In the wake of a security breach at a KeySpan Corp. liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage site earlier this month, Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has called on state regulators and public safety officials to carry out a security review of all the state’s LNG storage facilities. There are a total of 20 LNG storage sites in Massachusetts, of which seven are owned by KeySpan, a company spokeswoman said.
The governor ordered the review after a security tape showed two intruders cutting through a fence to scale a storage tank at KeySpan’s LNG storage facility in Lynn, MA, earlier this month. The state-wide security review will be conducted by a team of experts from the Department of Telecommunications and Energy (DTE) and members of the State Police’s Critical Infrastructure Assessment Unit.
The inquiry will take 30 days, and will include an inspection of each storage site’s physical plant, security plan and systems as well as their training records. This will supplement the regular inspections that take place at LNG storage facilities every two years. The Lynn storage site was scheduled to be inspected in the fall.
There is no indication that the breach at the Lynn facility was terrorism related, according to Romney and KeySpan officials. “State authorities characterize it as vandalism, not terrorism,” and “our investigation supports that determination as well,” KeySpan spokeswoman Carmen Fields told NGI last Wednesday. She could not say whether the alleged vandals were youngsters. But Fields, who said she had not seen the security tape, noted “that’s the impression that I’ve been given.”
There was no damage to the facility, which houses one storage tank with a capacity of 1 Bcf of fuel, and it is fully operational, she said. “We’re aware of the breach and we’ve notified all the proper officials.”
However, it took KeySpan five days to report the breach to authorities. The breach occurred on Aug. 16 and KeySpan did not notify state officials until last Monday (Aug. 21). “That’s less than ideal…We’re not happy about it,” Mike Coelho, chief of staff with the state Executive Office of Public Safety, told the Associated Press. Fields declined to comment on the five-day lag in reporting the incident.
The DTE has the authority to penalize KeySpan up to $50,000 per violation per day, with a ceiling of $1 million per incident, said DTE spokeswoman Karen Silk. No arrests have been made in the case.
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