Shell’s Ho-Ho Pipeline Shut Down After a Leak in Texas

Source: Thinkstock

Royal Dutch Shell plc (NYSE:RDS.A) said that its construction crew workers punctured a hole in its Houston-Houma pipeline; the pipeline, known as the Ho-Ho line in southeastern Texas, leaked about 364 barrels of oil on Thursday after the accident, according to Reuters and Wall Street Journal reports Friday.

The accident occurred in an open pasture on the Huntsman plant property in Port Neches, Texas; a Shell spokesperson, Destin Singleton, said that the pipeline, which transports oil from Texas east into Louisiana, was shut down immediately following the incident. Emergency crews and first responders were deployed to the site and are currently utilizing absorbent booms to contain the oil, Shell said.

Charles Downs, the Huntsman shift supervisor said the break happened at about 3:30 p.m. or 4:00 p.m. on Thursday and that no one had been injured; he said the spill hasn’t affected operations at the Huntsman plant, although the pipeline has been shut down, according to local news source KFDM, which is based in Southeastern Texas.

Shell’s original statement announcing the spill on Friday notes that, “A release of any amount of oil is something Shell takes very seriously. We will continue to work closely with federal, state, and local authorities as we move forward in our response efforts. Protection of the workers, the communities where we operate and the environment remain our top priorities.”

The Ho-Ho includes a 360,000 barrel-a-day pipeline that runs from Port Neches, Texas to Houma, Louisiana, as well as a 500,000 bpd pipeline that runs from Houma to the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port’s (LOOP) hub in Clovelly, Lousiana, according to Reuters. Yet another segment of pipeline carries 300,00 bpd from Houma to St. James, Louisiana.

Up until last year, the Ho-Ho pipeline flowed west rather than east, from Houma to an offshore oil industry center in the Gulf of Mexico, to oil refineries in Houston, Texas, but the company reversed the flow of oil eastwards in order, on account of the growing volume of oil coming from onshore oil fields. Shell finished the pipeline’s reversal in December, per the Wall Street Journal.

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