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Texas Eastern's Penn-Jersey System Back at Full Capacity After April Explosion

After months of work, Texas Eastern Transmission LP has restored its Penn-Jersey system to full capacity after it was damaged in an explosion and fire in Westmoreland County, PA, earlier this year.

Over the summer, owner Spectra Energy Corp. started an assessment of Penn-Jersey's entire 263-mile stretch between Delmont, PA, and Lambertville, NJ, to inspect its four lines. With the exception of a section near the incident, all pipes have been returned to service. Natural gas is entering the system at another location to make up for the section that's still off line.

Spectra said its field investigations uncovered the pipelines in more than 700 locations. A portion of the system exploded and caught fire in April in Southwest Pennsylvania, toppling trees, razing one house, damaging others and severely burning one resident. One line ruptured in what Spectra has attributed to external corrosion near a weld.

The company's work included reviewing inspection data, evaluating construction records, performing field investigations and interior and exterior inspections. The 30-inch line that ruptured was built in 1981. A failed tape coating on the pipe at the incident site is installed at points along the system, but Spectra said its assessment did not reveal evidence of the kind of corrosion that led to the rupture.

The company worked with the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) on a plan to restart the system. Spectra said in June that it wanted to complete the assessment and have the system operating at full-capacity in time for the winter heating season by Nov. 1. Full service resumed on Nov. 6.

PHMSA's preliminary investigation also said corrosion was the likely cause of the explosion. The agency has yet to release its final report on the incident.  

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