Tag Archives: Gas

Florida Power & Light Proposes 600 Miles Of Natural Gas Pipelines

If Florida Power & Light get the green light from state regulators, they will be pumping natural gas within four years and transporting the fuel hundreds of miles on a proposed pipeline  between Southwest Alabama and Martin County, Florida.

This is a two-part project. The northern pipeline will stretch roughly 465 miles from Alabama to a hub in Central Florida. From there, a second line will run 126 miles to an FPL plant in Martin County.  This project is in partnership with Spectra Energy Corp., and NextEra Energy.  Specific information about this pipeline project in Florida can be found here.

“This project has a central Florida hub that interconnects the existing pipeline system in Florida, the Florida Gas Transmission pipeline and the Gulfstream pipeline,” said FPL Vice President Mike Sole, “so that we also significantly improve the reliability of the pipeline infrastructure in Florida.”

The existing pipeline capacity is almost full, so FPL solicited proposals from companies to construct the pipelines. Two companies were chosen, and they will spend an estimated $3.6 billion to do the work.

Sole says Florida Power & Light won’t pay construction costs, but it will pay rent – essentially buying the right to move gas along the line.

“We hope and expect to begin construction in 2016 and complete that construction and actually begin using the pipeline in 2017,” Sole said. “We expect to see some 8,600 direct and indirect jobs associated with construction of this pipeline.”

Florida Power & Light has to go through a lot of permitting at the federal, state and local level.

This process actually started in 2009 when the company offered up a very different proposal. The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) rejected the pipeline proposal and told Florida Power & Light to come up with something more cost effective. That led to the current proposal.

Tom Ballinger, director of engineering for the PSC, can’t comment on whether this new proposal will be approved. But he can talk about the potential impact.

“It’s a very highly regulated industry on the safety and the construction aspects of it. Obviously to build a large infrastructure project like this is going to take many years, many jobs,” Ballinger said. “It’s going to be a huge impact on Florida’s economy. We are the second largest consumer of natural gas in the United States – Texas being the first, California actually below us.”

About two-thirds of the electricity FPL supplies to Floridians is produced by natural gas.

SOURCE: http://wlrn.org/post/fpl-proposes-600-miles-natural-gas-pipelines

MATCOR’s Insights that Work

The companies are sure to reap large benefits from this natural gas pipeline. However, there is a large responsibility for pipeline safety, cathodic protection management and more.

MATCOR is a leading provider of ISO 9001:2008-certified cathodic protection cable and anodes for cathodic protection. Learn more about our industry-leading cathodic protection services and cathodic protection installation. MATCOR’s blog, Cathodically Protected, offers the latest insights on cathodic protection equipment and more.

Cathodic Protection System News from Algonquin Gas Transmission

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.

NextEra Requests Bids to Build Third Gas Pipeline Into Florida

NextEra Energy Inc. (NEE)’s utility Florida Power & Light Co. said it’s requesting bids to build a third natural gas pipeline into Florida to meet growing demand from power generators.

The approximately 700-mile (1,125-kilometer) pipeline would deliver gas from western Alabama to a new hub in Central Florida that would connect to FPL’s gas system in Martin County, the Juno Beach, Florida-based company said today in a statement. The line would deliver about 400 million cubic feet of gas a day starting in 2017, and would increase after that, the company said.

Bids for the project, which will consist of two segments, are due by April 3, 2013, Richard Gibbs, a spokesman for FPL, said today in a telephone interview. The “multibillion dollar” pipeline will need federal, state and local approvals, Gibbs said.

Florida uses more natural gas to produce electricity than any U.S. state other than Texas and 60 percent of the state’s power is generated by gas plants, the company said.

SOURCE: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-19/nextera-requests-bids-to-build-third-gas-pipeline-into-florida.html

Bill would earmark PG&E fines for better pipelines

Two Bay Area lawmakers want to use revenue raised from fines leveled against Pacific Gas & Electric Co. – in connection with 2010’s San Bruno gas line explosion – to pay for upgrades to the utility’s transmission system, saying the move will save ratepayers hundreds of millions of dollars.

