pipeline decommissioned, despite the reports, involving measures that would reduce Line 5 leak risks and improve detection capabilities.

Enbridge's Line 5 oil pipeline carries light crude oil and natural gas liquids for 645 miles from Wisconsin to Ontario.

Houston Chronicle

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Files Report, Says Dakota Access Pipeline Unsafe

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has filed a report to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers arguing that the pipeline technology used by Energy Transfer Partners for the Dakota Access Pipeline cannot detect large, dangerous leaks.

The 313-page report argues that the current remote-detection technology being used to monitor the pipeline cannot detect leaks that are less than two percent of the full pipeline flow rate. At an assumed full rate of 600,000 barrels of oil per day, a possible undetected leak could amount to as much as 12,000 barrels of oil per day, according to the report.

Although the 1,170-mile Dakota Access Pipeline has been in operation since June of last year, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's fight against the project has not ended since it began protesting the line in 2016.

The tribe wrote in its report that the worst-case scenarios envisioned by Energy Transfer Partners still do not cover the possibilities of things like human error or equipment malfunction.

It is unlikely that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will revoke permits for the Dakota Access Pipeline, but the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe could use its report to sue the government.


PHMSA Says Keystone Leak Likely Caused by Construction Damage in 2008

PHMSA issued a report Tuesday saying a recent Keystone oil pipeline leak was likely caused by damage during construction in 2008.

TransCanada's Keystone oil pipeline leaked 210,000 gallons of oil in South Dakota in mid November, and PHMSA officials are investigating the faulty section of the pipe. In a corrective action report, PHMSA wrote that a weight installed on the pipeline during construction in 2008 may have damaged the pipeline and coating.

Weights are sometimes placed on pipelines in areas where water could result in buoyancy concerns, according to PHMSA's report.

TransCanada has been working on the cleanup process at the spill site in Amherst, South Dakota. The state said it does not believe oil from the leak polluted any surface water bodies or drinking water systems.

TransCanada restarted the Keystone oil pipeline on Tuesday at reduced pressure.


Final Report Analyzes Alternatives for Enbridge Line 5, Suggests Current Route is Safe

The final version of an independent analysis assessing the future of Enbridge's Line 5 twin pipelines beneath the Straits of Mackinac suggests that the lines are safe to remain in operation.

The analysis was commissioned by the state of Michigan and conducted by consulting firm Dynamic Risk of Calgary, Alberta. The analysis suggests six options for the future of Enbridge's Line 5 that carries 23 million gallons of oil and liquid natural gas daily between Superior, Wisconsin and Sarnia, Ontario.

A section of the pipeline includes a five-mile segment beneath the Straits of Mackinac where it divides into two pipelines. This section has been contested by Native American tribes, environmental groups, and others who say it poses a high risk to the waterway.

The 379-page analysis suggests alternative options to the pipeline route, like shutting it down entirely and transporting oil through other pipeline networks, building tunnels beneath the straits, or moving the oil by rail or barge.

The report does not endorse a specific action but says the underwater pipes are sound and that prospects of failure due to corrosion are small.

Public comment on the report will be accepted by state agencies for 30 days.

Houston Chronicle

Government Report: PHMSA Fails to Explain How it Assesses Risk, Prioritizes Pipeline Inspections

A recent report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office says it is unclear whether PHMSA is properly prioritizing safety inspections on the country's pipeline network of natural gas and hazardous liquids pipelines.

To assess risk of pipeline segments, PHMSA relies on data from pipeline operators and plugs that data into its Risk Ranking Index Model (RRIM). The model then produces a score each year ranking them as high, medium, or low risk, which then prompts inspections every three, five, or seven years respectively.

PHMSA is made up of a staff of about 200 people, and the agency oversees more than 2.7 million miles of pipeline, requiring the agency to pick and choose where it sends inspectors, according to the report.

The Government Accountability Office said PHMSA was unable to document or explain the rationale behind the RRIM and its inspection intervals of three, five, and seven years.

