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Oil & Gas

Pipeline company faces up to $2.4 million fine

October 06, 2008
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The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s investigation found Enbridge committed eight probable violations, according to the Associated Press. The findings are consistent with what Enbridge found in its internal investigation in May. Houston-based Enbridge Energy Partners LP has 30 days to contest the agency''s findings and proposed civil penalties. The accident near Clearbook, Minnesota, last November, killed two workers. They were welders from Enbridge''s office in Superior, part of a crew that was replacing a pipe section where a pinhole leak had been found and repaired weeks earlier. The company determined that the blast happened after oil mist escaped from a coupling on the new section of pipeline and was ignited by a heater. The accident also caused over $2 million in property damage and caused world oil prices to temporarily spike. The eight probable violations included operating the 34-inch pipeline at pressures higher than it was designed for. Other violations included Enbridge''s failure to follow its own written procedures when it was installing and checking couplings at the site, failure to adequately review the work performed by its personnel, and failure to provide proper training. The agency also found that Enbridge had failed to remove multiple ignition sources in the work area.

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