Under current state law, any fine assessed by the California Public Utilities Commission goes to the state’s general spending account, which pays for schools, prisons and other state programs.

Assemblyman Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, on Tuesday introduced legislation that would dedicate money raised from the explosion fines to pipeline upgrades. The measure is co-authored by San Francisco Democratic Sen. Mark Leno.

Hill said state regulators are expected to level at least $200 million – and probably far more – in penalties against the utility in connection with the deadly explosion. If that money is used for pipeline replacement instead of general state spending, he said, ratepayers would save at least $660 million.

“PG&E should not be allowed to profit from what has occurred,” Hill said. “The way it works now … PG&E will borrow the money for capital improvement costs and ratepayers will have to pay the principal back as well as interest.”

But the PUC also has authorized PG&E to grant its shareholders an 11.35 percent profit on its capital improvement projects – money that gets taxed. All these costs are to be paid for by ratepayers unless the bill passes.

Hill said that when you add up all of the additional costs, every dollar of penalty money spent on pipeline upgrades will save ratepayers $3 to $4.

“To me, those ratepayers within the PG&E service area are ones who have suffered the most … by living with an unsafe pipeline system,” he said. “I feel that those are the ratepayers who should benefit, or at least be made whole, from the penalties related to San Bruno.”

The PUC has not yet assessed fines against PG&E in connection with the San Bruno incident, which killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes. But the utility’s managers set aside $200 million last year, saying they expect penalties could top that amount when three separate state investigations are complete.

Hill said PG&E is expected to spend more than $5 billion, including interest, over the next 50 years upgrading its transmission system to comply with federal recommendations.

Brian Swanson, a PG&E spokesman, said the utility has not taken a position on the bill but supports the concept.

 

SOURCE: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/05/29/BA9E1OP12K.DTL#ixzz1wS1x3g00

Pipeline Spills Put Safeguards Under Scrutiny

This summer, an Exxon Mobil pipeline carrying oil across Montana burst suddenly, soiling the swollen Yellowstone River with an estimated 42,000 gallons of crude just weeks after a company inspection and federal review had found nothing seriously wrong.

Crews in July picked up booms to contain oil in the Kalamazoo River near Marshall, Mich.

And in the Midwest, a 35-mile stretch of the Kalamazoo River near Marshall, Mich., once teeming with swimmers and boaters, remains closed nearly 14 months after an Enbridge Energy pipeline hemorrhaged 843,000 gallons of oil that will cost more than $500 million to clean up.

While investigators have yet to determine the cause of either accident, the spills have drawn attention to oversight of the 167,000-mile system of hazardous liquid pipelines crisscrossing the nation.

The little-known federal agency charged with monitoring the system and enforcing safety measures — the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration — is chronically short of inspectors and lacks the resources needed to hire more, leaving too much of the regulatory control in the hands of pipeline operators themselves, according to federal reports, an examination of agency data and interviews with safety experts.

They portray an agency that rarely levies fines and is not active enough in policing the aging labyrinth of pipelines, which has suffered thousands of significant hazardous liquid spills over the past two decades.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who oversees the pipeline agency, acknowledges weaknesses in the program and is asking Congress to pass legislation that would increase penalties for negligent operators and authorize the hiring of additional inspectors. That may be a tough sell in a Congress averse to new spending and stricter regulation.

“We need to know with great certainty that inspections and replacements have been done in a timely way that will prevent these kinds of spills from happening,” he said.

Federal records show that although the pipeline industry reported 25 percent fewer significant incidents from 2001 through 2010 than in the prior decade, the amount of hazardous liquids being spilled, though down, remains substantial. There are still more than 100 significant spills each year — a trend that dates back more than 20 years. And the percentage of dangerous liquids recovered by pipeline operators after a spill has dropped considerably in recent years.

The industry, however, believes the current system works and points with pride to what it considers a record of improvement.

