Category Archives: Transportation

Pipeline Petroleum Transport Investment May Predict Growing Cathodic Protection Needs

If Warren Buffet’s investment strategy is any indication, pipeline efficiency is going to start playing a bigger role in moving crude oil and natural gas in the United States.

The Berkshire Hathaway luminary is pipeline-efficiency-cathodic-protectionspearheading a swap of about $1.4 billion in shares of Phillips 66 for full ownership of the energy company’s pipeline petroleum transport services business. The business unit’s focus is polymer-based additives that are used to move crude oil and natural gas through pipelines more efficiently by reducing drag.

The shift in Berkshire’s investment strategy comes amid a boom in U.S. crude oil and natural gas production. Since many liquids pipelines in the United States are operating at capacity, producers can use the pipeline petroleum transport additive to quickly increase capacity without immediately growing pipeline infrastructure.

Although future pipeline projects may be in the works to meet the sharp increase in demand, the process of gaining approval for new pipeline projects can be slowed by permitting.

A greater reliance on existing pipelines for transporting liquids means that producers and pipeline owners need to pay even more attention to cathodic protection management, according to Kevin Groll, project management director for MATCOR, a Pennsylvania-based company that specializes in cathodic protection products and services.

“Any time you have pipeline you have to protect it from corrosion,” Groll said. “And that’s especially true when you increase the value of a pipeline by increasing its capacity. If that pipeline were to develop a corrosion problem you’d be facing a situation where your profitability could suffer significantly.”

“With pipeline owners using additives to push greater volumes of liquids it becomes imperative to use cathodic protection products such as impressed current anodes and cathodic protection rectifiers to protect the increased capacity and profitability of the pipeline infrastructure.”

Further Reading

Berkshire Swaps $1.4 Billion in Phillips 66 Stock in Deal,” Bloomberg, December 31, 2013.

U.S. grants funds for state pipeline inspections

The U.S. Department of Transportation said it awarded more than $46 million to state governments for oil and gas pipeline inspections.

Safety is our top priority and we’re committed to keeping communities safe and preventing pipelines incidents,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.  “These grants help make sure that happens by funding personnel and equipment to carry out inspections and enforce important intrastate pipeline safety regulations that keep the entire pipeline network as safe as possible.”

The grants provide up to 80 percent of operating costs for state pipeline regulators that agree to pipeline inspections  on intrastate pipelines on PHMSA’s behalf. Participating states and territories account for more than 300 inspectors who are responsible for over 90 percent of the country’s intrastate natural gas and hazardous liquid pipelines. More than 2.6 million miles of pipeline transport oil and gas to homes and businesses throughout the country.

“Pipeline Safety Base Grants are a great collaboration between State and Federal safety regulators,” said PHMSA Administrator Cynthia Quarterman. “These funds enable us to triple the number of pipeline inspections we have out in the field enforcing regulations, and a strong local presence is vital to effectively monitor pipelines and help protect the public from pipeline incidents.”

Final pipeline inspection grant amounts are awarded based on State expenses and annual performance scores.

The 2013 Natural Gas Pipeline State Base Grant recipients are:

• Alabama – $1,222,239
• Arizona – $1,346,317
• Arkansas – $579,74
• California – $3,811,560
• Colorado – $455,561
• Connecticut – $801,472
• Delaware – $87,460
• District of Columbia – $258,277
• Georgia – $1,569,097
• Idaho – $197,987
• Illinois – $2,156,965
• Indiana – $1,178,078
• Iowa – $877,513
• Kansas – $636,693
• Kentucky – $370,621
• Louisiana – $1,007,285
• Maine – $275,199
• Maryland – $436,419
• Massachusetts – $951,597
• Michigan – $982,881
• Minnesota – $1,463,227
• Mississippi – $437,910
• Missouri – $685,875
• Montana – $174,853
• Nebraska – $302,170
• Nevada – $622,543
• New Hampshire – $596,020
• New Jersey – $821,294
• New Mexico – $666,513
• New York – $2,962,152
• North Carolina – $501,308
• North Dakota – $145,294
• Ohio – $1,268,707
• Oklahoma – $1,109,069
• Oregon – $437,879
• Pennsylvania – $1,775,954
• Puerto Rico – $255,124
• Rhode Island – $97,628
• South Dakota – $283,725
• Tennessee – $550,933
• Texas – $3,672,454
• Utah – $315,199
• Vermont – $149,027
• Virginia – $1,529,562
• Washington – $1,655,315
• West Virginia – $482,452
• Wisconsin – $403,150
• Wyoming – $204,903

