Community & Environment

Appeals Court: Clean Power Plan Can Proceed Pending Review

WASHINGTON (AP) — In what environmentalists hailed as a victory for efforts to curb climate change, an appeals panel Thursday in Washington rebuffed efforts to delay enforcement of President Barack Obama’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions until legal challenges are resolved. The U.S. Court..

Company Executive Blames Decade-Old Oil Leak on 'Act of God'

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A decade-old oil leak that could last for another century was caused by an “act of God” during a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico, the president of the company responsible said Wednesday. Taylor Energy President William Pecue told a gathering of industry experts and environ..

Measuring Methane Emissions: Part of Gas Pipelines’ Future

When examining the growing cottage industry of methane emissions control, it is clear upfront that it is one of the toughest sub-specialties in the emerging conglomerate that makes up the national response to climate change impacts. Researchers, engineers and public-policy wonks must start with the ..

Mr. Mayeaux, You Left Your Company in the Right Hands

Justin Harvey knows he has an industrial-sized pair of shoes to fill as he takes the helm at A+ Corporation, a family-owned and operated gas sample conditioning system service company in Gonzales, LA. The 30-year-old Harvey was just a toddler when his legendary grandfather Donald Mayeaux founded the company in 1989. Mayeaux earned his reputation for developing product concepts that changed the manner in which natural gas was sampled.

Waters of the United States Defined and Your Next Pipeline

<em>Editor’s note: The EPA’s proposed rule changes could considerably expand the jurisdiction of the federal government. Here are some proactive steps that pipeline owners and operators should consider to prepare for unprecedented expansion of the Clean Water Act.</em> The proposed Rule 33 CFR, Part 328, developed by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) and in review with the White House, will redefine and clarify the reach of EPA’s jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act (CWA).

Robot Works Below Iconic Scotland Street to Repair Pipeline

ULC Robotics, a leading robotics, energy services and research/development company focused on the energy and utility industries, deployed its Cast Iron Joint Sealing Robot (CISBOT) for the first time in Scotland on busy George Street in Edinburgh this past summer. Similar to Fifth Avenue in New York City, the visitors and high-end shop owners along George Street had minimal disturbance to their normal routines because CISBOT because is virtually invisible.

Editor's Notebook: Winners, Losers and Keystone XL Debacle

I have some final thoughts about the Keystone XL debacle, because that’s what it was. That project never should have been the line in the sand in the debate over climate change, because as we all know, any environmental effect would have been negligible at worst.

APGA Determined to Have Its Voice Heard on Capitol Hill

Leading a natural gas distribution company is always a challenge because there are few businesses that deal so directly with their customer base, be it residential, commercial or industrial, as well as safety regulators, equipment and service providers, not to mention the city council or utility board that approves rates.

EPA Proposes New Methane Regulations for Midstream Operations

The federal Environmental Protection Agency recently proposed new regulations for methane and volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from the oil and gas sector that place time-consuming and expensive new requirements on midstream businesses. These regulations would not apply to pipelines, but would require ongoing emissions monitoring and equipment replacements at compressor stations and natural gas processing plants built, “modified,” or “reconstructed” after Sept. 18, 2015.

Improving Lost and Unaccounted for Levels by Embracing Innovation

Across many industries, companies showing a reluctance to embrace new technology are in danger of losing any competitive edge. In the oil and gas industry, where even the smallest error can have a major long-term effect, embracing innovation in the form of data analytics has become a necessity for companies striving to reach the highest levels.

Pipeline Rush in Upper Midwest: Gas to Replace Coal

Nine- and even 12-figure numbers don’t phase Paul Copello, a petroleum engineer and president of IIR Energy, a capital projects tracking company that globally compiles and analyzes information for over 95,000 energy projects worldwide, collectively representing potential capital investment of $13.7 trillion. Among those projects, the natural gas pipeline sector is one of the surest bets for consistent increased capital spending, Copello told an energy meeting in Chicago last September.

TGP Seeks FERC Approval to Upgrade NED Capacity

Tennessee Gas Pipeline, a Kinder Morgan company, filed with FERC to increase capacity of the proposed Northeast Energy Direct (NED) project to 1.2 Bcf/d, an increase from 1 Bcf/d as submitted in earlier documents. TGP plans several route modifications on both the mainline and delivery laterals. The anticipated in-service date for the NED project remains Nov. 1, 2018.

Prince Rupert Project Receives Construction/Operation Permits

TransCanada has final permits from the BC Oil and Gas Commission (BCOGC), giving regulatory approval for construction and operation of the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission pipeline project (PRGT). “Receiving the full complement of 11 pipeline and facility permits is a major milestone for the project, and concludes an exhaustive regulatory process that we embarked on more than two years ago,” said Tony Palmer, PRGT president.

Retrofitting Customized Valves, Actuators for Pipeline Monitoring Stations

Oil and gas engineers face a major problem in accurately and reliably measuring and monitoring the various fluids that are introduced into oil pipelines from well site pumping stations. A thorough understanding of both the oil separation process and the properties of valves and actuators is required to correctly specify a system that will sufficiently measure and monitor these various types of fluids. Also, the conditions downstream from each well are different, requiring valves and actuators to be highly customized to their specific role in the process.

Ending Ban on Oil Exports Looms as Biggest Hurdle for Oil Industry

As President Obama smugly twiddles his thumbs and decides when he’ll put Keystone out of its misery, sides are being taken, mostly along political lines, in the real debate that will decide the fate of the domestic oil industry: ending the outdated 1975 ban on crude oil exports. Obama, of course, sees no need to lift the ban, though he says he might reconsider IF the oil industry gives up its tax breaks. As one expected, Hillary Clinton, presumptive Democratic nominee for president, also opposes ending the ban.

