Natural Gas News – February 7, 2019
Fire Fuels Concerns Over Consumers’ Natural Gas System
The Detroit News reported: Last week’s fire at a Consumers Energy compressor station in Macomb County during a record-breaking cold snap exposed vulnerabilities — as well as strengths — in the system that supplies natural gas to 4.1 million Michiganians, experts say. The Jan. 30 blaze crippled the utility’s Armada Township facility, which supplies 64 percent of Consumers’ natural gas, leading Consumers to ask some large industrial customers to shut down and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to ask residents to turn down their thermostats to preserve a suddenly constricted supply. And while the company’s distribution system weathered the crisis, some experts believe such a breakdown will happen again — if not in Michigan, then elsewhere. Carl Weimer, executive director of the Bellingham, Washington-based Pipeline Safety Trust, which monitors natural gas pipeline issues nationally, said Consumers Energy handled the crisis appropriately, but added that the incident was not unique.
San Francisco Gas Explosion Shoots Fire That Burns Buildings
WECT News reported: A gas explosion in a San Francisco neighborhood shot flames into the air Wednesday and burned five buildings, sending panicked residents and workers fleeing into the streets. Utility crews put out the fire about three hours after private construction workers cut a natural gas line, igniting the towering flames, San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White said. Authorities initially said five workers were missing, but the entire construction crew was found safe, and no other injuries were reported. Officials evacuated several nearby buildings, including a medical clinic and apartment buildings, Hayes-White said. Vehicles on a busy street got rerouted as authorities cordoned off the bustling retail and residential neighborhood. The fire damaged a building housing Hong Kong Lounge II, a popular dim sum restaurant frequented by students at the University of San Francisco and tourists. The restaurant made many “best of” lists.