Engineer explains danger of repurposing natural gas line

Published 12:14 pm Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Dear Editor,

As a retired metallurgical engineer living in Boyle County, I want to express my concern for the proposed conversion of Pipeline 100 from natural gas to natural gas liquids (NGLs).

This old pipeline laid  in 1944 is not safe to use for transmitting a heavier, explosive natural gas liquid that it was not designed for.

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I worked in steel mills in the early and mid 1950s and I know the quality of steel produced then that was the same as in the 1940s.

The refining ability of large electric arc and open hearth furnaces left various amounts of sulfur from the pig iron which had to be fixed by adding manganese to the bath making manganese\sulfide inclusions in the steel. Because of the solidifying  system in the ingots, these inclusions became grouped and then became stringers when the ingots were rolled out into plate for making pipe. When they are on or near  the edge, these stringers make the weld weaker and an easier site for corrosion.

So the question is not IF but WHEN will the 70+ year old pipe leak or split when transmitting a hazardous liquid of more weight and at a higher pressure than the pipe was designed for.

For our own safety, let us stand united against the conversion of this old natural gas pipeline to a carrier for natural gas liquids. . . .the waste product of fracking.

Charles S. Ferguson

Metallurgical Engineer, University of Cincinnati

Master of Business Administration, Marshall University

Fellow, American Society for Non-destructive Testing

Certified Quality Engineer