Sep 05, 2022 News
In 20 years…
Kaieteur News – According to statistics from the United States Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), from 2002 to 2021, there were 680 serious natural gas pipeline explosions, resulting in 260 deaths.
It was also stated that the incidents injured 1,109 persons that required in-patent hospitalization. It also caused $11.04 billion in losses/damage. The 680 natural gas pipeline explosions were marked as serious incidents. Serious incidents are those including a fatality or injury requiring in-patient hospitalization, but fire first incidents are excluded.
PHMSA has collected pipeline incident reports since 1970. PHMSA merged the various report formats to create pipeline incident trend lines going back 20 years.
In highlighting some of the causes of the explosions, PHMSA discusses the danger of these aging pipelines on its website. It was stated, “Cast and wrought iron pipelines are among the oldest energy pipelines constructed in the United States. Many of these pipelines were installed over 60 years ago…However, the degrading nature of iron alloys, the age of the pipelines, and pipe joints design have greatly increased the risk involved with continued use of such pipelines.”
Another cause of pipeline incidents is excavator damage. According to PHMSA statistics cited in a Biological Diversity article, from 2005 through 2019, excavation damage caused 1,052 pipeline incidents, 48 fatalities, and 195 injuries requiring in-patient hospitalization. These incidents typically happen when workers unintentionally contact a gas line while digging for another purpose. Moreover, equipment failure, natural forces and heavy weather were also stated as causes of pipeline incidents.
According to PHMSA equipment failure caused of 17.1 percent of significant pipeline incidents from 1986 through 2013. Many equipment failure-related pipeline explosions and other incidents may involve the malfunction or failure of pumps, valves, tanks, meters, compressors, and other parts of pipeline systems. This can lead to leaks and explosions. On the local front, the President Irfaan Ali-led PPP administration is adamant in rushing ahead with the US multi-billion dollar Wales Gas-To-Energy (GTE) project despite critical safeguards are yet to be put in place and citizens in the dark about its financial viability.
On August 15, Kaieteur News had reported that for 2022, within four months, there were four natural gas related explosions in the US. There were explosions in Kansas, Oklahoma and two in Texas. In Oklahoma, the explosion caused a fire to erupt at the natural gas facility which is described as a “natural gas liquids fractionation facility.” Fractionation is the process by which components of natural gas are generally turned into retail products such as ethane, propane, butane and natural gas for homes and vehicles – collectively these hydrocarbon configurations are known as natural gas liquids or Natural Gas Liquids (NGL). In June and July, two natural gas projects exploded in Texas. The first occurred on June 8, last, when an NGL facility burst into flames, leaving residents rattled over the possible negative impacts they can be exposed to. No injuries were reported from this incident. On July 7, an Energy Transfer natural gas pipeline exploded setting off a two-hour fire in the rural parts of Houston, Texas. It was reported that a release of natural gas from the 24-inch pipeline resulted in the explosion and fire. No injuries were recorded from this incident also.
In April 2022, a natural gas plant in Kansas exploded injuring two persons. Officials had to issue evacuation orders after a further inspection of the plant revealed 2,000 to 3,000 gallons of trapped liquid natural gas.
Wales gas-to-shore project
The reports of natural gas project explosions come at a time when President Ali is moving ahead with the much vaunted GTE project. This plant will be located at Wales, West Bank Demerara, and will be done in partnership with American oil giant, ExxonMobil. The 300 megawatt project will cost taxpayers’ more than US$1.3 billion just for the installment of pipelines to bring the gas to shore – while the government aspect of the project; the Natural Gas fired power plant and the NGL plant carries another cost.
The Project will involve capturing associated gas produced from crude oil production operations on the Liza Phase 1 (Destiny) and Liza Phase 2 (Unity) Floating, Production, Storage, and Offloading (FPSO) vessels, located offshore and transport gas via a 12-inch subsea pipeline onshore passing through communities such as Crane and the Canal Polders up to Wales.
Importantly, while an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the project has already been submitted to the local authorising body, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – the document says that Guyana will not be immune to gas explosions at the site, listing the activity as a likely event.
Also, Exxon has not yet submitted a Gas Leak Management Plan to the EPA for considerations to be made in the permitting process, but it has promised to have the document ready about a year before the plant starts its operations at Wales. In addition, the GTE Project Manager, Friedrich Krispin has indicated that Exxon and its partners will not walk away from any accidents, but will help Guyana should an unfortunate event take place at the proposed facility. However, he failed to provide answer on if a document would be signed specifically to secure insurance policy to cover any mishaps. Significantly, ExxonMobil can reclaim all costs expended on this venture from Guyana’s oil revenue, in keeping with the 2016 Production Sharing Agreement (PSA). This means that Guyana will be paying for the project, even though the returns are not definitive.
ESSEQUIBO IS WE OWN, WHAT ABOUT THE OIL AND THE GOLD?
Dec 05, 2023– Pepsi Hikers, Antonio’s Hikers, TT Masters claim respective titles Kaieteur Sports – After four days of intense action, the 2023 Guyana Hockey Board (GHB)/Diamond Mineral Water Indoor...
Dec 05, 2023
Dec 05, 2023
Dec 05, 2023
Dec 05, 2023
Dec 05, 2023
By Sir Ronald Sanders (The writer is Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the United States and the Organization of American... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.