According to the report, PHMSA's situation is inconsistent with federal management principles as the agency does not use data to track the effectiveness of its RRIM.

The report also says that it is not clear how effectively the RRIM has helped PHMSA manage its inspection resources or maximize safety benefits to the public since the agency has not documented the rationale behind the design and decisions of the RRIM.

The Government Accountability Office wrote two recommendations for PHMSA: that the agency document its inspection decisions and assumptions underlying its RRIM and use data to track the model's effectiveness. PHMSA concurred with both recommendations.

Pennsylvania State Impact

Market Research Engine: Leak Detection Market for Oil, Gas Worth $3.38 Billion by 2022

A report released by Market Research Engine predicts that the leak detection market for oil and gas will be worth more than $3.38 billion by 2022.

The 150-page report, titled "Leak Detection Market for Oil & Gas By Oil and Condensate, Technology Analysis (Acoustic/Ultrasonic, E-RTTM, Fiber-Optic, Vapor Sensing, Mass/Volume Balance); By Natural Gas, Technology Analysis (Acoustic/Ultrasonic, Statistical and Real-Time Monitoring, Cable Based, Flow Monitoring, Laser Absorption and LIDAR, Vapor Sensing, Thermal Imaging) and By Regional Analysis – Global Forecast by 2016 - 2022," was released last month and discusses the major driving and restraining factors of the growing leak market for oil and gas.

The report discusses that the growing interest for fuel worldwide is causing a rise in the pipeline industry, and fast development in pipeline is increasing the dangers of pipeline spills.

The report then lists major driving factors of the leak detection market, such as strict government regulations relating to leak detection systems. Restraining factors also listed include the burden of costs to build innovative and technologically advanced detection systems.

Market Research Engine also discusses the current market on leak detection for the oil and gas industry and identifies the demand for new products and applications to keep up with the recent pipeline upturn.

Finances Wire

U.S. Northeast Needs More NatGas Pipelines to Relieve Highest Electricity Rates, Report Says

If more natural gas pipelines are not built to serve the U.S. Northeast, the region will continue to pay the nation's highest electricity rates with no relief in sight, according to a report released by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for 21st Century Energy on Monday.

Arduous legal challenges and political opposition are blocking pipeline projects in the Northeast that could help increase capacity to the region from shale formations in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, and elsewhere, according to the report.

Blocking pipeline construction to serve the Northeast is also costing the region more than 78,000 jobs generating $4.4 million in salaries, the report said.

As more producers focus on natural gas versus crude due to cheaper prices and cleaner emission, the Northeast "will find themselves increasingly starved of the energy needed to power the economy," said Institute President Karen A. Harbert.

Some pipeline projects that intended to serve the Northeast but were clobbered by pipeline opponents include the Constitution Pipeline and the Access Northeast pipeline.

Oil & Gas Journal


Report: Pipeline Incidents in 2016 Fell 10 Percent from Previous Year

The number of crude oil and petroleum pipeline accidents in the U.S. fell 10 percent in 2016 from the previous year according to a report put forth on Monday by the American Petroleum Institute and Association of Oil Pipe Lines.

The groups' combined 2017-19 Pipeline Safety Excellence Strategic Plan and 2016 Performance Report is aimed toward industry-wide improvement efforts, including advances in pipeline safety technology, better communicating with stakeholders and the public, strengthening emergency preparedness and response planning, and adopting holistic pipeline safety management practices.

In their report, the groups wrote that pipeline operators will identify emerging trends based on their annual performance and data associated with the industry-wide improvement efforts to focus their attention on areas where they will have the most impact on safety.

Through the three-year plan, a strategic planning team will review the plan each year and adjust it where needed to maintain direction and provide a way to track and measure performance, they said.

Performance measures will be fully implemented in 2018, according to the report.

Oil & Gas Journal

OPEC Remains Committed to Production Cuts, Expects Resistance from American Producers

Oil prices remain above $50 a barrel as reports show that OPEC is continuing to slash oil production as a way to help recover the global oil glut.

