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Press Release

PUC Requires Remaining Life Study & Enhanced Public Reporting on Integrity of Sunoco’s Mariner East 1 Pipeline as Part of Leak Settlement

Published on 2/27/2020

Filed under: Gas

HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) took action today directing an independent “remaining life study” of the Mariner East 1 (ME1) pipeline crossing Pennsylvania, along with enhanced public reporting of pipeline integrity activities, in the wake of a pipeline leak near Morgantown, Berks County.

The Commission voted 5-0 today in favor of a motion by Chairman Gladys Brown Dutrieuille approving a joint settlement between the PUC’s independent Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement (I&E) and Sunoco Pipeline L.P. (Sunoco) – with modifications to enhance transparency – in response to a pipeline safety complaint regarding an April 2017 leak involving approximately 840 gallons of ethane and propane.

Key components of the settlement approved today include:

  • A remaining life study of ME1, to be conducted by an independent expert, intended to assess the longevity of the pipeline – including calculations regarding the remaining life of the pipeline; corrosion growth rates; a schedule of replacement or remediation work over the next five years; a list of specific threats and highest risks to the pipeline; and other factors detailed in the settlement – to be completed within six months of the independent expert being selected and contracted, and including a public summary of the expert’s findings. 
  • Annual reports from Sunoco to the PUC, for as long as ME1 remains in service transporting highly volatile liquids, as a supplement to the remaining life study, summarizing ongoing evaluations and assessments of pipeline integrity; a list of integrity enhancements performed during the prior year; and planned preventative actions and improvements for the coming year – to include public versions of these annual reports.
  • Surveys of ME1 for the next three years to evaluate the effectiveness of Sunoco’s corrosion control program – to be followed by discussions with I&E regarding corrosion analysis and inspection frequencies.
  • Annual progress reports by Sunoco to the PUC for the next three years, documenting compliance with the terms of the Commission’s Order and the settlement.
  • A $200,000 civil penalty for Sunoco, payable to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, to be paid within 30 days of the approval of the settlement.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities; ensures safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protects the public interest; educates consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; furthers economic development; and fosters new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner.

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Docket No.: C-2018-3006534




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