Saturday, October 12, 2013

Pipeline Watch Along the Coquihalla Highway

Major Repairs on Spectra Gas Lines Along Coquihalla Highway

by David Ellis - Independent Pipeline Critic

Are the corrosive wet soils of the Coquihalla now taking the same toll on the Spectra Energy gas pipelines, as they are on the Kinder Morgan oil pipeline?

At 6:30 in the evening of Thursday October 10th, I came across this Spectra Energy crew working, apparently around the clock.

This was 1/4 mile north of the Juliet bridge, on the south side, very close to the highway, some 10 miles north of the Coquihalla summit.
"This is a cut out of the 36 inch Spectra gas line" noted a man, perhaps the foreman, who was observing from the road, as I was.
As can be seen from the pics, quite a long section of pipe was exposed. Like many of the Kinder Morgan repair sites, a lot of water had to be continually pumped, for the crews to work. Perhaps long years of sitting
in a swamp, has led to a thinning of this gas line.

Crews were bedding down one end of the exposed pipe with sand, which apparently had already been welded and repaired, even as the other end was just being dug up by a back hoe. This struck me as strange, or a "hurry-up" job. Also, as unsafe; "daylighting" a pipe with a backhoe is a dangerous time, and as you can see, four crew were down right beside the pipe.

The timing of these repairs also struck me as odd; the last days before a long weekend, are sometimes chosen by some, who want to avoid press. Also, working double overtime on the long weekend, means very high priority, as the payroll is of course much higher.

1/2 mile away on the other side of the Juliet Bridge, the pipe was also under repaired, but with no crew on site.

Later that evening, I noticed a backhoe working across the Coquihalla river near Hope, under strong lights, and I have a strong hunch that this was also a Spectra repair, as these are often done together, when the lines are shut down. But the gas lines were hissing, at the Spectra valves in Hope later that evening, so it appears that the line was not shut down, for these repairs.

The next morning a lady in Hope noted that her gas was "out", for unknown reasons, not a normal occurrence, "why don't they tell us, it is cold!" she noted. I wondered if one of the 24/7 backhoe operators had perhaps hit the pipe that night, causing a closure of the line.

I can see no mention of these repairs by Spectra, on the "Net" or in the press.

Anyone with notes on these repairs, or on the age and condition of this gas line, please do post here.

Immediately apparent to me, is the much greater depth that this line is buried, as compared to the Kinder Morgan line, and the massive size of the pipe, this is what the proposed "twinned" Kinder Morgan line, will look like if approved. Scary.

Remember; Kinder Morgan could opt to buy this gas line, and converter it to tar sands oil, as has been recently done by other pipeline companies wishing to fill large orders for tar sands oil of dilbit. Or Spectra Energy might opt to convert this gas line to dilbit.

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