In March, OPEC producers accumulatively shed 153,000 barrels a day from the market. Since December, the cartel has cut output by 1.1 million barrels a day according to its monthly report released Wednesday.

Although production cut commitments remain intact from OPEC, the group predicts rising resistance from American shale producers and other non-OPEC countries.

Oil producers are still outputting 430,000 barrels a day more than the global market could absorb in the first quarter, according to OPEC's report.

Fuel Fix

Report: Technology Could Unlock $300 Billion in Annual Savings for Oil, Gas Sectors by 2035

New research from the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) shows that technology has the power to boost productivity across oil and gas sectors, potentially unlocking approximately $300 billion in annual savings for producers by 2035.

Data analytics, robotics, and other technologies will increase access to resources and reduce costs that are associated with acquiring those resources, according to MGI.

Technology can place wells in areas that are currently out of reach for humans; it can increase the safety and efficiency of accessing currently out-of-reach resources. Further, tech deployment can help producers shift from reactive maintenance to predictive maintenance, which is must less costly.

As producers recover from a downturn, technology is helping to drive the recovery, according to the MGI report. Adopting technological shifts is a must for producers to thrive in the sector, and that adaption must happen quickly in order to boost productivity while looking for new growth opportunities.

As a way to increase safety in the oil and gas sectors, robotics can be used to automate activities that are high risk for humans and can decrease variability that occurs during these activities. For example, drones and other robotics can be used to conduct pipeline inspections, such as on pipelines that are under water.

MGI is a global management consulting firm that conducts qualitative and quantitative analysis to evaluate management decisions for public and private sectors, including businesses, government, and not-for-profit organizations.


NEB Report Shows Lack of Canada Pipeline Infrastructure

An annual report conducted by the National Energy Board said Canada’s oil market lacks the pipeline infrastructure needed to keep up with the country’s pace of production, causing Canada to be highly dependent on rail transportation of oil.

Canada, the world’s fourth largest oil and natural gas liquid producer last year, has faced several obstacles in efforts to increase pipeline infrastructure to help move growing product supply to markets, including Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline last year and the Canadian prime minister’s aim to make the country greener.

"Despite [market] price declines, Canadian oil and natural gas production increased in 2015, as did supply in the United States," the NEB report said. "These and other market factors continue to present opportunities and challenges for Canadian energy pipeline systems."

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, although reserved about adding pipeline infrastructure into Canada, is challenged with balancing a promise to preserve the environment and to move forward the energy economy. He has several energy projects to review, including deciding on Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion by the end of this year.

United Press International

EIA Reports Carbon Emissions from Power Sector at Lowest in 25 Years

According to a Wednesday report by the Energy Information Administration, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions decreased through the first half of this year to their lowest level since 1991.

Factors affecting the 25-year low comes from the country’s continued shift away from coal to natural gas and the increase levels of wind and solar energy.

According to the EIA report, use of coal-burning electricity fell 18 percent from early 2015 to early 2016, and natural gas decreased by one percent. Renewables, such as wind, solar, and hydroelectric dams, increased by nine percent.

Despite decreases in emissions from the country’s power sector, greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector, such as from cars and trucks, increased by two percent from 2012 to 2014, which are the most recent years that data is available.

Fuel Fix

Oklahoma Corporation Commission Reports Several Failures Prior to Gas Explosion

Oklahoma Corporation Commission reported Wednesday that Oklahoma Natural Gas failed to investigate the cause of at least eight previous failures on a gas main in an Oklahoma City neighborhood before a gas explosion in January damaged 50 houses and injured one man.

According to the report, the technician did not properly investigate an odor complaint made approximately 12 hours before the explosion occurred on January 2, 2016.

The commission reported earlier this year that the explosion was caused by poor workmanship on the line that was installed in 1983.

Spokesman for the commission Matt Skinner said actions following the violations could include a court case or fines.

Oklahoma Natural Gas is currently reviewing previous testing and maintenance made throughout its entire system and expects to finish by the end of the year.

Houston Chronicle
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