In January 2014, above ground storage tanks (ASTs) containing the chemical 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol (MCHM) was released into Elk River in West Virginia. The leaks, which cursory reports believe to be the likely the result of corrosion, could have been avoided by implementing proper cathodic protection systems.
The facility, operated by Freedom Industries, containing the chemical was located in Charleston, West Virginia. Recently, federal investigators discovered that the spill might have originated from more than one tank and could account for up to 10,000 gallons of MCHM.
This catastrophe, which left the 300,000 residents across nine West Virginia counties without potable water, could have been avoided by taking proper precautions.
The spill is currently being attributed to corrosion in the above ground storage tanks that held the MCHM. Corrosion is a serious and persistent concern for ASTs, which must withstand the elements.
“Above ground storage tanks pose a specific set of problems when it comes to corrosion prevention. The evidence collected by several federal agencies suggests that this hazardous leak was the result of a tank bottom leak,” said Ted Huck, vice president, international sales and practice lead – plants and facilities at MATCOR. “The leak was caused by the corrosion of the tank bottom due to contact of the external tank plate with the soil.
“The resulting soil-side hole could have been prevented by MATCOR’s patented cathodic protection systems. While cathodic protection systems are commonly used in oil and gas storage tanks, they are not mandated and there are tanks across the country that do not have cathodic protection systems installed to protect tank bottoms from leaking.”
Cathodic protection systems are critical for preventing corrosion in ASTs.
Cathodic Protection Systems
The soil-side hole that resulted in the released chemical is a common problem among ASTs. MATOR has developed a reliable protection system for ASTs which uses our unique SPL-Anode system and patented Kynex® technology.
It’s no secret that the Marcellus and Utica Shale formations are generating huge economic boons for the states in which they reside. Even as exploration and production increase in both Pennsylvania and Ohio, future projections show that the estimated ultimate recovery (EUR) for the region will outpace recent expansions.
A new study by ICF International projects that between the Marcellus and Utica Shale, natural gas production will expand to 34 billion cubic feet (Bcf) per day by 2035. This is a 36% growth from the 2014 estimations of 25 Bcf.
Since 2009, the production levels in both the Utica and Marcellus Shale have increased at an exponential rate. These natural gas reserves are vital to the future of American energy independence. These formations, along with the Bakken formation in North Dakota, are driving America’s energy sector forward.
As scientists research the full potential of the formations, technological improvements are drastically changing our ability to recover their stored energy. This increased efficiency is a major factor that is driving up the estimated ultimate recovery (EUR) per well.
“The Utica and Marcellus Shale represent some of the most exciting areas of national growth over the next 20 years,” said Glenn Shreffler, executive vice president of engineering at MATCOR. “As production levels grow rapidly, it’s important to plan for the future and build the infrastructure to accommodate the increased capacity.”
“In both regions, as well as the Bakken Formation, corrosion engineering is an important element in public safety and for the protection of significant capital investments. MATCOR’s custom-designed cathodic protection systems ensure that infrastructure is designed to last. We encourage manufacturers in the Marcellus and Utica Shale to build with the future in mind.”
Utica Shale Facts
• The Utica Shale is estimated to be nearly twice as large as it’s more famous neighbor, the Marcellus Shale. • Through 2015, Ohio is expected to create over 200,000 jobs and add $22 billion to the economy as a result of the Utica Shale. • The Utica Shale supports 5,000 jobs directly, and almost 13,000 indirectly in the state of Ohio.
Marcellus Shale Facts
• The Marcellus Shale contains an estimated 84 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Some geologists theorize that it could hold up to 500 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, which would make it the second largest field in the world. • The Marcellus natural gas developments contributed $1.1 billion in tax revenue for Pennsylvania in 2010. • Drilling in the Marcellus Formation has only affected .5% of the land mass in Pennsylvania – just 15,400 acres.
MATCOR, established in 1975, is one of the most experienced providers of corrosion technology. Our engineering and cathodic protection solutions are best in class. Call 800-523-6692 to contact us today.
The Marcellus Shale, an enormous natural gas reserve in Appalachia, is dramatically altering the traditional landscape of America’s natural gas industry.
