The recent construction of a natural gas pipeline near Moab has caught the eye of many. Some watchdog groups are concerned about the addition to the landscape, while others welcome the site knowing that the pipeline will provide benefits to nearby residents.
Fidelity Exploration and Production Company received approval to construct the pipeline which will transport natural gas from oil wells near Dead Horse Point State Park, to a processing facility north of Moab. When complete, the line will measure approximately 24 miles long with only four miles of pipeline running underground.
Before construction began, the Bureau of Land Management authorized the right-of-way for the project. Before this was granted, a lengthy process took place which included a public comment period. During that time, the State of Utah issued a statement to the BLM in favor of the pipeline construction.
According to a statement written by Public Lands Policy Coordination Director Kathlene Clarke, the Governor’s Office supported the pipeline construction and marketing of the gas produced from the line. Clarke explained in the statement that “the proposal modifies an existing right-of-way to minimize and mitigate environmental impacts, while maximizing the ultimate economic recovery of oil and gas, consistent with Utah law which seeks to minimize the waste of oil and gas resources and limit the flaring of natural gas.”
Backed with support from the state and the go-ahead from the BLM, construction began. According to Fidelity, guidelines and regulations have been exceeded to ensure that the pipeline not only operates at optimal standards, but to also make sure that no safety issues arise in the future.
According to a statement by Fidelity spokesperson Tim Rasmussen, the company is building a pipeline that is over-designed for area conditions, in order to ensure public and operational safety. The main purpose of the pipeline is to provide additional natural gas used to heat homes and various other reasons.
Once complete, natural gas will flow at approximately 40 psi. This pressure is close to what car tires run, which means the pipeline will be classified as a low pressure system.
The company also decided to use a steel pipeline that has a 0.375 inch thick wall with a 12.75 inch outside diameter. These specifications easily meet environmental assessment requirements as indicated by the company spokesperson.
By using materials that exceed standards, Fidelity feels that the pipeline will benefit natural gas users while creating little to no impact on the environment.