PHMSA would fine Transco $1.6M for fatal 2015 Louisiana compressor station explosion

Aug. 3, 2016

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has proposed $1.6 million in civil penalties and issued a Notice of Probable Violation (NOPV) and a Proposed Compliance Order to the Transcontinental Pipeline Company (Transco) for violations of the federal pipeline safety regulations.

The actions are related to an October 8, 2015 incident resulting in the deaths of four Transco employees due to a series of explosions and a fire. Nearby residences were also evacuated and a state highway was closed. The Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company LLC is a subsidiary of Williams Partners LP, which owns and operates more than 33,000 miles of pipelines nationwide.

PHMSA’s investigation into the cause of the October incident near Bayou Black LA, reportedly uncovered five alleged instances of noncompliance with federal pipeline safety regulations. 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 contain 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 LA and Houma LA near Bayou Black, where it receives unprocessed natural gas via pipelines from offshore producers in the Gulf of Mexico.