The 2013 Hazardous Liquid Pipeline State Base Grant recipients are:

• Alabama – $91,997
• Arizona – $70,859
• California – $1,462,235
• Indiana – $23,061
• Louisiana – $288,082
• Maryland – $19,001
• Minnesota – $386,897
• New Mexico – $41,014
• New York – $228,399
• Oklahoma – $310,812
• Texas – $548,757
• Virginia – $109,532
• Washington – $183,743
• West Virginia – $14,491


Pipeline Cathodic Protection News: New Spectra Natural Gas Pipeline Construction

Pipeline cathodic protection industry received a boost this week: proposed high-volume natural gas pipeline construction across 3 Southeastern states. Spectra, the company behind this jolt of economic opportunity, has dubbed it the “Renaissance Project”. The natural gas pipeline proposes several lines branching off the main pipeline to potential customers along the route.

The pipeline is a complex project and will require a number of business services such as pipeline cathodic protection. MATCOR’s pipeline protection program uses a number ISO 9001:2008-certified solutions to protect such a project. For example, MATCOR’s SPL™-FBR linear Anode and Durammo™ Deep Anode System would help lower total cost of ownership on the pipeline.

The proposed pipeline is almost 300 miles with three different pipeline diameters. The natural gas pipeline will feature two compressor stations to maintain line pressures, according to officials. It was stated the line will have a capacity of 1 billion cubic feet per day, and can be expanded to over 1.5 billion cubic feet per day.

Spectra plans for the pipeline to run from the Chattanooga, Tennessee area, through Alabama and towards the Atlanta, Georgia area. “We are continuing to work with multiple potential customers to design a project to fit their supply demand needs,” Grover said in a statement on the project.

Furthermore, Spectra executed letter of intent with the AGL, the parent company of Chattanooga Gas Co., and Atlanta Gas Light explore a joint arrangement for local distribution. Sources close to the matter state the “Renaissance Project” could be up and running by mid-2017.

“From a project kickoff standpoint, we continue to reach out to federal, state and local public officials informing them of the project,” she said. “We’ll send letters and start contacting landowners along our proposed study corridor pending further market feedback.” Grover stated Spectra the Renaissance Project study corridor map is in the final stages. Currently, the map highlights 15 counties across Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia.

Economic groups across these states laud the move as one that will stimulate the economy and bring jobs to the region. “It’s going to be a good project and the infrastructure for natural gas is such that, industry-wide, there’s a great demand for it,” one source familiar with the matter said. Experts familiar with the project say it is a crucial move to support industrial expansion and business growth in the region.


MATCOR’s Insight That Works

The Renaissance pipeline is indeed poetically named. The Southeastern region has recently seen improvements to its economic state and industrial competitiveness. However, key investments such as the natural gas pipeline and other infrastructure must be put in place to attract jobs, manufacturers and families into these committees. That said, the pipeline is a key cog to the continued rebirth of this region. MATCOR and other service providers will be stewards of this bright future, protecting valuable assets that power communities.


MATCOR is a leading provider of ISO 9001:2008-certified cathodic protection for pipelines and cathodic protection management. Our team maintains the highest quality standards of cathodic protection for systems for storage tanks and other products that let you focus on your business operations.

Natural Gas Transmission Pipelines & Safety: Major Washington Expansion

The Washington State natural gas transmission pipelines and safety landscape received a big announcement this week. Multiple sections of pipeline in Washington will be expanded, according to federal filings by Northwest Williams Pipeline.

The current gas transmission pipelines are 30 inches. The proposed expansion will place 36 inch pipeline next to the old 30 inch pipeline. The construction, expected in early 2017, will also create continuity between existing 36 inch pipeline. The pipeline expansion is a perquisite for a new liquefied natural gas (LNG) export station in Astoria. The project will encompass a wide range of work, including natural gas pipeline safety and protection.

