Tag Archives: El Paso

PG&E Names New Executive to Gas Pipeline Team

PG&E added another executive to its gas operations team to help rebuild the company following the 2010 pipeline explosion in San Bruno.

Jesus Soto Jr., who is currently the vice president of operation services for El Paso Corp.’s pipeline group, will now become PG&E’s senior vice president of gas transmission, operations, engineering and pipeline integrity.

In his new role, Soto Jr. will be responsible for four areas for the company:

  • public safety and integrity management;
  • project engineering, design and management;
  • gas transmission; and
  • gas system operations.

“PG&E and our customers are fortunate to have someone with such a strong background working to make our system the best in the country,” said Nick Stavropoulos, PG&E’s executive vice president of gas operations, who was recently hired himself to help chart a new path for the utility following the San Bruno disaster. “We have already made excellent progress in turning our operations around, and there is still more to do. I have every confidence Jesus will play a major role in meeting this challenge.”

PG&E has been steadily making strides to revamp its pipeline operations by bringing in Stavropoulos and new CEO Anthony Earley and following through on the pipeline safety recommendations the National Transportation Safety Board issued following the explosion.

The utility also is trying to get a $2.2 billion plan approved by the California Public Utilities Commission to modernize its pipeline system throughout the state.

Meanwhile, PG&E has still been beset with problems stemming from its pipeline operations.

The CPUC recently fined PG&E $3 million for failing to comply with the commission’s orders to provide records for its gas transmission pipelines following the explosion. The company has set aside another $200 million for pending fines that are expected for the explosion.

More than 250 people have filed lawsuits against PG&E for the explosion, and the jury trial starts in July. The lawsuits are expected to be costly.

PG&E also just reached a settlement with the city for $70 million as restitution for the fire.

Soto said he hopes to help turn the company’s operations around.

“I look forward to quickly integrating myself into the PG&E Gas Operations organization and reinforcing a team and a culture that are driven to operational excellence anchored in public, employee and contractor safety, facility integrity, regulatory compliance and system reliability,” he said in a statement.

SOURCE: http://sanbruno.patch.com/articles/pg-e-names-new-executive-to-gas-pipeline-team

Corrosion at root of water line failure

Amarillo — A tiny crack led to a big blowout of the pipeline carrying half the city’s water supply.

About 2 million gallons of water started gushing up to 50 feet in the air because the Carson County Wellfield transmission pipeline had corroded from the outside in.

“It was real obvious when we cut into it,” said Director of Utilities Emmett Autrey. “A microcrack in the cement layer on the outside had let in air and moisture over the years. That water only had to go through 1 inch of cement.”

The pipe consists of a cement layer inside a steel pipe that is wrapped with steel cable and coated with cement.

“On one edge all the thickness of the steel was there,” Autrey said. “Ten inches away, there was paper-thin, rusty metal. It was almost like looking through a fish net.”

When the cable, the last line of defense, also corroded, the pipe opened up on the side of Texas Highway 136 just northeast of the city.

The crack could have happened during the manufacturing process or installation, said City Manager Jarrett Atkinson, but the exact cause is unclear.

“Does it mean we have to be careful and watch it? Yes,” he said. “And if we see an increase in frequency, we’ll look closer, but we’ve only had three failures of this nature on the entire pipeline.”

Because the 45-inch-wide pipe is no longer a standard size, the city is having four sections made to have on hand.

“Despite how big an issue it was when it happened, our standard response has to be to be prepared,” Atkinson said. “Most important will be to have the interconnect that will be the ultimate safety valve.”

The interconnect will run between the Carson County line and the transmission line from the new Potter County Wellfield that is set for completion in November. It will allow the city to send water from one pipeline to another in case of a failure in one, keeping the water flowing.

The cost of repairs, which took just more than two days including disinfecting and testing is unknown at this time.

SOURCE: http://amarillo.com/news/2011-08-30/corrosion-root-aug-21-water-line-failure#.Tl4uRHMf-NE