“Data shows that releases from pipelines have declined over the last decade as the result of stringent regulation and the industry’s continued commitment to safety,” wrote Peter Lidiak, pipeline director for the American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, in an e-mailed response.

Throwing more resources and money at the problem may not be the answer for the tiny agency, because there remain deeper concerns about how it works, especially its reluctance to mandate safety improvements or to level meaningful fines for wrongdoing.

Such concerns come at a critical time for the agency. The State Department last month gave a provisional green light to a controversial 1,661-mile pipeline from Canada to Texas, called Keystone XL, that will carry a trickier form of crude — and fall under the agency’s purview. And a just-released National Transportation Safety Board report on a natural gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno, Calif., that last year cost eight people their lives, characterized the agency’s regulatory practices as lax and inadequate. In the report, the safety board urged the Transportation Department to go back and audit many of the pipeline agency’s safety and enforcement policies.

An analysis of federal reports and safety documents by The New York Times suggests that while the agency performs better than it did 10 years ago, it still struggles to safeguard a transport network laced with risks.

For example, the agency requires companies to focus their inspections on only the 44 percent of the nation’s land-based liquid pipelines that could affect high consequence areas — those near population centers or considered environmentally delicate — which leaves thousands of miles of lines loosely regulated and operating essentially on the honor system. Meanwhile, budget limits and attrition have left the agency with 118 inspectors — 17 shy of what federal law authorizes.

Pipeline operators, critics argue, have too much autonomy over their lines, and too much wiggle room when it comes to carrying out important safeguards, like whether to install costly but crucial automated shut-off valves.

“The system as it presently exists, I don’t think it really protects the public,” said Representative Corrine Brown of Florida, the ranking Democrat on the House transportation subcommittee on railroads, pipelines and hazardous materials. “Self-reporting doesn’t work. We need additional rules and regulations to make sure we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing to protect communities.”

She and other lawmakers want Congress and the Obama administration to bolster rules, hire more inspectors and reinvest in the pipeline infrastructure, much of which was laid from the 1950s to the 1970s.
New Project, New Risks

The Keystone XL project is different from most other pipelines in that it will carry a gritty mixture that includes bitumen, a crude drawn from Canadian oil sands that environmentalists argue is more corrosive and difficult to clean when spilled. In its report, the State Department cited 57 special conditions designed to keep the Keystone pipeline safe and wrote that it would have little environmental impact if operated according to regulations.

The National Wildlife Federation and other environmental groups assailed that conclusion, saying the State Department had not sufficiently accounted for the impacts of a major spill. More than 1,200 people were arrested during two weeks of protests against Keystone XL outside the White House this summer.

Richard Kuprewicz, a former pipeline engineer for the oil company Arco who serves on an advisory committee to the pipeline agency, said the current regulatory system was not fully prepared to monitor a project like Keystone XL, given the number of leaks the agency already contends with.

“We’re seeing too many ruptures,” Mr. Kuprewicz said. “The numbers are too high.”

Since 1990, more than 5,600 incidents were reported involving land-based hazardous liquid pipelines, releasing a total of more than 110 million gallons of mostly crude and petroleum products, according to analysis of federal data. The pipeline safety agency considered more than half — at least 100 spills each year — to be “significant,” meaning they caused a fire, serious injury or fatality or released at least 2,100 gallons, among other factors.

Pipeline operators reported recovering less than half of all hazardous liquids spilled over the last two decades, according to federal records. And the ratio is not improving: after recovering more than 60 percent of liquids spilled in 2005 and 2006, operators recovered less than a third between 2007 and 2010.

Nearly half of all incidents since 2002 arose from malfunctioning equipment, construction flaws and other technical problems with pipelines. Corrosion, which the agency considers to be different from equipment failure, is the second leading cause, and to blame nearly one-quarter of the time.

In written testimony to Congress after the Yellowstone spill, Cynthia L. Quarterman, the pipeline agency’s top official, emphasized oversight upgrades like increased money for state safety agencies and more extensive training for agency employees. She also noted a decline in significant incidents.