Stretching across almost 100,000 square miles, the Marcellus Shale is the largest natural gas supply in the U.S. and second in the world. The depth and width of the Marcellus Formation vary, but studies indicate the shale’s deepest and thickest points are located in northeastern Pennsylvania, making it a prime area for drilling.
Estimates of the amount of recoverable natural gas in the reserve have varied over the years. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the Marcellus Shale produced 3.9 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of recoverable natural gas in 2013– accounting for 18% of the country’s natural gas. In August 2011, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) estimated the Marcellus shale will ultimately generate a total of 84 TcF of technically recoverable natural gas, a massive jump from its 2002 prediction of two trillion cubic feet.
Pipelines Under Pressure
As the Marcellus Shale’s natural gas production increases, so does the need for an efficient, modern, sophisticated pipeline system to transport the natural gas to various regions around the country. In 2012, Marcellus’ booming natural gas output caused pipelines to bottleneck. Such high load conditions inflict stress on pipelines essential to the country’s natural gas delivery system.
The following year, pipeline constraints were a major contributing factor to exorbitant natural gas prices in the Northeast region. The rest of the country was not exposed to the increased costs due to adequate pipelines with few constraints.
Spectra Energy’s Texas Eastern Appalachia to Market Expansion 2014 (TEAM 2014) Project will add approximately 33.6 miles of 36 inch diameter pipeline loop to the existing Texas Eastern Transmission, increasing the existing system’s capacity by approximately 600 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d). Once complete, the Texas Eastern system will deliver natural gas from Appalachia to the Northeast, Southeast, Midwest and Gulf Coast regions. The technologically advanced TEAM 2014 Project will be optimized for bidirectional flow.
Williams’ Constitutional Pipeline
The Constitution Pipeline is expected to measure 124 miles and have a diameter of 30 inches. The pipeline will transport natural gas from the Marcellus shale in northern Pennsylvania to areas in the northeastern U.S. It will have the capacity to transport 650 MMcf/d, fulfilling the daily needs of 3 million homes. The Constitution will be an “open access pipeline,” allowing local municipalities and public utility services to access the line.
Iroquois Pipeline’s Wright Interconnect Project
Iroquois’ Wright Interconnect Project (WIP) will work in tandem with the Constitutional Pipeline. Unlike the other projects approved by FERC, WIP is not a pipeline. It will update and expand Iroquois’ current compression facilities located in Wright, New York. The terminal will connect the Constitution to the Iroquois and Tennessee Gas Pipelines, facilitating the delivery of natural gas extracted from the Marcellus Play to New York and New England.
The Importance of Cathodic Protection
While the Marcellus Formation continues to produce high levels of natural gas, it is imperative that the operators for newly approved pipeline projects, as well as existing pipelines, storage tanks, and associated facilities take appropriate steps to protect their assets. Corrosion of metal surfaces is one of the most common and dangerous threats to midstream infrastructures. Cathodic protection is the most effective method of protecting against corrosion.
According to John Rothermel, Vice President of Sales at MATCOR, the leading cathodic protection company with expertise in protecting oil and gas pipelines from corrosion, the companies behind the Marcellus pipeline projects can’t afford not to protect their assets. “As long as the Marcellus Shale continues to produce such unprecedented amounts of natural gas, the midstream infrastructure needed to get product to market will likely be running at full capacity, making it essential that these facilities operate reliably, efficiently and safely,” Rothermel said. “Designing and installing cathodic protection of pipelines into these projects helps to protect the significant investments being made, and helps to ensure these assets last well into the future.”
On Monday, August 19 NACE International – The Corrosion Society hosted Congressman Pete Olson for a tour of its training facilities and labs.
Corrosion control plays an important role in public and environmental safety and is a significant economic driver.
Corrosion control keeps energy moving and infrastructure functioning while providing long-term job opportunities in a growing professional field.
“We are honored to have host Congressman Olson at our headquarters,” said Bob Chalker, Executive Director of NACE International, The Corrosion Society. “Our members’ daily work to prevent corrosion has a tremendous impact on society and this visit is an opportunity to show Congressman Olson how corrosion control makes a difference to everything from pipelines to bridges to water mains and much more.”
