Tag Archives: New York

President Obama Approves New Natural Gas Pipeline in Brooklyn and Queens

NEW YORK — A new natural gas pipeline is coming to Brooklyn and Queens, after President Barack Obama cleared the way for it to be built on Tuesday.

The pipeline will run beneath Jacob Riis Park in the Rockaways and under Jamaica Bay to Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, bringing in more natural gas to serve the city’s growing demand, officials said.

The project required federal legislation — and the president’s signature — because it affects the parkland in the Gateway National Recreation Area, which includes Floyd Bennett Field.

Officials expect the project, which does not yet have a timeline, to generate nearly 300 construction jobs and $265 million in construction activity, a key boon for the local economy following Hurricane Sandy, said U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm, who sponsored the legislation that made the pipeline possible.

“This is welcomed news as we seek to rebuild our local economy and our communities,” Grimm said in a statement.

The pipeline will branch off from an existing line that moves natural gas from New Jersey to Long Island, and it will end in a new meter station at Floyd Bennett Field, officials said. The gas pipeline that currently serves that area was built about 50 years ago and is too small to carry all the natural gas the city needs, officials said.

Grimm and other proponents of the plan have promised that the pipeline will not infringe on populated or environmentally fragile areas, but the pipeline has attracted some opposition from local residents and environmental groups, according to reports.

Still, the pipeline’s supporters include the National Park Service, the Regional Plan Association and Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

“Given the destruction of Hurricane Sandy, this law could not come at a more critical time for New York City,” Bloomberg said in a statement. “This pipeline will help us build a stable, clean-energy future for New Yorkers and will ensure the reliability of the city’s future energy needs.”

SOURCE: http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20121127/new-york-city/president-obama-approves-new-natural-gas-pipeline-brooklyn-queens#ixzz2DWpWpAx4

New gas pipeline being built in central NY

A 44-mile-long, $280 million natural gas pipeline under construction in central New York will carry natural gas from northern Pennsylvania to East Coast markets.

Construction began late last month on New York’s section of the Bluestone Pipeline that will carry natural gas produced in northern Pennsylvania to the Millennium Pipeline, which will take it to energy markets on the East Coast.

“We hope to be complete and have gas flowing by the end of the year,” said Mike Armiak, a spokesman for the pipeline.

Bluestone Gas Corporation of New York Inc., a subsidiary of Detroit-based DTE Energy, filed preliminary paperwork in July 2011 outlining plans for a nine-mile portion of the pipeline, 20 inches in diameter, in eastern Broome.

On Sept. 21, the state Public Service Commission issued a certificate that gave the company the green light for the project. Construction began Oct 20.

The pipeline will snake through Susquehanna County, Pa., before it crosses into New York in the Town of Sanford. Plans indicate it will run through 9.2 miles of rural land before reaching the Millennium Pipeline, a massive energy artery that cuts through the Southern Tier on its way from Corning to Ramapo, N.Y.

“It’s a way to get more benefits from the Millennium Pipeline by having this interconnect with Bluestone,” Armiak said, noting that union labor is being used when available. “What it means is there’ll be diversification of supply.”

The natural gas will come from wells located within a 30,000-acre footprint in Susquehanna County controlled by Houston-based Southwestern Energy Services Company, which signed an agreement with DTE Energy earlier this year.

The pipeline will have a capacity to pump 275 million cubic feet of natural gas per day — roughly enough to provide heat to 3,800 homes for a year — following DTE Energy’s planned $280 million investment in the system over 2012 and 2013, according to the company’s most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

SOURCE: http://www.pressconnects.com/article/20121105/NEWS01/311050070/-1/?nclick_check=1

Corrosion Work on George Washington Bridge will take 10 years

Peter Zipf sounds more cardiologist than civil engineer when he talks about subjecting the George Washington Bridge to the equivalent of the classic battery of tests for heart disease and finding the first signs of plaque.

“It really is a little like giving somebody an EKG and checking their cholesterol levels,” said Zipf, the Port Authority’s chief engineer. “There are certain things you know you have to watch for, to catch them before they go too far.”

And chief among those certain things, as a bridge ages, is the corrosion that can sap the strength of its steel.

“Moisture is the big culprit,’” continued Zipf. “You have to constantly monitor the amount of corrosion and the rate of deterioration, and then determine when to intervene.”

The GWB’s test results have spurred the Port to intervene now and undertake the biggest rehabilitation in the 81-year history of the world’s busiest bridge. When the work is completed in 2022 – yes, 10 years from now – the Port will have spent $1.5 billion, a piffle in comparison to the $6-billion-to-$8-billion that it would cost to build the GWB today.

The centerpiece of this your-tolls-at-work program will be the first-ever replacement of the GWB’s suspender ropes, all 592 of them. The ropes, vertical bundles of woven steel wire that attach to the four main cables and support the deck, will be replaced a couple or three at a time to keep the 600,000-ton bridge on an even keel.

To assist, the Port, fittingly, has hired Ammann & Whitney, the consulting engineering firm founded by Othmar Ammann, the man who designed and built the GWB and five other suspension bridges in the city.

The Port will also rehabilitate the upper level’s deck (work already in progress), remove the lower level’s original, and failing, lead paint, rebuild the 177th and 178th Street ramps as well as the multiple ramps to the GWB bus station and repair the Center and Lemoine Avenue bridges.

“The bridge can withstand this extreme work because it’s very robust in terms of strength – remember it was built to handle rail,” explained Zipf. “So that extra strength becomes a safety factor that gives the bridge the tolerance for rehabilitation.”
(Careful readers will recall the Thruway Authority will spend more to build the new Tappan Zee Bridge strong enough to support rail – or serious rehabilitation in the next century, if rail is never added.)