Yet a recent report by the Congressional Research Service, while acknowledging progress, also outlined problems, noting that “recent pipeline incidents suggest there continues to be room for improvement.”

The report said the pipeline agency was hampered by a chronic inspector shortage. Fifteen states are certified to perform their own liquid pipeline inspections, but budget problems within state agencies are also a matter of “great concern,” it said.

The National Transportation Safety Board report on San Bruno said the pipeline agency’s monitoring of state oversight programs and its own enforcement program had been “weak.”

And when something goes wrong, very little happens in the way of penalties, The Times found. For every five significant incidents reported at a hazardous liquid pipeline between 2002 and 2010, the agency issued one fine. (The article continues…)

Read More & SOURCE: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/10/business/energy-environment/agency-struggles-to-safeguard-pipeline-system.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2&adxnnlx=1315832412-RHYGj9x6NYkG9hdY/N9NnQ

San Bruno one year on…Consumers will be asked to help pay for billions in gas pipeline upgrades needed after Bay Area blast.

Three of California’s largest utilities are asking customers to help pay for nearly $4 billion in pipeline safety projects needed after last year’s deadly San Bruno disaster.

Power companies and private operators across the nation are racing to improve the safety of about 150,000 miles of natural gas pipelines built before 1970about half of all gas transmission lines in the United States.

The National Transportation Safety Board, which just completed a year long investigation of the San Bruno explosion, found that the older pipelines might be particularly vulnerable and in need of immediate inspection and repair.

To help pay for the work, three main gas suppliers in California have requested rate increases from state regulators. Paul Clanon, executive director of the California Public Utilities Commission, estimated that utility customers could see an increase of 5% to 10% in their bills depending on what commissioners decide.

In a joint proposal, the Southern California Gas Co. and San Diego Gas & Electric are seeking rate hikes to pay for $1.75 billion in pipeline improvements by 2015, which would steadily increase monthly utility bills by more than $2.80.

Both utilities have yet to seek rate hikes for an additional $1.25 billion in planned pipeline projects to be completed by 2021.

Pacific Gas & Electric Co, which serves the Bay Area and Northern California, wants to spend $2.2 billion by 2014 to test and improve its 6,000-mile network of natural gas pipelines. The monthly bill for a typical household is expected to rise by about $2, and business customers can expect an increase of about $15.

For many Southern California residents, the proposed hikes are coming on top of $3.2 billion in rate increases sought by Southern California Edison to upgrade its aging electrical grid.

If approved, the plan would result in a 9.1% increase in the monthly bill of the average residential Edison customer. Consumer advocates have opposed the plan, which, they claim, is salted with questionable allocations for pensions and pay raises.

The effort to hike rates to finance pipeline projects could become just as controversial.

Consumer groups, such as the Utility Reform Network based in San Francisco, are reviewing the proposals to determine if the costs and new charges are justified. They can lodge responses with the Public Utilities Commission.

“We want to make sure the utilities pay their fair share,” said Mindy Spatt, a spokeswoman for the statewide organization. “We don’t want them to make a profit on deferred maintenance. They also make high profits. Some of the money needs to come out of that.”

Nationally, the improvements will cost utilities and pipeline operators tens of billions of dollars in the next decade — and that will probably mean more efforts to recover the additional expenses.

“It is fair to assume that the cost will get passed through to consumers,” said Don Santa, chief executive of the Interstate Natural Gas Assn. of America, an industry group of pipeline operators, including large power companies.

Helping to drive the improvements are 29 recommendations issued more than a week ago by the NTSB. They are designed to improve the safety, inspections, emergency plans and regulation of the nation’s extensive grid of natural gas transmission lines.

The recommendations were announced almost a year after eight people died and 38 homes were destroyed when a defective natural gas pipeline built in 1956 ruptured and sent a huge pillar of fire into San Bruno, a Bay Area community.

Board members blamed the inferno on a long history of safety problems at PG&E and weak oversight by state and federal agencies. The utility is also under investigation by the Public Utilities Commission and could face substantial fines, Clanon said.

