Pipelines

Pipelines are by far the safest means of transportation for crude oil, natural gas, natural gas liquids (NGL), and refined products. When compared to other transportation methods, pipelines have dramatically fewer hydrocarbon incidents that result in environmental damage, injuries or fatalities than do other transportation methods. The U.S. energy industry operates approximately 175,000 miles of onshore and offshore pipelines transporting crude oil and refined products pipelines, as well as 321,000 miles of natural gas transmission and gathering pipelines. The industry also operates over two million miles of pipelines for natural gas distribution, transmission, and delivery to industrial end users and retail consumers. Virtually all natural gas in the U.S. is transported by pipeline between the wellhead and end users. In contrast, only about 70 percent of crude oil and petroleum products are shipped by pipeline.

Pearson Adair & Co. engineers have direct, hands-on experience with the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of pipelines. Our consultants have investigated the causes of pipeline leaks and the associated costs for response, cleanup, and repair as well as completed assessments of the commercial costs and business interruption losses that result. We are frequently retained to complete analyses, formulate expert testimony, provide evidence and testify in international construction disputes, state and local courts, arbitrations and mediations. In addition, we maintain the tools and expertise to evaluate the design and capacity of complex pipeline networks in different operating configurations and under different supply/demand conditions. We have experience analyzing liquid, gas, multi-phase and dense-phase pipelines worldwide, and our analyses and expert opinions have been relied upon by shippers, investors, investment banks, regulatory bodies, courts of law, legislators, pipeline operators, and other stakeholders with pipeline interests.

Arbitration of Refinery and Pipeline Construction Dispute

Reviewed numerous allegations of construction and design defects, including pipeline corrosion, welding, and testing issues, on behalf of an E&C contractor involved in a lump sum US$1.6 billion refinery and pipeline project in Mexico. Assessed numerous outstanding work order claims with reference to the contractual framework as well as normal industry practice. Provided expert reports and testified in ICC arbitration hearing.

 

NGL Pipeline Failure

Investigated the cause of an NGL pipeline failure and explosion. Determined the leak was initiated by the failure of a downstream main line gate valve. Reviewed the actions required to return the pipeline to service based on a Corrective Action Order and Department of Transportation (DOT) regulation. Calculated a business interruption claim for lost NGL production from a gas processing facility served by the NGL pipeline.

 

Evaluation of Property Loss and Business Interruption Claim

Retained as a consulting expert in litigation involving line failure on one of the world’s largest crude and products pipeline system. Issues included repair requirements and practices, actual property losses, and review of subsequent loss recovery by the operator.

 

Carbon Dioxide Pipeline

Reviewed the design and calculated the capacity of an 800 million standard cubic feet per day (MMscf/d) carbon dioxide pipeline from Donaldsonville, Louisiana, to Alvin, Texas. Evaluated the capacity and costs of alternative smaller designs that could still achieve 400 MMscf/d needed for the Texas enhanced oil recovery project.

 

Petroleum Product Pipeline Explosion

Investigated the cause of a motor gasoline leak and subsequent explosion and fire in northwest Washington. Witnessed excavation of damaged pipe by the National Transportation Safety Board and evaluated pipeline system design, maintenance, and operation.

 

Proposed LPG Pipeline

Completed market study and evaluation of existing LPG markets in the upper Midwestern U.S. Provided assessment of value of potential project to convert existing pipeline systems to LPG distribution network.

 

NGL Pipeline Risk Assessment

Reviewed the design and anticipated operation of a 12-inch pipeline extending from North Dakota to Colorado, on behalf of an NGL pipeline operator. Confirmed that operator had completed its evaluation of all relevant risks of pipeline spills. Testified at pipeline condemnation hearing on the properties of Y-Grade NGL and its behavior in different pipeline leak scenarios.

 

Pipeline and Compressor Station Construction

On behalf of owner consortium, provided consulting and expert analysis of deficiency claims made by owner against EPC contractor on pipeline and compressor station construction project in West Africa. Claims included engineering drawing deficiencies, piping interferences, equipment procured/installed incorrectly, inadequate equipment preservation, and inadequate control system.

 

Refined Petroleum Products Pipeline Leak

Investigated the volume and origination of motor gasoline spilled from a ruptured products pipeline in Texas. Utilized SCADA data to locate product batches, and determined leaked volume based on gravity drainage and siphoning effect. Demonstrated that client’s product was not involved in spill.

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