Appalachian Midstream Operators Face Myriad of Challenges

This has been a busy year of new challenges and issues facing the Appalachian oil and gas industry as rig count in the Appalachian Basin and elsewhere is down substantially compared to the previous two years. A significant challenge ahead for shale developers in a lower price environment is to continue to be active in finding land, drilling wells and getting the natural resource to market. This article concerns our most recent report, published in May, on the issues and challenges facing midstream operators in the Appalachian Basin.

Feds Want Tougher Rules for Pipelines after Series of Spills

Federal officials want tighter safety rules for pipelines carrying crude oil, gasoline and other hazardous liquids after a series of ruptures that included the costliest onshore oil spill in the nation’s history in Michigan.

Combating Noise in Gas Pipeline Transmission

Pipelines have been established for many years as the simplest and most economical way to transport high quantities of natural gas over long distances, moving gas from new shale fields and other production sources to LNG stations, local utilities, industrial plants and natural gas–fired electric power plants. Natural gas pipelines only consume an average of 2-3% of the gas’s potential energy to overcome frictional losses along the route, making them more cost-effective than the use of road or rail transport.

ILI Offers Technology that Will Continue to Advance

There are about 3.5 million kilometers of oil and gas pipelines worldwide needing regular cleaning, inspection and maintenance, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA).

In the News: California Tightens Responses to Future Energy Spills

Just months after a pipeline rupture dumped 20,000 gallons of oil into the ocean on Oct. 8 near Santa Barbara, CA, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a package of bills aimed at preventing and better responding to future spills. Brown said he signed the bills “in order to more fully protect our inland and coastal communities and environments from the harm of oil spills.”

Government: Senate Hears Criticism of Upcoming Gas Transmission Proposal

INGAA CEO Don Santa showed increasing frustration with PHMSA’s continued failure to move forward with important pipeline safety regulations. At Senate hearings Sept. 29, he said gas transmission pipelines are hesitant to make extensive safety investments now since those investments could be proved inadequate or wrong-headed once PHMSA finally publishes an upcoming safety rule containing numerous changes dictated by the 2011 Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act.

ANSI/API Recommended Practice 1173 Released; What Does It Means for Pipeline Safety?

On July 8, 2015, the American Petroleum Institute (API) released the first edition of ANSI/API Recommended Practice (RP) 1173 Pipeline Safety Management Systems. As an ANSI designated standards document, the RP became the national standard for pipeline safety management systems (PSMSs) in the U.S.

New Integrity Solutions Facing Many Same Old Problems

The protection of oil, gas and refined product pipelines against natural events such as earthquakes, hurricanes and tsunamis, not to mention human actions including construction excavations, illegal tapping and terrorist sabotage, is an ongoing concern for operators around the world. However, in the United States, the top three causes of pipeline failure reported by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) are construction excavations, corrosion and equipment failure (Figure1).

Far More than Money at Stake

How do you measure the cost of a pipeline spill? The answer: you can’t. That’s what the upper management of Plains All-American Pipeline is learning these days. It’s been a bad year for the Houston-based outfit that, through a series of acquisitions, has quickly become one of the nation’s largest independent midstream operators with over 18,000 miles of oil products pipelines.

Mastering Inspection of Challenging Pipelines

Pipelines are a valuable asset and need protection. In order to achieve this, a modern pipeline integrity management program usually includes regular inspections followed by integrity assessment, and if required, repair and rehabilitation measures.

Risk-Based Design of Pipelines, Risers

The production and transportation of hydrocarbon products involves complex process systems with components that are exposed to extreme operational and environmental conditions. To ensure safe and continuous operation, it is important to identify probable risk sources and assess the integrity of the pipeline to avoid accidental or catastrophic failures.

SoCalGas Engages Stakeholders Early, Often in Pipeline Safety Projects

In the current phase of the pipeline safety enhancement plan (PSEP), SoCalGas and San Diego Gas & Electric will test and replace about 1,000 miles of pipe throughout the system. While much of the construction work takes place in fairly remote locations, a significant portion is found in busy populated areas. Whether the work is in cities or unincorporated counties, in urban or rural space, customers and the local community are affected. Long before we received approval for PSEP, we knew community and customer outreach would be a critical factor for success.

Control Room Management Best Practices

The oil and gas industry is constantly changing, no more so than over the past several years with new technology, new production hot beds and new developing markets to deliver product to. These changes have set the stage for new opportunities and challenges for the midstream industry, particularly when it comes to the pressure of transporting commodities from the production fields to market. Pressure to do it faster but also safer.

Kevin Bodenhamer Sets Lofty Standard for Engineers

What more can you say about Kevin Bodenhamer other than he has had a career that most people in the pipeline business can only dream of having. His professional accomplishments can fill a whole page so let’s start with the resume: • 1979-1993, engineer, supervising manager for Cities Service/Occidental Petroleum/Trident NGL. • 1993-1998, manager, Mid-America Pipeline Co. • 1998-2002, director, Williams Cos. • 2002-2013, vice president, senior vice president, Enterprise Products. • 2013-2015, vice president, chief engineer, Willbros Engineers Inc.

Ensuring Quality Contractor Workforce Through Standardized Training

At the first-of-its-kind Distribution Contractors Association/American Gas Association (DCA/AGA) Utility Contractor Workshop in Chicago, presenters and attendees were single-minded in their focus on one goal: to ensure the growing contractor workforce has the requisite knowledge to safely build the nation’s gas distribution infrastructure while expanding the contractor workforce to meet the needs of utility main replacement and expansion programs. With plans at many utilities to accelerate programs aimed at replacing aging pipeline systems, meeting this goal is more important than ever.