Full service on Texas Eastern Transmission's (Tetco) Penn-Jersey pipeline system, which runs from Delmont, PA, to Lambertville, NJ, might not be restored until November after an April explosion and fire on a portion of the system in Westmoreland County, PA, has its owners concerned about safety.
Spectra Energy Corp. has voluntarily decided to conduct a "thorough and conservative assessment" along the Penn-Jersey system’s entire 263-mile stretch, according to spokesman Creighton Welch. The system consists of four parallel pipes. The incident in Southwest Pennsylvania caused one of those to rupture off State Route 819 in Westmoreland County's Salem Township, knocking out about 1 Bcf/d and cutting flows east of the Delmont compressor station to zero for 10 days after the incident (see Shale Daily, April 29). Partial capacity was restored after federal regulators authorized the restart of Line 19, which was not affected by the blast.
It remains unclear when repairs will be complete on the ruptured 30-inch Line 27, while Line 28 and Line 12 still remain offline awaiting the green light from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) (see Shale Daily, June 8). In a corrective action order issued in May, PHMSA revealed that a preliminary investigation had shown evidence of corrosion along two of the affected pipe's circumferential welds (see Shale Daily, May 4). A failed tape coating on the pipe at the site has also been installed at hundreds of points along the system.
Welch said the assessment would include reviewing inspection data, evaluating construction records, performing field investigations, and interior and exterior inspections that would involve uncovering the system in certain locations for such examinations. He added, however, that the review does not mean all the pipes at the incident site will remain offline until November.
"While this is a significant part of U.S. energy infrastructure, we intend to be methodical in our evaluation and take the time we need to do a thorough assessment," Welch said. "We recognize the increased demand for natural gas during the winter heating season, and as such have a goal to return to full service by Nov. 1."
When Line 19 was restored in May, it returned 1.2 Bcf/d of capacity through Delmont (see Shale Daily,May 10). In the days before the explosion, those averaged 1.07 Bcf/d, including a peak of 1.36 Bcf/d (see Shale Daily, May 2). The explosion toppled trees, razed one house, damaged others and sent one resident to the hospital with severe burns.