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This Crude Oil Pipeline Runs Proper Underneath South Austin

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There’s almost sufficient pipeline transporting crude oil and other chemicals buried below Texas to reach the moon and back. Last week, one small section of that infrastructure in Bastrop County was damaged by a upkeep crew. The end result was a spill of greater than 50,000 gallons of crude oil.

That wasn’t the primary time that particular pipeline, the Longhorn pipeline, raised issues in Central Texas.

The pipeline’s history can tell you a large number about how communities and pipelines change, and generally come in conflict. It was constructed to carry crude oil from the Permian Basin in West Texas to refineries in Houston way back within the 1950s – when the state was a completely completely different place.

Lawyer Bill Christian works on pipeline cases for landowners.
Credit Courtesy of Bill Christian
“Texas, clearly, is growing steadily in population and a few once-remote areas the place pipelines were the one thing in town at the moment are seeing communities spring up around them,” says Invoice Christian, a lawyer with Graves Dougherty Hearon & Moody who works on pipeline cases for landowners.

He says the Longhorn line truly went dormant for some years while Texas oil naphtha production slumped. Then within the ’90s, companies noticed a business alternative to reverse the pipeline’s stream and use it to ship fuel from Houston out west.

“When the Longhorn pipeline was put back in operation within the 1990s, a lot of people have been very shocked to see that it was practically of their backyards in South Austin,” Christian says.

One of those people was Austin-primarily based environmental engineer Lauren Ross.
“Actually, it was the [company that runs the pipeline that] originally approached me and said, ‘Will you’re employed for us ’” Ross says. “I consulted with some of my environmental allies, [asking] ‘Do you think that is a good idea ’ they usually stated, ‘No actually we’d like to rent you.’”

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Ross and her group fought the new plan — but misplaced. The pipeline converted to carrying gasoline in the early 2000s.

Then, about seven years ago, a new oil boom hit Texas, and the pipeline reverted to its authentic use. It again carries crude to Houston.

Christian says that is an essential lesson: “The use of the pipeline can change based in the marketplace conditions.”

It’s necessary due to the chance associated with totally different chemicals.
Ross says when she heard in regards yellowhead petroleum products review to the rupture in Bastrop last yellowhead petroleum products review week she was actually glad that it was crude oil and not gasoline, “because crude oil is just not as flammable, so it’s safer.”

She also imagines that the incident taught a lot of people in South Austin that a pipeline runs beneath them. It crosses into Austin across the Onion Creek neighborhood and runs west into Circle C.

However it’s not all built of the identical material.
When the pipeline was reopened round 20 years ago, Ross says, staff “did fully replace [the pipeline] by the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone and within the watershed of Pedernales River [with] state-of-the-artwork pipeline.”

“If you go to the Dove Springs neighborhood or to Bastrop, these items of pipe were not changed.”

A spokesperson for the corporate that now runs the Longhorn pipeline, Magellan Midstream Companions, told KUT the incident final week “was attributable to a contractor who broken the line with excavation tools. The accident had completely no correlation to the age of the pipeline.”

Magellan says the pipeline is already repaired and operating crude again. Regardless of such spills, consultants say, pipelines stay the safest approach to transport crude oil and other chemicals.