During his tour, Rep. Olson saw NACE International’s training facility which includes a cathodic protection test field where students receive hands-on instruction of corrosion control techniques used for pipelines, storage tanks, and other structures.
During 2013 more than 13,000 students have already received NACE training in one of 26 courses offered by the organization. Many students have also received certifications from the NACE International Institute which elevates professional performance corrosion standards worldwide.
“Our organization is particularly supportive of the Congressman’s work in the energy and transportation sectors,” said Chalker. “Corrosion costs the U.S. as much as $452 billion annually, or approximately $1,500 per American citizen, and that cost can be reduced by as much as thirty percent using existing corrosion control technology. This is a topic we’ll be discussing with the Congressman and it’s a message we will continue to take to Capitol Hill.”
MATCOR is proud to be a Corporate Member of NACE International – The Corrosion Society. MATCOR maintains a staff of highly qualified field engineers, technicians and construction personnel who have participated in various NACE Cathodic Protection training programs. These experienced professionals are available to staff specific projects. Leading the team is a group of outstanding corrosion professionals who are practice leaders in their fields.
Natural Gas Company EQT said it will sell its Sunrise Pipeline Unit to EQT Midstream Partners LP for $507.5 million in cash, and $32.5 million of common and general partnership units.
EQT Midstream, controlled by EQT Corp, provides transportation and storage services to EQT, as well as to other companies.
Sunrise Pipeline LLC’s assets include a 41.5 mile pipeline between West Virginia and Pennsylvania, a compression station and an interconnect with the Texas Eastern pipeline in Greene County, OH.
As it adds more capacity to the compressor station, EQT Midstream has also signed an agreement with another producer for about a quarter of the capacity on the Sunrise system. That arrangement is scheduled to begin in December 2014 and when it does, EQT Midstream will pay another $110 million to EQT Corp.
Just over a year ago, EQT Corp. spun out EQT Midstream in a $262.5 million initial public offering. The rationale was to get more money for its exploration and production activities by selling off assets
Pipeline corrosion management and cathodic protection systems will be on the radar screen for Algonquin Gas Transmission. Due to rapid growth in natural gas demand, the major pipeline is proposing expansion and replacement in the Northeast. This pipeline activity will be followed closely with cathodic protection systems, specifically MMO linear anodes and additional asset protection.
The project spans across Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York. Specifically, a 9 mile stretch near Norwich will be replaced with a larger capacity pipeline. The current pipeline begins in the northern part of New London County and continues southeast to the Rhode Island border.
Algonquin Gas Transmission is also laying a new 2.4-mile section of pipeline to connect two sections near Montville, CT west of the Thames River.
The company is adding three pipeline sections throughout Connecticut. The new pipeline will connect existing lines across the state near Kensington, Oxford and Chaplin. This includes a brand new 9.1-mile stretch between Willimantic and Greeneville.
Documents for the project were submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in mid-June. FERC approved the filing on June 27. The approval is a step forward for Algonquin Gas Transmission. Upon approval, a FERC review of the project begins before the formal application is submitted. This process helps to proactively identify and correct any potential issues in the project.
The completed pipeline project allows Algonquin Gas Transmission to dramatically increase its service in the Northeast. A number of gas service companies will be affected. They include Yankee Gas, NSTAR Gas Co., Connecticut Natural Gas and Southern Connecticut Gas. The pipeline project references the new Comprehensive Energy Strategy advocated by Connecticut lawmakers. The strategy calls to expand Connecticut natural gas pipelines to accommodate almost half a million additional customers. The project impacts just fewer than 500 landowners. Algonquin has already reached out to the land owners, according to filed documents.
Algonquin anticipates conducting property field surveys in September 2013. The company will be hosting informational meetings throughout the summer for landowners.
Documents on the pipeline indicate dozens of federal, state and local officials have been contacted about the pipeline’s environmental impact and protection measures.
MATCOR’s Insight That Works
The Algonquin Gas Transmission pipeline is needed for Connecticut and the Northeastern region. The project is quite complex and requires expert coordination in all facets. Harsh weather conditions make Pipeline Corrosion a concern for this pipeline. Technology such as MATCOR’s SPL linear anodes will manage the Cathodic Protection needs for Algonquin Gas Transmission.
