It Isn't Easy Being a Pipeline
They are the work horses of the energy world, bringing fuel to those who use it (i.e. everybody.) Meanwhile you never hear about them unless something leaks, blows up or catches fire -- or unless a bunch of movie stars fly in, put up teepees, smear their faces with hastily improvised war paint, and do other photogenic things to block a pipeline's construction.
There's been a lot of pipeline news this week, all of it unfavorable as per usual. In the Southeast of the country we have workers battling a pipeline fire which has caused the pipeline to shut down, gas prices to rise, and reporters to flock.
Over in the Southwest, we have the usual suspect celebrities flying in to claim that a new pipeline will descrecrate ancient burial plots of local Native Americans. In the meantime construction has been halted and the builders may have to design a new route (a process that will cost millions one assumes.)
And over in this corner we have the Wall Street Journal warning that many American lines are butting up against their sell-by date and are therefore at higher risk for leaks, fires and all that stuff that makes them so unpopular.
Does this begin to look like a vicious cycle?
Here is the Journal on efforts the Colonial builders have made to be safe and secure:
"Colonial Pipeline has spent more than $95 million on an upgrade that has allowed the pipeline to carry more than 200,000 additional barrels a day since 2011. But the company would need to expand its capacity by another 300,000 to 500,000 barrels a day to meet demand, Chief Financial Officer Dave Doudna said in a 2015 interview. He said that would require a new pipeline, which would cost more than a billion dollars and face large regulatory hurdles."
“The permitting process takes a long time, the cost to build is expensive. And what you end up finding is that customers aren’t willing, or have not been willing to commit, for a period of 10 to 15 years,” he said. “I would say a lot of it is the regulatory environment we’re living in today.”
Expect more Demon Pipeline stories.