HIGHLAND LAKES NEWSPAPERS
Pipeline representatives are currently wrapping up private land agreements to make way for the construction of a second crude oil pipeline to cross Burnet County.
Enterprise Products Partners LP will begin construction in June to install another crude oil pipeline and spokesman Rick Rainey said the company is in the process of communicating with land owners about the path the pipeline will take.
Plans call for it to follow along the same corridor as the existing Seminole Pipeline in North Central Burnet County, Rainey said, further explaining that the new pipeline will cross the county a few miles north of Burnet in the northwest to southeast direction, including crossing US 281. It will stretch 416 miles from Midland to Sealy.
Rainey said that laying the Midland to Sealy pipeline adjacent to the existing line would "minimize the need to move into undisturbed areas. This will give residents a better idea where the pipeline will run."
"We're currently negotiating right-of-way agreements with landowners," Rainey said. "I haven't heard of any issues with the process. Each agreement takes into account the unique characteristics of the property."
Rainey said Enterprise has eminent domain powers, but rarely needs to use them.
"We have a good track record of reaching agreements with property owners," he said.
The new pipeline project was first announced in April 2015, he said. Expected completion will be the second quarter of 2017. The steel pipeline will be 24 inches in diameter and will be used to transport crude oil and condensate from the Permian Basin supply to markets on the Gulf Coast.
"There's still a lot of activity in the Permian Basin. There are over 200 drilling rigs active," Rainey said. "It will interconnect with the Midstream network in Sealy. It connects with the refineries in Houston, Beaumont and Port Arthur. It will provide access to export docks at the Houston ship channel."
The pipeline will run through Midland, Glasscock, Sterling, Coke, Runnels, Concho McCulloch, San Saba, Burnet, Bell, Milam, Williamson, Lee, Washington and Austin counties.
Rainey said the supply would facilitate continued development of domestic oil reserves. He added that 60 percent of the supply was already spoken for.
"The initial capacity would be 300,000 barrels a day," Rainey said. "The project is supported by contracts executed with shippers."
The capacity can be expanded to 450,000 barrels per day depending on demand.
"We expect by it's completion in 2017 it will be fully subscribed," Rainey said.
Following the finalization of necessary right-of-way agreements, Enterprise Products field representatives will be meeting with county officials and first responders to address safety issues closer to the date of ground-breaking on the construction project.
"We talked to the judge and commissioners in each of the counties along the route before discussing the project with landowners," Rainey said.
Burnet County Judge James Oakley said he had not yet been contacted about a meeting, but had received notice about the construction project in the mail.
Burnet Police Chief Paul Nelson and Burnet EMS Coordinator Lealand Raiford were not aware of the project, but plan to take part in future safety briefings with Enterprise representatives.
Up-to-date technology provides more monitoring options for Enterprise workers, Rainey said.
"We have a comprehensive monitoring program. Our pipeline conditions are monitored 24/7 from a remote location," he said, including data reflective of pressure and temperature. "It there are possible problems, we can shut down the pipeline remotely."
Rainey said rig inspections would be done from an aerial view, from the ground and within the pipe using a tool called a "smart pig" containing sensors that detect damages within the pipe.
"We have a group that provides updated information to residents living in close proximity to the pipeline, such as what to do if a problem arises, what to look for, et cetera," Rainey said. "Pipeline safety is still a team effort. We rely on the support of the local community."
The company also has Before You Dig' programs in place for contractors that do digging and excavation work, as well as residents who want to put in a swimming pool or dig a fence, and aren't sure whether they can dig in a certain location.
"We encourage them to call our 811 number," he said.
© Copyright (c) 2016 The Highlander, All rights reserved., source Newspapers