A risk assessment conducted by Accufacts Inc., using industry sensitive information from Sunoco, was recently released and presented to the public. The study specifically evaluated potential risk from the 12-inch supplemental line being used to move natural gas liquids eastward between portions of Mariner East 2 and Mariner East 2X through West Goshen Township.
The assessment found: “As discussed further below, the 12-inch pipeline meets or exceeds federal pipeline safety regulations for HVL liquid transmission pipeline service.” Reiterating what Sunoco and Energy Transfer have long guaranteed about their natural gas pipelines.
Accufacts specializes in technical and safety evaluation and planning for pipeline siting, design, operation, maintenance, emergency response, and regulatory requirements. The firm has previously been retained to conduct risk assessments in Pennsylvania. Accufacts worked alongside the West Goshen Township legal team and Sunoco to draw up a Nondisclosure Agreement so that corporate specifics about the pipeline could be accounted for in their study. Accufacts admitted that pipeline differences such as diameter factor into risk and deemed industry specifics necessary to complete a thorough assessment.
Supplemental Line Facts:
- 24 miles of an existing 12-inch line will be used to interconnect a western portion of ME 2 and an eastern segment of ME 2X, which is 16 inches in diameter.
- End destination is the Sunoco Marcus Hook facility
- The supplemental line does not use any pump stations
- Will carry 150 to 160 MB/D of butane or propane liquids
Pipeline Integrity and Safety Measures:
Accufacts notes that though the pipeline was installed in 1937 of seamless Grade B steel the risk of cracking or a loss of pipeline integrity is overstated. In fact, the report provides the following: “As mentioned in previous reports, pipe steel, even pipe steel manufactured over 80 years ago, does not age or wear out like some older materials such as cast or wrought iron that can be “age” sensitive. Pipe steel has essentially an infinite life if properly maintained and operated within its design parameters, and periodically assessed as to its integrity.”
Pipe age is a poor risk predictor and many of the nation’s older pipes are more resilient to hydrostatic testing because of safety factors during manufacturing.
Accufacts concluded that Sunoco went above and beyond the standard safety measures required by state and federal regulators through the use of hydrostatic testing and ‘smart pigs’ – devices used to scan the integrity of the inside of pipelines. Additionally, another round of hydrostatic and ‘smart pig’ tests were run for added certainty.
As an added layer of security Sunoco has agreed to convert the manual valve station controlling the supplemental line to be compatible with remote functions and like Mariner East 1 and 2 an automatic pipeline shutdown feature has been incorporated. All of these measures sum to show the township, and broader state of Pennsylvania, that safety and security are the top priority.
Richard Kuprewicz, the President of Accufacts, signed off on the report officially determining the supplemental line through West Goshen Township to be safe and that “Sunoco meets and exceeds the requirements of federal pipeline safety regulations. These additional precautions reflect the level of respect that transporting such materials in a HCA should require in a prudent pipeline operation. Accufacts thus concludes that the 12-inch Repurpose Project spanning WGT meets or exceeds the prudent technical approaches commensurate with the safe transportation of HVL.”