Risk Assessment on Mariner East 2 Pipeline Appears Inadequate

by Duane Nichols on December 15, 2018

Mariner East 2 Pipeline to transport NGL to Delaware River for export

Delaware County (Pennsylvania) sets public hearing on pipeline risk study

Article from the Delaware County Daily Times, Upper Darby Township, PA, December 14, 2018

MEDIA COURTHOUSE — Delaware County Council will hold a public presentation of the Pipeline Risk Assessment on December 17 at 6 p.m. in the County Council Public Meeting Room, located on the first floor of the Government Center, 201 W. Front St., Media.

Council contracted with G2 Integrated Solutions, based in Texas to conduct an independent study of the risks associated with the operation of the Mariner East 2 pipeline and the converted Adelphia pipeline. Analysts from G2 will present the findings of the study to Council and to the public on December 17, 2018.

In response to public discussions, this risk assessment was undertaken to estimate the level of individual risk to Delaware County residents from either the Mariner East 2 pipeline or the converted Adelphia pipeline and then compare to other common sources of risk experienced by the general population. The Mariner East 2 pipeline and Adelphia pipeline quantitative risk assessments were executed in a systematic process in which potential accident events were identified, the associated consequence and likelihood of such events were determined, and the risk measures estimated.

The full results of the risk assessment study can be found here.

Some pipeline opponents have criticized the findings of the study, which downplayed the danger of a serious incident or risk of injury from the pipeline as being about the same as being involved in a car accident, house fire or fall down the steps.

Mariner East 2 foes have said that actually the study points to just the opposite, that the “blast zone” created by a serious problem with the pipeline actually is greater than thought, about 1.3 miles, and that while the chance of an incident are smaller, any problem likely would be catastrophic.

Sunoco and Energy Transfer Partners, the firms building the 350-mile pipeline to carry ethane, butane and propane across Pennsylvania from the Marcellus Shale regions to a facility in Marcus Hook, recently won a string of rulings in court. The state Supreme Court knocked down a challenge to their use of eminent domain in acquiring easements along the pipeline route.

And this week a PA state PUC administrative law judge rejected petitions to halt operations on Mariner East 1, an older line already moving materials, and halting construction on Mariner East 2.

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Bill Rettew December 15, 2018 at 4:19 am

PA Pipeline firms plagued by accidents, fines

From an Article by Bill Rettew, Daily Local News, West Chester, PA, December 14, 2018

HARRISBURG — While having success in court, it’s been a rough week in the field for Pennsylvania pipeline companies, with six injuries and recommended fines.

Six pipeline employees were injured, in two separate accidents, and the PUC’s Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement recommended that Sunoco pay a $225,000 fine.

A fire broke out Thursday night at parent company Marathon Petroleum’s MarkWest natural gas processing plant in Washington County, injuring four workers. The fire broke out in a tank holding 200 barrels of liquid Ethylene Glycol, plus hydrocarbons.

In addition, two workers were sent to the hospital following an accident during testing of the Mariner East pipeline site in Westmoreland County George Alexander, spokesperson for Del-Chesco United for Pipeline Safety said that this was at least the third accident on the Mariner East 1 line in less than a year.

Mariner East 1 is an older, smaller pipeline that is already in use carrying ethane, butane and propane from the Marcellus Shale regions to Marcus Hook. Mariner East 2 will utilize a larger, 20-inch pipe, except in spots that have been delayed by work stoppages and other problems. In those areas, Sunoco is planning to use another old, smaller pipeline to fill in the gaps.

Opponents have questioned the safety of the move. Sunoco says the old lines have been tested and prove safe.

Sunoco ‘tested’ the pipeline multiple ways — right before it failed,” Alexander said. “And, as usual, Sunoco failed to detect that a leak was occurring, so we still don’t know how long it had been leaking, or how much explosive material was released.”

Alexander said that Sunoco’s Mariner East is playing a statewide game of “Russian roulette.” He said: “It is also noteworthy that Sunoco is being required to specify a retirement date for this ancient, accident-prone pipeline, which dates from the 1930s,” Alexander said. “We think it should have been retired long ago.”

The Sunoco Mariner East Pipeline runs through Tom Casey’s Boot Road property. “Now ask yourself, ‘should anyone trust in what this company is reporting?’” Casey said. “More importantly, should any reports which boast about the safety of the Mariner East project be believed?

“Added to this, we now have regulators, school boards, emergency services, and the Chester County commissioners raising the alarm. When is enough enough PUC, or better yet, Governor Wolf? The health, safety, and welfare of every Pennsylvanian is at stake. Please don’t screw it up!”

The proposed $225,000 fine will need to be ratified by the PUC. The suggested action stems from an April 1, 2017, leak in Morgantown, Berks County, PA. Sunoco said that 20 barrels, or just less than 1,000 gallons of highly volatile liquids, escaped during the leak.

Sunoco reported that since 2006, there have been 305 pipeline leaks. Forty two percent, or 129 leaks, were attributed to pipeline corrosion.

State Sen. Andy Dinniman, D-19, has become a vocal opponent of pipelines. He released the following statement, Friday afternoon:

The PUC complaint supports what we’ve been saying all along – Sunoco is not doing enough to protect the public from the very real and very serious dangers of moving highly-volatile natural gas liquids in decades-old pipelines. The PUC claims that Sunoco’s corrosion testing on its own pipelines failed to detect potential problems and leaks. It seems that the company is either unwilling or unable to adequately determine which segments of pipeline are safe.”

Remember, we’ve had very similar concerns and outstanding questions regarding pipeline integrity and hydrostatistic testing on Mariner East here in Chester County. Meanwhile, the recent accidents and an explosion yesterday in Washington County and in Beaver County last September further drive home the point that safety concerns on this pipeline project should not be taken lightly.”



Argus Media December 18, 2018 at 1:19 am

US Propane Has Become a Significant Petrochemical Feedstock in Western Europe

From the Argus Media News, December 17, 2018

US propane stocks stood at 79.8mn bl in the week ending 30 November, up by 7.2pc on the year. More importantly, the US restocking in the autumn has been accompanied by steady US LPG exports, which averaged 911,000 b/d between August and November, compared with 808,000 b/d in the same period last year, keeping the global market well supplied.

Propane exports to Europe will increase further following the ramping up of the 275,000 b/d Mariner East 2 (ME2) natural gas liquids (NGL) pipeline in the coming months.

The line will carry Marcellus shale propane and butane to the LPG export terminal at Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania. It is planned to boost the terminal’s export capacity to 6-8 LPG cargoes/month, from 2-3/month currently.



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