In total, the pipeline project will span 140 miles from the Oregon state and Canadian national borders. The Oregon Pipeline Company will connect the southern expansion into Oregon through an installation underground the Columbia River. The finished product is LNG that will be shipped to Asia from the Astoria natural gas terminal.

Northwest Williams Pipeline estimates the project cost at $870 million. Upon completion, the pipeline will be made available to other customers in the Northwest, including Washington and Oregon. The company also stated it expects the pipeline to generate over $10 million in property taxes, per year across Washington.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) received the application request in June. FERC officials have announced the plan will be reviewed in tandem with the Oregon LNG pipeline plans.


MATCOR’s Insight That Works

The proposed pipeline expansion holds a great deal of promise for all involved. The Astoria LNG terminal is poised to service rapidly expanding markets in Asia.  Northwest Williams Pipeline will help bring a great deal of economic benefit to Washington. At the same time, the project is highly complex by joining multiple existing pipeline sections. Natural gas pipeline safety and pipe protection are large concerns. The company is making a large investment that will require expert cathodic protection to secure continued profit. Technology such as linear SPL anodes could make a huge impact for Northwest Williams Pipeline.


MATCOR is a leading provider of ISO 9001:2008-certified cathodic protection management. Our cathodic protection installation team offers turnkey project management for many corrosion engineering services, including AC Mitigation. MATCOR’s cathodic protection equipment is backed by an unmatched 10 year guarantee.

Natural gas pipeline planned east of Calhan, CO

A planned 435-mile pipeline that will carry natural gas liquids from northern Colorado to Texas will cut through eastern El Paso County.

Construction of the pipeline, which will cross underneath Highway 24 about five miles east of Calhan, is expected to begin in the second quarter of next year and be completed by the end of 2013. The gas line will originate near Greeley and end close to Skellytown, Texas, near Amarillo. From there, the various natural gas liquids will be separated and used to supply homes and businesses with propane and other products, or sent overseas.

Natural gas liquids are byproducts of natural gas when split into separate products.

Byproducts include ethane, butane propane and natural gasoline, said Rick Rainey, vice president of public relations for Houston-based Enterprise Products Partners. He said a large portion of the natural gas liquids transported through the pipeline will come from around Denver International Airport.

The pipeline is being constructed by Front Range Pipeline, a company owned by Enterprise Products, Anadarko Petroleum and DCP Midstream. Each owns a third of the pipeline, Rainey said.

The pipeline will run through right-of-ways purchased from private landowners or the federal Bureau of Land Management, Rainey said. The company has contacted all of the affected property owners from Colorado to Texas and has contracted with about two-thirds of them, he said. Rainey did not know how many Colorado property owners had signed contracts.

Building the pipeline could create more than 2,000 jobs from Colorado to Texas during the construction period, Rainey said. He did not know how many of those jobs would be in the Colorado Springs area because Front Range has not completed contracting with construction companies.

The pipeline’s construction also will add dollars to the local economy through the contracting of local suppliers, hotels, restaurant, vehicle repairs and fuel purchases, Rainey said. Once the pipeline is finished, Front Range must pay property taxes to El Paso and other counties.

The 12-to-16-inch pipeline is expected to transport 150,000 barrels of natural gas liquids a day initially  and can be expanded to 230,000 barrels per day. Some of the liquids could be shipped overseas after reaching Texas.

“The U.S. is a global competitor in the propane market,” Rainey said, “and the supplies for propane exist in good portions in Colorado, so there is that need to get it to the Gulf Coast.”

Front Range hopes to build the majority of the pipeline, which will be buried, parallel to existing transportation routes and not in “undisturbed areas of wilderness,” Rainey said. He declined to state the project’s cost.

Read more:

Plains All American to buy terminals for $500M

HOUSTON (AP) — Plains All American Pipeline LP said Wednesday that it will buy rail terminals used to store and transfer crude oil for $500 million to help it prepare for increased U.S. oil production.

Plains operates oil pipelines across the country. By owning the terminals, it will also give the company more control over the oil it moves and allow it to avoid paying storage costs at rented terminals.

The Houston company is buying the terminals from U.S. Development Group, a privately held company that owns crude oil, petrochemical and ethanol terminal and storage centers across the U.S. and Canada.

