Plains defends integrity standards post spill

Plains All American Pipeline LP has more than tripled spending on pipeline maintenance and integrity since 2007 as the company's operations grew, Chief Executive Greg Armstrong said yesterday.

Armstrong told analysts the company has increased spending to keep pipelines in good condition to US$491 million in 2014 from US$135 million in 2007.

These measures include running devices with sensors and smart pigs through them to detect corrosion and thinning pipe.

Preliminary findings suggest that extensive corrosion had occurred in the California pipeline that ruptured last month.

Armstrong said at Plains' annual analyst meeting on Thursday that he was giving a presentation to the company's safety group the day the pipe burst, and insisted the company was focused on safe operations long before the spill.

"We were walking the walk before it ever occurred," he said at the meeting. "If we can't do it the right way we don't want to do it at all. I don't care how profitable it is."

He acknowledged that Plains' various entities have reported 229 incidents at pipelines and other operations to US pipeline safety regulators since 2006.

Of those, 64 - or 28% - involved spills of more than 20 barrels, he said.

Plains has shut down the pipe with no timetable for bringing it back online, and the spill is under investigation by the US Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

Edited from various sources by Elizabeth Corner

Sources: YahooHouston Chronicle

Published on 05/06/2015

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