- Where does the natural gas transported in your pipeline come from?
- Will Maritimes be transporting LNG?
- What does a compressor station do?
- What is pipeline looping?
- What is the life expectancy of the pipeline?
- What is the process for pipeline construction?
- What agency oversees the safe maintenance and operation of a natural gas transmission line, and how do they fulfill their responsibility?
- What is the company's safety record?
- What restrictions on use of land are placed on landowners as part of the permanent easement?
- Are herbicides used along the pipeline corridor to control growth of vegetation?
Maritimes transports offshore and onshore natural gas as well as natural gas sourced from LNG imports to Canada. The sources include the Sable Offshore Energy Project off Nova Scotia's coast, Corridor Resources' McCully Project in southern New Brunswick, and the CanaportTM LNG Receiving and Re-gasification Terminal in Saint John, New Brunswick.
No. Maritimes only transports natural gas in a gaseous state; the pipeline system does not transport LNG. LNG is natural gas that has been cooled and condensed into a liquid for transportation or storage. At the LNG terminals in Saint John, New Brunswick, LNG will be vaporized and returned to its gaseous state before it is introduced into the Maritimes pipeline system to delivery points in Canada and the Northeastern United States.
A compressor station is necessary to move natural gas through the pipeline. Located at strategic points along the system, compressor stations maintain the pressure and velocity of the natural gas as it travels long distances through the pipeline.
Pipeline looping is a natural gas transmission pipeline running parallel to an existing pipeline generally separated by 25 feet from the existing pipeline for operating and safety reasons.
The pipeline is constructed to last virtually forever, through ongoing operation and maintenance of the system
Typically, the installation of the pipeline will follow these steps:
- Survey and mark the route and work area;
- Clear the work area of brush and trees;
- Grade the work area level and separate top soil, where required;
- Dig the trench for the pipeline;
- String the pipe along the right-of-way;
- Bend the pipe joints, as needed, to follow the contours of the terrain;
- Weld the pipe together;
- Coat the weld with fusion-bonded epoxy to provide cathodic protection and a waterproof seal;
- Visually inspect then x-ray the weld area to verify the integrity of the weld;
- Place the pipe in the trench and backfill;
- Conduct hydrostatic pressure testing to ensure the integrity of the pipe;
- Restore the grade of the work area to its previous contours;
- Conduct final clean up, restoration and seeding.
Special considerations are given to road crossings, stream crossings and sensitive environmental sites and site specific construction plans are required for residential areas with homes within 50 feet of the right-of-way.
The U.S. Department of Transportation ("U.S. DOT") is responsible for setting the regulations that govern the operation and maintenance of interstate natural gas pipelines. The pipeline is designed, constructed and operated to meet the safety requirements exclusively governed by the U.S. DOT.
Regional U.S. DOT representatives perform periodic inspections of the pipeline operator by reviewing records; operating and maintenance procedures; and the facilities to ensure that operating practices meet U.S. DOT regulations.
Safety is Maritimes' top priority. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the interstate natural gas pipeline system is the safest energy delivery system in the nation. The pipeline is designed, constructed and operates in accordance with safety requirements mandated by the U.S. DOT.
Interstate natural gas pipelines have been delivering natural gas throughout the northern regions of the United States and Canada for many years. Spectra Energy, the majority partner in the Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline, has more than 60 years experience designing, planning, constructing, operating and maintaining its 18,500 miles of natural gas transmission systems in the United States and Canada. Algonquin Gas Transmission, LLC, a Spectra Energy affiliate, has operated its pipeline system safely and without a significant incident in New England for more than 50 years. Maritimes' existing facilities in the United States extend through Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine to the Canadian border and have been operating safely, efficiently, and without incident since being placed into service in 1999.
Permanent structures are prohibited on the right-of-way because the ability to access and maintain the pipeline is impaired. Permanent structures include, but are not limited to, houses, trailers, mobile homes, poles, decks, tool sheds, garages, swimming pools, leach fields and septic tanks.
Fences may be placed on the right-of-way, provided Maritimes approval is received prior to installation. All fences must include a gate or gates with double locks to allow pipeline maintenance crews access to and passage along the right-of-way. Fence posts must be located a minimum of 5 feet away from the pipeline. Driveways, roads and parking lots on the right-of-way are generally permitted to be constructed subject to the approval of Maritimes. Maritimes may require test holes at the anticipated point of crossing to determine the depth of cover and the suitability of the soil surrounding the pipeline. Protective measures must be approved by Maritimes and installed prior to heavy equipment and trucks operating on or over the right-of-way. U.S. DOT regulations require Maritimes to maintain a safe amount of cover over the pipeline. Accordingly, the grade over the pipeline cannot be reduced or increased without the express written permission of Maritimes. Since the pipeline typically has a minimum of three feet of soil cover following restoration, farming may resume over the pipeline. Shrubs and bushes may be planted on the right-of-way provided they are less than four feet in height at maturity and are not within ten feet of the pipeline. Plants and trees that grow more than four feet in height cannot be permitted on the right-of-way. Tall plantings inhibit access and hinder aerial surveillance of the right-of-way. Underground utilities are allowed to cross the right-of-way provided the facilities are designed to clear the pipeline by no less than 12 inches, preferably below the pipeline. Detailed plans showing location and elevations must be submitted to Maritimes for review and approval prior to construction.
Herbicides may be used to control weeds on limited, unvegetated areas inside the fence lines at above-ground facilities but not along the pipeline corridor. Vegetation is primarily managed by mechanical methods.