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Thursday, June 4, 2015

when companies are thought to regulate themselves...

California oil spill pipeline had been left to rust paper-thin

"An oil pipeline that ruptured and spilled an estimated 383,000 litres (101,000 gallons) of crude near Santa Barbara in May had been allowed to corrode to a tiny fraction of its original thickness, federal regulators have said. The preliminary findings released on Wednesday by the federal pipeline and hazardous materials safety administration point to a possible cause of the 19 May spill that blackened popular beaches and created a 14.5km (nine mile) oil slick in the Pacific Ocean. The agency said investigators found corrosion at the break site had degraded the pipe wall thickness to about 1.5mm (one-16th of an inch). The report also said the area of the pipeline that failed was close to three repairs that had been made because of corrosion after 2012 inspections.

The findings indicated that over 80% of the metal pipe wall had worn away over time because of corrosion, said Richard Kuprewicz, president of Accufacts Inc, which investigates pipeline incidents. “There is pipe that can survive 80% wall loss. When you’re over 80% there isn’t room for error at that level,” Kuprewicz said.
The line where the break occurred has been shut down indefinitely. California’s US senators issued a statement last week calling the response insufficient and demanding the operator, Plains All American Pipeline, explain what it did, and when, after firefighters discovered the leak from the company’s underground 64cm (24-inch) pipe."