Duke Energy is due to submit a report this week to Texas regulators on its nearly month-long investigation of the explosion and fire at its Moss Bluff underground salt cavern storage facility in Liberty County, TX, an agency spokeswoman said.

“We are hoping it [the report] can find some sort of cause” for the Aug. 19 blast and fire at the three-cavern natural gas storage site, said Stacie Fowler of the Texas Railroad Commission (RRC) in Austin. The Duke Energy report is due at the commission on Sept. 30, she noted.

“The anticipated report will be considered public information and be made available to the public on request for inspection and/or copying unless Duke requests that all or portions of the report be withheld,” the Texas commission said.

“Presently the RRC is considering the Moss Bluff fire an accident. To date we have not uncovered grounds for any enforcement actions [against Duke Energy], however, the ongoing investigation could potentially come up with something,” the agency noted.

As for the status of the storage caverns, Fowler said the cavern that was the suspected source of the blast was filled last week with brine to prevent it from collapsing or leaking. The two other caverns remain filled with natural gas, but they are not available for customer injections or withdrawals.

A Duke Energy spokesman last Wednesday could not say when the caverns would return to service.

An intense fire burned for nearly a week following the mid-August explosion in a cavern holding 6 Bcf of stored gas. No one was injured in either the blast or subsequent fire.

The high-deliverability Moss Bluff storage facility serves 13 customers, including marketers, pipeline and local distribution companies, with 16 Bcf of working gas capacity from three caverns. The Moss Bluff storage site has a send-out capability of 1.2 Bcf/d, and is ranked 11th in the nation in terms of deliverability.

©Copyright 2004 Intelligence Press Inc. Allrights reserved. The preceding news report may not be republishedor redistributed, in whole or in part, in any form, without priorwritten consent of Intelligence Press, Inc.