Regulators and gas industry representatives say various initiatives are already underway by the government, private companies and local utilities to more thoroughly inspect pipelines and repair or replace at-risk sections.

Clanon said that earlier this year, the state Public Utilities Commission ordered all pipeline operators to pressure-test their transmission lines built before 1970.

One of the NTSB’s priorities is elimination of a “grandfathering” clause in federal and state law that has exempted utilities and companies from performing high-pressure water tests on natural gas pipelines built before 1970.

Another key recommendation would require operators to modify their lines to accommodate inspection tools that can run inside a pipe and detect flaws, such as bad welds, cracks and corrosion.

The two methods of testing had been previously opposed by industry groups.

Other recommendations call for automatic and remotely controlled shut-off valves, reviews of regulatory agencies and PG&E’s procedures, better emergency management plans and more thorough record-keeping.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Hillsborough), whose district includes San Bruno, are now proposing legislation to make pressure testing mandatory and to give the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration more enforcement power. Other bills are pending in the California Legislature.

Industry representatives say it is too early to determine the total cost of the national effort to improve the pipeline system. They added that the overall price will depend on the timing of the recommendations and how cost-effective they are.

Oliver Moghissi, president of the National Assn. of Corrosion Engineers International, a professional organization with 27,000 members, said, for example, that he would like to see recommendations that require more pressure testing of older pipelines but on a case-by-case basis depending on conditions and available information on the pipeline in question.

Under a broad mandatory rule, Moghissi said, some pipelines could be tested unnecessarily.

“The goals of the NTSB are commonly recognized,” said Santa of the Interstate Natural Gas Assn. “The question is the means you choose to get there and the pace at which you choose to get there. . . . There can be a lot of devil in the details.”

SOURCE: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-san-bruno-20110909,0,648331.story

Pipeline to power the Olympics

RUSSIA — The recently commissioned Dzhubga – Lazarevskoye – Sochi Pipeline will not only bring gas to the city of Sochi, Russia, but to the Olympics as well, as Sochi is transformed into a Winter Olympics Games host city and a mountain resort.

Up until recently, half of the Black Sea coast cities and town relied on either expensive LNG or the 30-year-old Maikop – Samurskaya – Sochi gas pipeline for their natural gas, with the latter often experiencing gas supply issues due to the complex geological conditions along the pipeline route.

In light of the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympics, to be hosted in Sochi, the Government of the Russian Federation decided to construct the Dzhubga – Lazarevskoye – Sochi gas pipeline to enhance the reliability of the regional gas supplies, and deliver gas to the sports venues commissioned for the 2014 competitions.

In addition, the pipeline was also planned to assist in the development of Sochi as a mountain resort. Ensuring a reliable gas supply would allow health resorts to remain open all year round, attracting tourists in the autumn and winter seasons and creating permanent jobs for local residents.

The 171.6 km, 21 inch diameter pipeline, which was commissioned by Gazprom in June 2011, has an annual throughput capacity of 3.8 Bcm/a, which aims to ensure gas supply to Sochi, as well as to the Tuapse district of Krasnodar Krai.

With 90 per cent of the pipeline – or 159.5 km – located offshore, the pipeline route runs along the bottom of the Black Sea, approximately 4.5 km away from the coastal line in water depths of approximately 80 m, to the Kudepsta gas distribution station near Sochi. The pipeline is made of high-strength steel, with a wall thickness of 15 mm in the offshore section and 11.3 mm in the onshore section.

Gazprom began construction of the pipeline in September 2009, and made environmental safety a priority due to the fact that the pipeline – according to the company – ‘crosses the most climatically attractive and, therefore, the most cherished areas of [Russia] – the Black Sea coast of the Krasnodar Krai’.

Several steps were taken to reduce interference with the coastal flora and fauna. The most vital biocycles of the local fauna species were taken into account when the pipeline’s construction schedule was devised, and directional drilling was used instead of trenching for the construction of landfalls near the cities of Dzhubga, Novomikhailovsky, Tuapse and Kudepsta.

