Enterprise Products Partners L.P. announced that repairs to its Independence Trail natural gas pipeline in the Gulf of Mexico continue and the company currently expects the pipeline to be returned to service during the first half of June.
On April 9, Enterprise announced that operations on the Independence Hub platform and Independence Trail pipeline had been suspended due to a leak that appeared to be originating from a stainless steel o-ring located on the top flange of the FlexJoint™ in approximately 85 feet of water. The flex joint assembly connects the export pipeline to the platform. The initial repair work was to tighten the bolts around the flange adjacent to the stainless steel o-ring, repressure the pipeline and inspect for leaks. While greatly reduced, there was still a small leak that required proceeding with a second step in the repair process, which is to replace the o-ring.
To perform this work, a specialty plug is temporarily installed in the Independence Trail pipeline to isolate the flex joint from the pipeline while the o-ring is being replaced. While attempting to set this plug, a restriction in the interior diameter of a 20-inch tee fitting on the platform was encountered that prevented the plug from being installed. The tee has been removed from the platform and is currently being machined to increase the inside diameter and eliminate the restriction. Upon completion of the machining, the tee will be reinstalled on the Hub and the repair process will continue.
Due to the additional step of machining the tee, the anticipated date to resume operations at the Independence Hub platform and Trail pipeline has been delayed until the first half of June, provided there are no unexpected weather-related issues.
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