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US pipeline operator to pay an additional $1 million for 2018 blast, previously fined $30 million

20 July 2021

A unit of US pipeline operator Energy Transfer has agreed to pay a $1 million fine to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) to settle safety violations in relation to the September 2018 pipeline explosion on the Revolution natural gas pipeline in Western Pennsylvania.

Representative image: Shutterstock
Representative image: Shutterstock

Texas-based Energy Transfer was previously fined $30.6 million in January 2020 after signing an agreement with Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) which allowed Energy Transfer to resume its pursuit of environmental permits for its pipeline projects.

The explosion on the Revolution pipeline occurred on 10 September 2018, just days after it had been activated. Torrential rain and saturated ground caused a slip to occur near a 24-inch diameter gathering segment of the Revolution system which resulted in a rupture and subsequent blast that destroyed a nearby home and damaged several acres of woodland.

The Revolution pipeline has since returned to service on 1 March 2021, Energy Transfer has said. As part of the $1 million settlement with the PUC, Energy Transfer does not have to admit to violating safety regulations, however it is is required to conduct additional inspections and add pipeline start-up procedures, including 24-hour monitoring and having employees onsite at each valve station during start-up. The company will also conduct five annual inline inspections of the entire 40-mile pipeline and conduct inspections of the line after heavy rainfall.
In return, the PUC said it would not oppose the restart of the Revolution pipeline. Interested parties can file comments on the proposed settlement within 20 days.

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