California pipeline resumes operations after leak shuts down fuel lines

by Jacob Fuller

Vicky Arias, FISM News

Pipeline operations resumed Saturday after a leak was discovered Thursday in a pipeline that carries fuel from southern California to areas in and around Las Vegas and Phoenix.

The company didn’t reveal how much material had leaked or the exact cause of the problem.

Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, the company that runs the affected pipelines, shut down the SFPP West and CalNev pipelines on Thursday after a leak was discovered to be originating in a pumping station in Long Beach, Calif., and by Saturday said operations were again functional.

“We have isolated the source of the release within our Watson Station in Long Beach, California,” a Kinder Morgan statement to ABC News said. “Restart activities are underway for Watson Station’s associated SFPP West and CalNev pipelines. We expect these pipelines to resume operations [Saturday] afternoon and begin delivering fuel to their respective market areas later today. We continue to be in close contact with our customers and the appropriate regulatory agencies as we work to resolve this issue.”

The CalNev pipeline is a “566-mile…pipeline system [that] transports gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel from Los Angeles, California … to terminals in Barstow, California, and Las Vegas, Nevada. The pipeline system also serves the Nellis Air Force Base [and] McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, Nev., and Edwards Air Force Base in the Mojave Desert in southeastern California.” The SFPP “West Line … is approximately 515 miles of primary pipeline and currently transports products from the Los Angeles Basin to Colton and Imperial, California, and Phoenix, Arizona.”

The leak caused Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo to issue a state of emergency on Saturday in order to “mitigate the impact of the California fuel pipeline leak in southern Nevada” so that the state could “receive federal waivers and resources … to increase [the] transportation of fuel by other means.”

Similarly, Clark County, Nev., which includes Las Vegas, also instituted a state of emergency to be able to receive fuel through other means.

Clark County explained that the “leak has not impacted the supply of fuel, but rather the method in which [the] fuel normally comes into southern Nevada.”

Both Clark County and the state of Nevada have decided to leave their states of emergency in place until they are sure the fuel is once again flowing normally.

Long lines at local gas stations were reported over the weekend as the public began to panic about running out of gas.

At one Sam’s Club gas station in Las Vegas, the line to fuel up was reportedly backed up for a quarter of a mile, according to NBC News.

Gov. Lombardo asked “Las Vegas residents to refrain from panic [fuel] buying” and Nye County, Nev. officials told residents to “delay fuel purchases if possible to allow supply to refill due to recent panic purchasing.”