GOLETA, Calif., JUNE 3, 2015 – Plains Pipeline, L.P. announced today it has received an amendment to the Corrective Action Order (CAO) previously filed by the Department of Transportations’ Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Administration (PHMSA). The amendment outlines PHMSA’s preliminary findings of the information it has reviewed to date regarding the Line 901 Incident. During inspection of the release site of the affected section of Line 901, PHMSA inspectors noted external corrosion and a six-inch opening near the bottom of the pipe.
In its filing, PHMSA noted that Plains had employed an adequate level of cathodic protection on the pipe and that “external corrosion with CP (cathodic protection) at this level would not be expected.” PHMSA also noted that the recent inline inspection of the pipeline had returned preliminary findings that indicated the wall of the pipeline was thicker than what the third-party metallurgist initially observed at the point of the breach.
Plains is committed to working with PHMSA to understand the differences between these preliminary findings, to determine why the corrosion developed and to determine the cause of the incident.
Within the amended CAO, PHMSA has characterized the failure of Line 901 as a “rupture” and noted that external corrosion is apparent at the failure site. While there is visual evidence of external corrosion at the failure site, Plains will not know the true physical and chemical characteristics of the failure or the apparent corrosion until the ongoing investigation, including the metallurgical analysis, is completed.
The amendment also requires further testing on Line 903, a pipeline of similar composition, connected to Line 901, before it is restarted. Prior to receiving the amended CAO, Plains had proactively taken Line 903 out of commercial service.
Plains will fulfill all the steps outlined by PHMSA’s amended order and take any necessary actions to ensure the integrity of both Line 901 and Line 903.