Tennessee Gas Pipeline (TGPL) is a set of natural gas pipelines that run from the Texas and Louisiana coast through Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio and Pennsylvania to deliver natural gas in West Virginia, New Jersey, New York and New England. The 11,900-mile (19,200 km) long system is operated by the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan. It is one of the largest pipeline systems in the United States. Its FERC code is 9. TGP's PHMSA pipeline operator i.d. is 19160.
The first pipeline was constructed by Tennessee Gas Transmission Company (TGT) beginning in 1943. TGT-owner Tenneco eventually sold off this pipeline to El Paso Corporation which held it until 2012, selling it to Kinder Morgan.
In 2014, Kinder Morgan proposed Northeast Energy Direct Project (NED), a new branch with 117 miles (188 km) of greenfield pipeline from Pennsylvania to Wright, New York and 129 miles (208 km) of greenfield pipeline to Dracut, Massachusetts. The Kinder Morgan proposal met with immediate resistance from local and state officials, conservation organizations and more than twenty Massachusetts towns that the proposed pipeline would cross. Public and environmental safety was the primary concern, due to TGP's history of pipeline accidents. The pipeline route was heavily debated amid widespread refusal of Kinder Morgan's requests to survey the route. The area is heavily wooded in some areas and contains "sensitive eco-systems including conservation lands, wildlife reserves, state parks as well as farmland, towns and even crossing over or under the Connecticut River."
KM proposed that "approximately 91% of the NED Market Path Component would be co-located along existing utility corridors/adjacent to TGP mainline. The total project (both Supply and Market Path Components) would be 82% co-located." An alternative would be to follow the Massachusetts Turnpike highway system from western Massachusetts into Boston. This would reduce the environmental impact, while allowing natural gas to be transported.
Supporters claimed that the pipeline would have positive impacts. "The pipeline is not only a pipeline for natural gas, but it is a pipeline for new construction and jobs." KM claimed, "NED helps sustain electric grids, reduce emissions, lower energy costs and spur economic growth region-wide." The new pipeline would "bring up to 2.2 billion cubic feet per day (62×106 m3/d) of natural gas from the Marcellus shale fields to New England and Canadian markets." The planned pipeline was roughly 350 miles (560 km) long and would be 36 inches (910 mm) in diameter. The design would include "large, powerful compressor stations."
From 2006 to 2014, TGP had 92 "significant incidents" with their pipelines, resulting in $88,144,152 in property damage and 19 federal enforcement actions.
A "significant incident" results in any of the following consequences:fatality or injury requiring in-patient hospitalization
$50,000 or more in total costs, measured in 1984 dollars
liquid releases of five or more barrels ((55 USgal/barrel)
releases resulting in an unintentional fire or explosion.
From 2006 to 2013, federal inspectors were onsite at TGP locations for 383 days (more than a year) plus 98 days of accident investigations.
PHMSA failure reports from 2003–2012 include 45 TGP failures that caused $110,563,378 in property damage.
Overall, faulty infrastructure caused the majority of TGP's onshore gas transmission pipeline accidents. Corrosion (internal or external), equipment malfunctions, manufacturing defects, faulty welds and incorrect installation together accounted for 54% of leaks.
Failures may be escalating due to pipeline age.
On March 4, 1965, a 32-inch (810 mm) diameter TGPL gas transmission pipeline explosion, north of Natchitoches, Louisiana, killed 17 people, the deadliest gas transmission pipeline accident in U.S. history. This explosion and others of the era, led to PHMSA's formation in 1967.
Other TGP pipeline failures (leaks and explosions) occurred on January 13, 2004, March 23, 2005, December 29, 2005, on May 19, 2006, on July 22, 2006, on February 17, 2007, on September 2008, on November 20, 2010, on December 8, 2010, on February 10, 2011, on March 1, 2011, on November 16, 2011, on November 21, 2011, on January 14, 2012, on January 24, 2014 and on July 23, 1980.