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PHMSA proposes fines for safety violations following fatal 2015 Transco compressor station explosion

08 August 2016

The US Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has proposed $1.6 million in civil penalties against Transco for violations of the Federal pipeline safety regulations. This follows an incident near Bayou Black, Louisiana, on October 8, 2015, which resulted in the deaths of four workers due to a series of explosions and a fire.

PHMSA said the fines, Notice of Probable Violation (NOPV) and Proposed Compliance Order were the result of an investigation into the cause of the October incident which uncovered five alleged instances of noncompliance with Federal pipeline safety regulations.

Transco is a subsidiary of Williams Partners which owns and operates more than 33,000 miles of pipelines nationwide.

The instances of noncompliance include failing to report all significant facts when reporting the incident to the National Response Center and performing welding on pipeline components that contained a combustible mixture of gas and air. The Proposed Compliance Order incorporates remedial actions that correspond to each alleged violation to ensure compliance with pipeline safety regulations and improve safety.

The Transco Compressor Station 62 facility is located between Gibson and Houma, LA near Bayou Black, where it receives unprocessed natural gas via pipelines from offshore producers in the Gulf of Mexico.

PHMSA develops and enforces regulations for the safe operation of the 2.6 million mile pipeline transportation system across the USA, as well as the nearly one million daily shipments of hazardous materials by land, sea, and air.

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