Friday, September 4, 2009

Latent hurricane damage investigated in Eugene Island pipeline accident

HOUSTON - Investigators are assessing whether latent damage from recent hurricanes contributed to the Eugene Island pipeline leak in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico in July, a federal pipeline agency spokesman said on Sept. 1.
Damon Hill, spokesman for the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), said the issue is an ongoing concern after recent active seasons featuring several strong storms.
"We do know that a lot of pipelines were affected in the Gulf from past hurricanes, especially when Katrina and Rita came. There were a lot of after-effects," said Hill, whose agency is leading the inquiry.
The U.S. Minerals Management Service, part of the investigation team, acknowledges the possibility of undetected damage after offshore oilfields were raked by storms, notably Ivan in 2004, Katrina and Rita in 2005 and Gustav and Ike in 2008.
"So far, we have not seen a trend of damage showing up later. Of course, with back-to-back storms, it may be hard to determine," said Eileen Angelico, spokeswoman for MMS.
Pipeline operator Shell Pipeline, which has said it expects to have the line repaired and back in operation by late September, declined comment on potential causes.

No comments:

Post a Comment