Oil and Gas Expert Witness: Operator Error Causes Dangerous Fire

Oil and Gas Expert WitnessThis claim involves a fire accident which occurred on an oil and gas site in Maryland. The pipeline in question was used for natural gas. In efforts to separate non gas liquids (NGLs), an outside contractor was hired to place a stabilizer for removal of all sludge and non-gas liquids. The contractor that was hired to place the stabilizer miscalculated the quantity of non-gas liquids which overwhelmed the pipeline; the stabilizer thus caused a spark and created a fire which spread through the facility and injured several workers. It is alleged that the vendor responsible for this element failed to adequately assess the circumstances which resulted in the accident.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Please explain your experience installing / overseeing the implementation of stabilizers for pipelines like the one described above?
  • 2. Have you ever overseen a project involving a stabilizer which resulted in a fire, like described above?
  • 3. Have you ever served as an expert witness on a case involving an incident similar to the one described above?

Expert Witness Response E-009248

I would be happy to review this case and feel I am very well qualified. I have spent time working on a pipeline construction site and oversaw the maintenance on safety stabilizers. I developed a course on Process Safety Engineering which discusses how Pressure Relief Valves (PRVs) need to be properly calibrated for appropriate response.  I am an NCCER Instructor for Pipeline Maintenance and have familiarity with stabilizers for pipelines. I also teach Fire Protection Engineering and can advise how to prevent flash fire as described above.  I have not served on a case of this particular type of incident but feel comfortable with the subject matter.  My background is on researching and discussing API and NFPA recommended practices and consensus standards that exist.

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