Friday, June 16, 2006

FERC Rejects Washington Gas Complaint Against Dominion

In addition to approving Dominion's expansion FERC also addressed gas quality and interchangeability issues involving Cove Point LNG and Washington Gas Light Company (WGL). Washington Gas accused Dominion's imported gas of being the culprit responsible for significant gas leaks in Prince George's County. The leaks led to a house explosion in District Heights, MD in 2005. Washington Gas claimed the chemical makeup of the imported gas caused the rubber seals in underground pipe fittings to shrink and leak. FERC rejected that contention.

FERC found that WGL used hot tar on pipeline couplings, resulting in corrosion and gas leaks. FERC believes WGL’s use of hot tar as a method of corrosion protection was a significant contributing factor that resulted in an increase in leak rates through Prince George’s County, MD. The FERC ruling stated: “We find the application of hot tar and the increase in operating pressures on WGL’s distribution system were the principal causative factors of the leaks experienced in Prince George’s County, MD since the reactivation of the Cove Point LNG Terminal.”

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