September 3, 2013

Oil pipelines monitored for safety

Source: Tulsa World (OK), September 1, 2013
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An array of computer monitors blinks with charts and graphs in a dark room at the south Tulsa headquarters of Explorer Pipeline. Employees are looking for even the slightest changes in pressure, outflow, anything that would indicate even the smallest discrepancy.

Above the monitors on the wall is a sign: “When in doubt, shut it down.”

“It’s always easier to be proactive and shut down than it is to regret it later on,” said Dave Ysebaert, president and CEO of Tulsa-based Explorer Pipeline. “The worst thing you can do is notice something and there was a leak and you were just pumping along and adding to it.”

Companies responsible for the transportation infrastructure of volatile crude and refined petroleum products take measures to protect their infrastructure and the public safety, Ysebaert said.

But incidents do occur.

A pipeline spill near Mayflower, Ark., earlier this year turned the yards and streets of a residential neighborhood pitch black with heavy crude oil sludge flowing through playground equipment.

On July 6, a train with 72 tanker cars full of North Dakota crude oil began to roll backward out of control, eventually crashing violently and exploding, destroying the downtown core of a small Quebec town and killing 47 people.

Just this year in Oklahoma, there have been 81 incidents involving crude oil at well sites, pipelines or other modes of transportation, according to the National Response Center database. The incidents range from a few barrels of oil and salt water spilled at a well site to up to 100 barrels of crude oil leaked from a BP pipeline in Osage County on July 26.…

March 14, 2011

WSJ: Quebec Halts Most Shale-Gas Activity After Inconclusive Environmental Assessment

Source: Dow Jones News Service, March 9, 2011
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The provincial Canadian government of Quebec said it would halt most new natural-gas exploration and development following an environmental assessment of shale-gas extraction that called for further studies, putting a fresh regulatory spotlight on the method amid recent environmental worries in the U.S.

The move also puts the brakes on a new and promising exploration play in Canada’s eastern region, where drillers have recently migrated to exploit the area’s shale-gas deposits-pockets of natural gas trapped in pores of shale rock. Shale-gas development has skyrocketed in the U.S., with companies flocking in recent years to long-ignored deposits in places like Pennsylvania, Texas and the Rocky Mountains.…

February 2, 2011


Source:, July 19, 2007
By: David Seifman, Jennifer Cook and Andy Geller

There may not be deadly asbestos in the “hot zone” on the East Side of Manhattan, but the city isn’t taking any chances.

It’s conducting exhaustive checks and keeping people out of the 30 buildings, mostly office structures, in the zone until officials are sure.

The possibility of asbestos contamination arose when a steam pipe – installed in 1924 – burst. Some pipes carrying steam through the city are wrapped in asbestos.

“The big fear that we have is there may or may not have been asbestos release,” Mayor Bloomberg said.

If there was such a release, it may have been washed away by the water that came with the steam, but city officials weren’t taking the risk lightly.

They were testing the air and the 42nd Street subway station at Grand Central.

Some cops were also giving face masks to building workers.…