Does any or all of this mean the bridge-and-tunnel crowd is doomed to construction delays at the GWB for 10 years?
“In all of our work, through design, staging of construction and so on, we strive to minimize the impact on traffic,” pledged Zipf. “We’ll only close a lane during off-hours or at night, so if you cross the bridge at rush hour, you aren’t going to be aware that anything’s going on.”

…For 10 years.

http://www.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120409/BIZ/120409746/-1/NEWS

Millennium Pipeline clears safety check

Millennium Pipeline has been given the go-ahead to return to full service, company officials said, after a natural gas leak led to a government investigation that uncovered missing weld inspection records. While the records weren’t located, new weld inspections were conducted to verify the integrity of four “suspect” welds that raised the ire of federal officials for inadequate paperwork.

“Our integrity confirmations revealed that no additional anomalies were found, no weld defects of any kind were found. Our digs didn’t reveal anything out of the ordinary or unusual to be of concern.”

State and federal officials launched an investigation into the pipeline after a weld, located near the Broome-Tioga county border, sprung a leak on Jan. 11. The leak released an estimated 1.3 million cubic of feet of natural gas — enough to heat an average home in the Northeast for 18 years — before repairs were completed five days later.

The results of that investigation were released in a U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration document in July, which pointed to the three other welds in a 93-mile section of the Millennium system that were considered “suspect” because of missing inspection documents.

Between the leak and the recordkeeping deficiencies, the July PHMSA document expressed concerns about the integrity of the pipeline as a whole.

“Similar defects may also develop leaks and potentially lead to a rupture of the pipeline,” the federal document said.

Following the report, Millennium reduced pressure on the pipeline — which can reach a maximum of 1,200 pounds per square inch, but is normally lower — by 20 percent until the integrity of the welds could be verified.

On Sept. 21, Millennium and PHMSA reached a consent agreement, in which they agreed to conduct new testing to allay concerns about the welds by Dec. 31.

The consent agreement document identifies the “suspect” welds with approximate locations that would place all four in either western Tioga or eastern Broome counties.

Gibbon said the work was completed recently, and Millennium was given the green light to return to normal pressure in mid-October.

An estimated $500,000 to $600,000 in “pig testing” — a process in which camera equipment is shuttled through the pipeline to collect data from the inside — in addition to nine investigative digs provided information that was missing in the records.

The welds turned out to be OK, according to Gibbon.

“There were different places along the pipeline where they asked if we would please go through and get a visual to make sure that everything is okay, and it was” she said. “We submitted our findings back to PHMSA … and we’ve returned to normal pressures.”

‘Not a perfect system’
Richard Kuprewicz, a Bellingham, Wash.-based pipeline safety expert, said situations such as this are “not unusual.”

Pipeline operators are not required to conduct an X-ray inspection of every weld on a pipeline, even though it’s the best way to ensure the integrity of a weld.

On top of that, government agencies don’t typically look over the shoulder of pipeline operators during construction to make sure every single weld has an inspection record.

“Everyone thinks, especially during the construction, that there’s safety inspectors looking at this every step of the way,” he said. “They can’t be checking every weld or every record. There’s only a certain number of people.”

Case in point: Although the Millennium Pipeline gained government approval prior to going online in December 2008, PHMSA became aware of recordkeeping deficiencies only after the January leak.

“It’s not like it’s your car being built and there are quality controls,” Kuprewicz said. “It’s not a perfect system.”

Gibbon said Millennium takes “full responsibility” for the missing records, and has both revised its recordkeeping system and launched its own internal investigation.

“Even though we have modernized our system going forward, we’re going back and doing a very careful examination of where something could have slipped through the cracks,” she said.

PHMSA did not respond on Monday to questions about the agency’s records on inspection policies.

SOURCE: http://www.pressconnects.com/article/20111031/NEWS01/110310371/Millennium-Pipeline-clears-safety-check?odyssey=nav%7Chead

Regulators investigate “unsafe” NY natural gas line

A key natural gas pipeline which crosses southern New York state is in danger of rupturing and could pose a safety threat, according to a recent report from regulators.

An investigation by the New York State Department of Public Service into a leak on the Millennium Pipeline in January found that uninspected faulty welds were responsible for the accident.

Now the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is conducting its own investigation along a large stretch of the pipe between Corning and Ramapo, concerned that similar problems are likely to occur at other points on the line.

“It appears that the continued operation of the affected pipeline without corrective measures would pose a pipeline integrity risk to public safety, property, or the environment,” the PHMSA said in a letter to the pipeline operator, Columbia Gas Transmission, on July 6.

A spokeswoman for Millennium was not immediately available for comment. The company had thirty days to respond to the PHMSA.

PHMSA, which is part of the Department of Transportation, requested that Millennium operate the pipeline at a reduced pressure last month, and the reduction remains in place until further notice, according to the Millennium website.

The Millennium Pipeline is a 182-mile system extending from Independence in Steuben County, New York to Buena Vista in Rockland County, New York. It can deliver up to 525 dekatherms (525 million cubic feet) per day of supply.

Millennium is jointly owned by NiSource Inc (NI.N: Quote) business unit NiSource Gas Transmission & Storage, and affiliates of National Grid (NG.L: Quote) and DTE Energy (DTE.N: Quote). (Reporting by Edward McAllister and Eileen Moustakis; Editing by Alden Bentley)

SOURCE: http://af.reuters.com/article/energyOilNews/idAFN1E77410620110805