The deal includes three terminals in the oil country of Texas, Colorado and North Dakota, one rail unloading terminal in Louisiana and another unloading terminal that’s being built near Bakersfield, Calif. Crude oil loading capacity from these terminals is expected to total about 250,000 barrels per day.

The Plains deal comes as U.S. oil production grows. Monthly crude production reached its highest level since 1998 in September, said the Energy Information Administration on Tuesday. Production is growing the fastest in Texas and North Dakota, where two of the acquired terminals are located.

The United States could overtake Saudi Arabia as the world’s biggest producer of crude oil by 2020, driven by high prices and new drilling methods, the International Energy Association said last month.

Read more:

Cost of Corrosion Increase – Forth Road Bridge

Significant inaccuracies in the as-built drawings for the Forth Road Bridge’s cable anchorages are to dramatically increase the cost of corrosion investigations, the “New Civil Engineer” publication learned this week.

Examination of the bridge’s southern anchorages – which hold the huge suspension cables in place – is taking much longer than anticipated because they are deeper and steeper than the on the original as-built drawings.

The Forth Estuary Transport Authority (Feta) is investigating the condition of the 48 year old anchorages after a resident engineer’s report raised concerns about the possibility of corrosion in the post tensioned strands within them.

In a capital update report to the bridge authority, Forth Road Bridge chief engineer and bridgemaster Barry Colford says the cost of the inspection is likely to be “significantly higher than the original estimate” of £3.5M.

“It’s a very resource driven contract,” Colford told NCE. “As the rockhead level was higher and there more was concrete [than anticipated] the contractor has had to spend more money.”


The anchorages are four concrete filled tunnels – 80m deep on the south side, 57m deep on the north side – and up to 14m in diameter.

The anchorages each transfer a load of 14,000t from the main suspensions cables into the bedrock.

Each anchorage consists of 114 ducts with four post-tensioned, galvanised, 32mm diameter high tensile steel strands made up of 19 wires in each.

With the original access chamber to the bottom of all four anchorages filled in, the only way to assess the condition of the strands is to dig down and open them up, said Colford.

Contractor Graham began the anchorage investigation on the southern bank in August 2011 under a New Engineering Contract (NEC) 3 Option C target cost contract with a target cost of £3.5M.

But after investigations began, engineers discovered that the ducts were 400mm deeper and were at an angle of 33˚, not 30˚ as recorded on the as-built drawings.

“It’s a significant change to what we expected and it is very disappointing the as-built drawings of a major structure were not correct,” added Colford.

Graham will begin exposing up to nine stands on each of the southern anchorages by the end of the year. Consultant Fairhurst will assess the strength of the anchorages by the end of 2013.

Colford is in discussions with Graham about the size of the compensation event – the cost of work unforeseen at tender stage – and £220,000 has already been agreed.

The extra funds for the anchorage investigation are contributing to an overall deficit of £3.5M in Feta’s capital budget for 2012/13.

Its capital funding was cut by 58% by Transport Scotland last year.

Colford said budget shortfall would be met by using some of Feta’s £5.8M reserve, as well as delaying or cancelling “non-committed” schemes on the bridge.

He was also seeking additional funds from Transport Scotland.


Tobin Bridge rates ‘fair’ in corrosion reports

State-issued inspection reports released on Friday in the wake of a corroded light fixture tumbling onto a ramp of the Maurice J. Tobin Memorial Bridge show that the 62-year-old structure is in “fair” condition with some “severe” structural deficiencies.

The structure of the bridge, which is currently undergoing a $45 million repainting and rehabilitation, was downgraded from a rating of 6, or “satisfactory”condition, in a 2009 state Department of Transportation inspection report to a 5, or “fair” condition, in its most recent 2011 report.

“We base our inspections on the overall rating of the bridge. While some elements of the structure are showing greater signs of wear … the structure as a whole is sound,” said MassDOT spokeswoman Cyndi Roy. “If the rating were to decrease to a 4 (or poor) we would then begin annual inspections of the bridge, versus the current schedule of every two years — the national standard.”

