UPDATE: Oil pipeline inspection underway at Oologah Lake
Mark Friedel Staff Reporter
A routine maintenance inspection of an oil pipeline below the floor of Oologah Lake is currently underway, according to information provided by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers Tulsa District.
The pipe inspection site, located northeast of Goose Island, is part of the Ozark Pipeline, which currently transports light crude oil from Cushing to Wood River, Ill.
Oologah Lake currently supplies water to several local municipalities, including Claremore and parts of Tulsa.
Enbridge Pipelines, LLC is visually inspecting a 40-foot section of the submerged pipeline, stretching 8,000 feet below 30 feet of water, said Enbridge Project Manager Corey Dahlin.
Enbridge routinely performs in-line inspections, according to the maintenance project report.
A barge was launched Friday in the lake and a target area for the inspection was marked by anchors to ensure that the barge does not move during white caps or windy weather.
“Anytime on our mainline pipes when we expect some sort of anomoly, we like to get down to the pipeline itself for inspection,” said Dahlin.
“We currently have two divers down there inspecting the coating, which they will then remove and inspect the pipe itself. Afterwards we will perform a non-destructive testing using ulstrasonics under water to see if there are any extra metal in the pipelines or cracks in the pipeline.”
Oil will be shut off during the inspection for any repairs that need to made.
“If there any areas in need of repair, then we do have the correct repair methods to make sure that the particular part is working properly,” he said.
Enbridge contacts local community leaders, elected officials and regulatory agencies prior to any pipeline work.
“Right now the pipeline is full of nitrogen, so if anything were to happen to the pipeline, no oil would be released,” said Dahlin. “We still want to take every precaution and have every detail planned out to a T.”
Dahlin said because the pipeline is submerged, divers, operators and personel began planning for the inspection months in advance, determining the most effective way to minimize recreational traffic.
“With the lake as muddy as it is there is little visibility under water. A lot of the work that these divers are doing is by feel, which does present some challenges,” he said. “but these guys are very experienced and know what they’re doing and so far we’re making great timing.”
Video cameras and live audio feeds have been placed in the work area of the divers, updating Enbridge workers of everything related to the process.
The inspection/repair process, from beginning to end, is expected to last until June 24, said Dahlin.
“The pipeline’s existence pre-dates the impoundment of the lake,” said Oologah Lake Manager Allen Ryan.
“We understand and support the proactive inspection and repair, viewing this as a preventative measure that is beneficial to the lake.”
Ryan said Oologah Lake management is allowing Enbridge to utilize a previously closed portion of Spencer Creek Recreation Area for staging and access in an effort to avoid any unnecessary impacts to recreation visitors.