TQM Explosion Injures One, Impacts PNGTS

A gas explosion tore apart TransQuebec & Maritimes (TQM) pipeline's East Hereford, PQ, compressor station near the Quebec-New-Hampshire border last Thursday, injuring one person and completely destroying an instrumentation control building. The loss of gas compression at the border crossing is reducing firm gas flows by 10-20 MMcf/d into the Portland Natural Gas Transmission System (PNGTS) in New England.

The injured TQM Pipeline employee, Denis Lalibert‚, suffered burns and had to be transported to the Sherbrooke University Hospital. His condition was stable on Friday, according to TQM.

"Our surveillance system is such that we were immediately aware of the incident, and we quickly notified emergency services, local authorities and the Canadian Transport Safety Board, which already has inspectors on location to lead an inquiry," said TQM President Robert Turgeon. There was no fire, nor consequences on the environment or air quality, he said.

Natural gas was cleared from the compressor station, which is no longer in service. The pipeline system continues to operate safely, Turgeon said.

The East Hereford station is located at one end of a pipeline segment connecting the TQM network with that of PNGTS, which serves gas customers in New Hampshire and Maine and links with the Joint Facilities of PNGTS and Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline in Westbrook, ME.

A PNGTS spokesman said the pipeline, which has been transporting about 150 MMcf/d gas, was not damaged, but gas flows were reduced.

TransCanada is providing assistance to TQM under an operational balancing agreement. A member of TransCanada's volume planning department said all interruptible flows have been curtailed until further notice and firm flows were restricted by up to 20 MMcf/d over the holiday weekend. "The control center is gone. I know it's no longer there," he said. "The compressor, I think, was damaged also. There are various solutions being discussed right now. They might transport a portable compressor down there. But it will take several days to get that up and running." For more information, please contact TransCanada's volume planning department at (403) 267-6464.

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