New interstate natural gas pipelines would run from Utica shale region through Akron area to Detroit, Ontario
A large interstate pipeline proposed for transporting natural gas from eastern Ohio’s Utica shale through Detroit and into southern Ontario would run under several communities in the Akron-Canton area.
The 250-mile interstate natural gas pipeline would cross Stark County and into the cities of Green and New Franklin in southern Summit County, then into Medina County. It would pass under Wadsworth and Guilford, Montville, Lafayette, York and Litchfield townships.
The pipeline’s eastern terminus would be in Ohio’s Utica shale area, although an exact location has not been disclosed.
Three companies — Detroit-based DTE Energy, Houston-based Spectra Energy Corp. and Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. — are advancing the project, called the Nexus Gas Transmission system. It carries a price tag of $1.2 billion to $1.5 billion.
The natural gas pipeline could be operating as early as November 2016, subject to market demand and regulatory approvals.
The pipeline largely would follow existing utility corridors and 50-foot-wide easements the development’s partnership has acquired. It would require the construction of compressor stations and other facilities along the route.
The project needs the approval of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission because it would be an interstate pipeline. That application has not been filed.
The project also would require wetlands approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources would be the primary agency responsible for the state’s review.
The new interstate pipeline might be 36 inches in diameter or larger. It would be capable of transporting at least 1 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day — enough to heat about 13,500 houses.
The pipeline would connect with other pipelines in northern Ohio, southern Michigan and Ontario. That includes a connection to the 42-inch Vector Pipeline that runs from Joliet, Ill., into Michigan and Ontario and has available capacity.
That pipeline is a joint project Enbridge and DTE Energy operate.
The new pipeline also could supply large users of natural gas along its route.
MATCOR’s Insight That Works
The pipeline is needed, in part, because it will provide a market for Utica and Marcellus shale gas and would help offset a decline in traditional western Canada natural gas to the Detroit-Ontario area, promoters have said. It would run to the Union Gas’ Dawn Hub in southern Ontario.
It also could replace coal as the major fuel at electric power plants in the region.
Any facility expansions for the Canadian portion of the connected Vector Pipeline as well as increased import limits would require regulatory authorizations from Canada’s National Energy Board.
Additional permits also might be required from other Canadian agencies.
The shutdown of several refineries serving the Northeast and the possibility they would not reopen threatened to boost New England’s already high gasoline prices by as much as 15 cents a gallon was a reality 1 year ago.
But an influx of cheaper crude oil extracted from shale rock formations in the United States has helped save most of those facilities and stabilized gas prices.
The influx of domestic crude, known as “tight oil,” has allowed East Coast refineries to decrease their reliance on more expensive foreign oil, increase profit margins, and regain their economic competitiveness, refinery operators say. They estimate the domestic crude cuts oil costs by a few dollars per barrel, which can have a huge impact on their bottom line.
“A savings of $1 per barrel across our entire refining system is worth several hundred million dollars of net income to Phillips 66,” said Dennis Nuss, spokesman for the Houston company operating the Bayway refinery in New Jersey.
In Philadelphia, domestic supplies have helped resurrect a facility that accounts for nearly one-fourth of East Coast refining capacity. It was put up for sale in 2011 and expected to close for good last summer as high oil prices and slackening demand made it barely profitable. Today, it is refining up to 330,000 barrels of oil a day, getting about 10 percent of its crude from the Bakken shale formation in North Dakota.
Phil Rinaldi, chief executive of Philadelphia Energy Solutions, the company that now operates the refinery, said the domestic supplies are pressuring foreign producers to keep their prices competitive.
“It allows us for the first time in a very long time to have some genuine diversity of supply,” he said. “The shale plays are game-changers.”
Last week, the average Massachusetts gas price was $3.68 a gallon, 12 cents higher than a year ago and up 25 cents in the last month alone, according to AAA Southern New England. If the refineries had stayed shuttered, however, prices would have been driven even higher, analysts believe.