The Texas Railroad Commission, which given its name seems more likely to have more in common with Amtrak than fracking, uniquely plays a key role with jurisdiction over the Lone Star State's oil and gas pipelines.
The wrath of Hurricane Ida last month illustrated once again how natural disasters can affect oil and gas pipelines.
Reuters reported that the Category 4 storm caused widespread power outages and had oil and gas pipeline operators scrambling to inspect infrastructure for damage.
Enbridge, according to Reuters, was mobilizing crews to assess its facilities and had declared it was temporarily suspending some contracts under force majeure on two offshore pipelines, its Nautilus Pipeline and Mississippi Canyon Gas Pipeline.
Pipeline Inspection companies and their crews need to be flexible enough to handle various pipeline dimensions with new pipeline projects starting in the United States in 2021 ranging from 6 inches in diameter to 42 inches.
There was a time when inline inspections with intelligent pigs could only handle large dimension pipes but advancing technology now allows for pigging devices to handle cleaning and inspections of smaller diameter pipes, all the way down to 3 inches.
The proper maintenance of oil and gas pipelines can extend the life of this critical infrastructure, save on costly repairs, minimize safety risks, and ensure compliance and regulatory standards.
The approximate 3,000 companies, large and small, that operate the 2.5 million miles of U.S. pipelines by law must do maintenance and inspections on their pipelines.
Pipelines are the major arteries of the energy sector, transporting oil, gas and other crucial products that fuel the American economy. Keeping these arteries healthy and free of defects is critical as a failed pipeline can lead to significant property damage, injury, and death.
Corrosion is one of the leading causes of pipeline incidents with the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) data showing 18 percent of pipeline incidents on average were caused by corrosion between 1998 and 2017.
If you have ever wondered what a USA pipeline map would look like, you are in luck, because the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has an interactive public viewer with a treasure trove of data available.
Pipeline safety is always a crucial subject and is at the center of a dispute in the past month between the state of Michigan and a Canadian pipeline company. The Calgary-based Enbridge’s Line 5, which transports up to 540,000 barrels of natural gas liquids and crude oil, under the Great Lakes and across Michigan each day was ordered shut down on May 12 by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer due to safety concerns of the aging infrastructure.
Built in 1953, Line 5 is part of Enbridge’s mainline system which carries fuel from Alberta’s oil sands to Eastern Canada and the U.S. Midwest. The pipeline, which runs from Superior, Wisc. To Sarnia, Ontario is key for region refineries to get gas, propane, and home-heating oil to market, as well as supply jet fuel to Toronto and Detroit area airports.
Most of us take energy for granted in our daily lives until something goes wrong. We know it is important but that usually does not hit home until the power grid goes dark and the lights go out or your vehicle runs out of gas on a lonely stretch of blacktop.
Yet, from the first thing each morning when we fire up the coffee maker to the moment we turn out the nightstand light and our heads hit the pillow, our modern lives rely on the oil and natural gas industry.
The pipeline inspection industry has a language all its own starting with the term “pigging” to describe using pipeline inspection gauges to inspect, clean and perform other pipeline operations.
While “pipeline inspection gauge” certainly does form a nice acronym for “pig”, the term “pig” and “pigging” was born, according to NPR, because the earliest pipeline cleaning deices, made from bales of straw wrapped in barbed wire, made a pig-like squealing noise when travelling through pipes.
It has been 160 years since the first modern oil pipeline was laid and it is still the most cost-effective mode of transporting liquid petroleum and natural gas across the country to help assist the everyday lives of Americans.
There are some 2.8 million miles of oil and gas pipelines in the United States and that number is growing with 9,000 miles currently being built or expanded and another 12,500 miles of pipeline that has been approved or announced.