The area where the bridge deteriorated the most from 2009 and 2011 was in its girders and beams, now rated as having “severe/major deficiency.” Deteriorated and cracked concrete parts of the bridge’s substructure columns also were given the same “severe” rating in both the 2009 and 2011 reports.

“It’s not totally unacceptable to have some level of corrosion, especially given the bridge’s location right on the harbor, where the mist and salt lend to creating some corrosion,” Roy added.

The DOT released the bridge reports after holding a press conference to announce that crews overnight Thursday removed seven spotlights from the bridge after one of the lights — there are total of 18 on the bridge — broke free from a bracket under the Tobin’s upper deck and came crashing down onto an approach ramp to Route 1 in Charlestown.


Caissons a solid sign of progress on new Forth bridge

The new Forth crossing will be fitted with dehumidification equipment to cut the risk of the corrosion which has blighted the existing bridge.

At a briefing on the progress of the £1.4 billion project being built by the Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors, Transport Scotland project director David Climie said work was on schedule.

”We are still exactly where we want to be, on time and budget,” he said.

Only three months ago there were 384 people working from the Rosyth base but now that number has more than doubled, with 800 staff working on various parts of the site. At its peak 1,200 staff will be employed.

One of the most important milestones of the entire project has just been reached — the arrival of the first two caissons which will form the foundations of the north and south towers.

In a ”foundation” year for the project, Mr Climie said: ”We are extremely happy with the way things are progressing.”

Carlo Germani, the FCBC project director, said: ”We are into the real construction work now. We have done a lot of the preparation and what you see is work on the bridge itself starting with the arrival of the caissons.”

These are the huge cylinders ranging in height from 21.1m to 30m — around the same as an eight-storey building — with diameters of around 32m.

The largest weighs roughly 1,200 tonnes, making it one of the largest steel caissons ever sunk down to the seabed.

They will be used as moulds for the foundations, comprising underwater and reinforced structural concrete. More caissons are due to arrive in a few days.

FCBC’s Carson Carney explained the process of building the central tower, which will be constructed on site in 4m high increments, would start this year.

The deck sections are being built in China and Spain and will be shipped over and stored at Rosyth.

With corrosion affecting the existing bridge, Mr Carney explained the crossing’s cables are made up of strands containing galvanised steel wires, with a wax coating and covered in plastic.

”There is no way you can get water into the actual strands themselves. This is a state-of-the-art type system.”

Each strand is capable of being individually replaced if necessary without causing widespread disruption to traffic.

There is a dehumidification system at deck level and on the anchorage points.


Road cave-in caused by corrosion in slab

MUMBAI: The Andheri (E) road cave-in on Tuesday was caused by corrosion of steel in a slab, it has been revealed prima facie.

Consultant D S Joshi, who made the submission to the BMC, told TOI that material from the site had been sent for laboratory tests to ascertain the reasons for the corrosion. “I would be able to give the exact reasons once the report is available. It would take about a week,” he added.

Meanwhile, the BMC on Wednesday decided to conduct an audit of all concrete slabs over nullahs across the city.

The 30-ft road in Gundavali village has two lanes on either side of a 20-ft-wide nullah. The road was built by laying slabs atop portions of the nullah in 1985.

N V Merani, chairman of the Standing Technical Advisory Committee (STAC), said the nullah’s water could have eroded the earth below the slabs. “The other possible reasons could be lack of maintainance or poor quality,” he said, adding that laboratory results could only shed light on the extent of loss of strength due to corrosion and not the reasons behind the same.

“This can be found out only through close inspection of the corroded section by an experienced engineer,” he said.

Two weeks ago, the STAC had raised the issue of old civic bridges with the BMC. There are 253 bridges in the city; of these, 102 are over waterways, 17 are flyovers, 41 road overbridges, 93 foot over-bridges and subways.

“We did a study of 34 old bridges three years ago. By now, they should have been repaired or reconstructed. But nothing has moved,” said Merani.

The STAC had recommended that a separate chief engineer be appointed to exclusively monitor bridges and concrete roads. The BMC has created a post not filled it up. “The MMRDA is constructing flyovers and roads and handing them over to the BMC. The corporation needs to appoint a person to that post. We have even suggested that if they cannot promote an engineer, they can get someone on deputation. But decisions in the BMC are ad-hoc,” he said.