A major increase in oil and gas gathering pipelines in Texas has many concerned
over possible leaking and explosion risks. According to Houston Public
Media, gathering pipelines, or pipelines that gather oil or natural gas
from wells and connect to processing facilities or tanks miles away, have
increased in length by 33 percent in the past three years alone, with
more than 6,000 miles of such pipes being present throughout the Lone
While these pipelines have existed for years, the recent surge in oil and
gas drilling has led to many of these new lines to be installed in an
unregulated fashion. To make matters worse, increases in drilling have
caused pipelines of this nature to appear in far more urban areas rather
than being relegated to more remote areas.
According to Federal investigator Susan Fleming of the Government Accountability
Office, most gathering lines in rural areas are not regulated and have
grown in both number and diameter. While normally only a few inches thick
in diameter, some unregulated pipelines have been reported to be as large
as 36 inches, carrying pressure more akin to that of a transmission line.
Last year, one such large gas gathering line outside Cuero in South Texas
exploded, damaging power lines and melting portions of a roadway. In 2013,
a rupture and fire in East Texas led to the evacuation of a dozen homes.
Even further back in 2010, two construction workers lost their lives when
they hit a gathering line while working in a remote area of the Panhandle.
For more information on this story,
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