Plains Drafts HIPS Repair Plan
Plains All American Pipeline, L.P. on Monday issued an update regarding the crude oil release from the High Island Pipeline System ("HIPS"), which is operated by its subsidiary Plains Pipeline, L.P. ("Plains"). At approximately 6:30 a.m. on December 31, 2006, divers successfully sealed the seaward side of the ruptured pipeline located in the Gulf of Mexico approximately 30 miles south of Galveston, Texas. The landward side of the pipeline was sealed on December 27, 2006. The ends of the ruptured pipe were sealed using inflatable buoys to temporarily stop the flow of oil until permanent repairs can be made.
Greg L. Armstrong, Plains All American's Chairman and CEO, stated that "While we still have some work ahead of us, the joint response effort to mitigate and contain the release has now transitioned to a pipeline repair project managed by Plains. We want to express our appreciation to the U.S. Coast Guard, Texas General Land Office, Minerals Management Service and other agencies for the roles they played in helping our employees and contractors respond to the release. Notwithstanding that the incident occurred over the holiday season and during challenging weather conditions, the response was immediate and the attitudes were amazing. All work groups involved are to be commended."
Plains has developed a proposed work plan for the repair of the pipeline which it has submitted to the Minerals Management Service for approval. Once the approval has been obtained and appropriate notifications to other agencies are made, Plains intends to implement the plan and proceed with the pipeline repairs in accordance with applicable pipeline safety regulations, subject to customary mid-course adjustments and weather conditions. Until ongoing damage assessments and repair plans are finalized, an estimated completion time for permanent repairs and system start-up is unknown. The system will remain shut down until the repairs are completed. Aerial reconnaissance of the release site will continue during repair operations and a spill recovery vessel will remain on site while divers are working on the permanent repair.
The cause of the rupture is still under investigation; however, preliminary evidence obtained from a visual inspection by the dive team indicates that the pipeline was impacted by an outside force and that the rupture was not the result of normal operations. Plains is not currently in a position to quantify the financial impact of the rupture; however, it does not believe that the incident will have a material impact on the Partnership.
Plains All American Pipeline, L.P. is a publicly traded master limited partnership ("MLP") engaged in the transportation, storage, terminalling and marketing of crude oil, refined products and liquefied petroleum gas and other natural gas related petroleum products (together "LPG"). Through its 50% ownership in PAA/Vulcan Gas Storage LLC, the partnership also develops and operates natural gas storage facilities.
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