The Dangers Of Transporting Natural Gas
Transporting natural gas is a bit more complicated than moving crude oil. Crude oil, for example, can be transported in a lot of different ways, including by truck, barge, tanker, train, and pipeline. Natural gas, on the other hand, can only be moved via pipeline or liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers. Transporting gas through a pipeline, however, requires additional steps, like removing remaining liquid, compressing the gas, and measuring it. A lot of pressure is required to move natural gas, which in turn places a lot of wear and tear on the pipes and equipment used to move it. Failing to properly inspect or maintain these pipes can lead to high pressure-related accidents and serious injuries for oilfield workers.
Compression and Measurement
Natural gas needs to be compressed before it can be transported via pipeline, as it is the pressure in the pipe itself that actually pushes the gas through the line and to its final destination. Even once this has happened, however, compressor stations along the pipe’s route will need to continue to keep the pressure high, as it can fall when it travels due to:
- The friction between the gas and the pipe’s material;
- The meeting of different pipes; or
- The widening of the diameter of the pipe itself (to handle more volume).
The process of compressing gas is usually automatic, so the compressor can shut off if the system senses a sudden change in line pressure caused by a leak, break, or blockage in the pipe.
Unfortunately, the use of this specialized equipment doesn’t always prevent accidents. Internal erosion of lines, for instance, which occurs naturally over time, can still cause leaks or even line bursts, which in turn exposes workers to high-pressure hazards. The failure of connections on pipelines can cause an entire line to fail and can result in workers being struck by the burst pipe, resulting in catastrophic injuries. Compressed gases can also be toxic, as well as flammable, causing serious health conditions for workers who are exposed to, or inhale the gas and putting employees at risk of injury in the event of an explosion. Because the process of transporting natural gases is so dangerous, companies are required to comply with a host of safety regulations to keep their workers safe. A failure to abide by these rules could result in weak connections in pipelines, corrosion, and blockages from contaminants, all of which could put an employee at serious risk of injury.
Tulsa Oilfield Accident Lawyers
Natural gas production and transportation can be dangerous for workers, who could end up suffering catastrophic injuries if the proper safety protocols are not enforced, or if compression equipment suddenly fails. For help seeking compensation after this type of accident, don’t hesitate to reach out to the dedicated Tulsa oilfield accident attorneys at Levinson Law, P.C. today. You can reach a member of our legal team by calling 918-492-4433, or by sending us an online message. Complimentary consultations are available.