Duke Energy Gas Transmission (DEGT) resumed operations last Tuesday at two of the three storage caverns that were taken out of service following the explosion and fire at its rural Liberty County, TX, facility more than three months ago.

DEGT, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, lifted all the remaining restrictions on injections in cavern Nos. 2 and 3 at its Moss Bluff salt cavern storage facility at 9 a.m. (CCT) on Nov. 30, permitting customers to inject 100% of their maximum daily injection quantities (MDIQ).

The company last month opened the two caverns for customers to make limited injections (50% of their MDIQ). Moss Bluff customers, however, were allowed to make full withdrawals from the site (see NGI, Nov. 8).

Cavern No. 1, the site of the explosion and subsequent fire, still remains out of service. The fire, which burned for an entire week, broke out in the pre-dawn hours of Aug. 19 following the blast in cavern No. 1, which held 6 Bcf of store gas. No one was injured in either the explosion or fire.

In early October, DEGT reported to Texas regulators that a series of unusual events, some with unknown causes, led to the out-of-control gas leak and fire at cavern No. 1 at its Moss Bluff facility. The company said the “initiating event” was a “separation” on the 8 5/8 inch brine disposal pipe at a depth of about 3,724 feet that allowed gas to seep into the pipe, flow into an above ground eight-inch diameter pipe and then trigger an emergency shut down (ESD). The resulting mechanical forces produced by the sudden surge of flow caused the eight-inch piping between the wellhead and the ESD valve to breach, causing the fire, according to Duke (see NGI, Oct. 11).

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