The decision to include an offshore section in the pipeline route has considerably minimised impact on industrial and agricultural industries, and forest lands, as well as specially protected natural reservations.

Cathodic protection was adopted to protect the pipeline, and precautionary measures were also taken to protect the pipeline in case of natural incident such as direct lightning strike and electromagnetic impact. In addition, the pipeline has been designed to withstand magnitude nine earthquakes, based on seismic survey data collected early on in the project.

SOURCE: http://pipelinesinternational.com/news/pipeline_to_power_the_olympics/

Oil spill brings calls for scrutiny of small lines

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A northwestern Montana oil spill that went unreported for a month has led to calls for increased scrutiny over the thousands of small flow pipelines within the nation’s oil and gas fields.

Flow lines are completely contained within the fields and pipe unprocessed oil, gas and water from wells to holding tanks and separating facilities and aren’t regulated like larger pipelines, such as the one that broke under the Yellowstone River earlier this month.

But flow lines often face the same issues of corrosion and defects, and should fall under the same federal regulation as larger transmission pipelines, conservation advocates say.

“They’re unregulated lines and they periodically have nasty spills,” said Lois Epstein, engineer and Arctic program director for The Wilderness Society in Alaska. “It’s a problem. Whether there is any motivation to do anything about it, is where we’re at right now.”

The broken line at the Cut Bank oil field on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation 50 miles east of Glacier National Park may have been slowly leaking oil for up to two weeks before FX Energy Inc. discovered it on June 12. FX Energy officials attributed the break to shifting ground during last month’s heavy rain and flooding.

The Salt Lake City-based company fixed the break and shut down the two small oil wells that fed the line, but never reported it to the tribe or the Bureau of Land Management, which oversees the tribe’s mineral leases.

The spill — estimated to be up to 840 gallons — then spread nearly a mile down a steep coulee and into the Cut Bank Creek before a neighboring landowner discovered the stained ground on July 12.

A cleanup crew has been digging oil by hand from the steep, treacherous ravine for more than a week. There have been no signs of wildlife affected by the spill.

The company is paying for the cleanup and has pledged to permanently plug the wells that fed the broken line. Grinnell Day Chief, the tribe’s oil and gas director, said the company has been very cooperative.

FX Energy is one of the largest of the 15 oil and gas companies with production or exploration leases on the Cut Bank field. Combined with its five wells at Bears Den field and a small interest in two wells at Rattlers Butte field, FX Energy leases a total of 10,732 acres in Montana and produces 184 barrels of oil per day.

The broken flow line is one of many that gather oil from FX Energy’s 125 wells on the declining field, which has been producing oil since the 1940s. Many of the 4-inch flow lines are 40 or 50 years old, said Don Judice, the BLM’s Great Falls supervisor.

Because the failed line only carried unprocessed oil from wells to a central tank and never left the oil field, there were no requirements to inspect it, test it for corrosion or perform any preventative maintenance to ensure it doesn’t break.

“Only when a pipeline is used for longer-range transportation does it get more scrutiny,” Judice said. “There’s not a requirement within the regulations for the testing of flow lines.”

But depending on the outcome of an investigation into the recently discovered spill, federal officials may require FX Energy to upgrade all of the aging flow lines that carry oil from the wells to tanks on the Cut Bank field, Judice said.

It was not immediately clear how many flow lines there are, since the lines generally gather oil from more than one well. Judice and Day Chief each said they recalled only one other significant spill from a flow line in the past decade.

Day Chief said another oil company that leases a different part of the sprawling field is already in the process of voluntarily upgrading all of its flow lines. He said the tribe hasn’t discussed recommending a similar remedy for the FX Energy itself, but would support the BLM if it required FX Energy to do so.

“We would back that 100 percent,” Day Chief said.

SOURCE – and to Read more: http://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Oil-spill-brings-calls-for-scrutiny-of-small-lines-1567351.php#ixzz1T7KnbGlW