January 28, 2013
NiSource Executive Addresses Pipeline Safety during Congressional Field Hearing in West Virginia
Provides information on company’s modernization plan to improve public safety, service and reliability; Discusses Integrity Assurance Plan for line SM-80’s safe return to service and long-term integrity
- Media Contact: Chevalier Mayes, 713-267-4732, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Note: Staton’s full testimony and information on Columbia’s modernization plan can be found here.
NiSource Gas Transmission and Storage (NGT&S) executive vice president and group CEO, Jimmy D. Staton, shared information on Columbia Gas Transmission’s plans and commitment to ensure pipeline safety in West Virginia and across its entire footprint during a congressional field hearing in Charleston, West Virginia.
Staton appeared before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation to discuss the current state of pipeline safety and provide a detailed review of a comprehensive effort by NGT&S subsidiary Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC (Columbia) to greatly improve the safety and reliability of its roughly 12,000-mile pipeline system.
“Aligning our efforts with the ‘Call to Action’ issued by U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to interstate pipeline operators, we developed a modernization plan that accelerates pipeline safety investments and upgrades,” Staton said. “Our modernization effort is designed to strategically renovate key pipeline and compression facilities across our entire system.”
A number of the company’s modernization projects will occur in West Virginia. One of the largest of those projects – the WB Pipeline System Efficiency Project – will upgrade segments of pipeline and compression facilities to accommodate in-line inspection equipment and improve environmental performance.
In addition to its modernization efforts, Staton provided details on Columbia’s Integrity Assurance Plan to safely restart Line SM-80. At first Line SM-80 will be returned to limited service in order to facilitate an internal “smart pig” inspection and a comprehensive integrity assessment before returning the line to full service.
Line SM-80 is an important part of a pipeline system that supplies natural gas to West Virginia and other critical Eastern markets. Line SM-80 will be returned to service upon approval from the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). Columbia Gas Transmission has elected to hire an independent monitor experienced in pipeline safety and integrity related issues to review the Integrity Assurance Plan and provide feedback to PHMSA on its effectiveness.