Spectra Energy Cited By Feds for Probable Pipeline Safety Violations

According to a June 13 Notice of Amendment from the PHMSA to Spectra, the federal agency inspected the gas company’s Operating and Maintenance Procedures on Nov. 29, 2010 at Spectra headquarters in Houston, TX. In connection with that inspection, Spectra provided the PHMSA representatives a copy of the company’s Operations and Maintenance Plan.

The inspectors found that Spectra’s plans and procedures were inadequate in a number of areas, including:

  • continuing pipeline surveillance,
  • emergency plans, and
  • welding procedures.

For example, with respect to continuing pipeline surveillance, federal regulations require every pipeline operator to define a procedure for monitoring its pipelines and to take appropriate action in response to changing conditions, such as corrosion, failure, leakage or other developments.

During the inspection, federal regulators discovered the Spectra’s plans and procedures addressed only aerial surveillance and “did not adequately address the surveillance of all risk elements … .”

Spectra’s operations and procedures manual was also found deficient by federal inspectors for, among other probable violations:

  • failing to “adequately describe the notification and communications process with fire, police and other public officials during an emergency.”
  • failing to “define which conditions deemed a pipeline unsafe and failing to define “a time period for mitigation of a a pipeline segment that the operator deemed unsafe.”
  • failing to “provide additional guidance during the annual inspection of relief valves, particularly the pressure build-up of each relief valve … .”

The June 13 Notice of Amendment represents the third notice of probable violation issued to Spectra by the PHMSA this year.

On April 21, the agency issued Spectra a Notice of Amendment in connection with the gas company’s Preventative and Mitigation Measures and Quality Control, and a Letter of Warning in connection with the firm’s Internal Corrosion Direct Assessment plan.

The issues that led to the Letter of Warning have been resolved, according to the PHMSA. However, the other two cases are still open and pending.

For the entire story, please visit Natural Gas Watch

Source: Natural Gas Watch

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