17 August 2003

Valley Gas Pumps Run Dry

Most all of the gas stations in the Phoenix area vicinity are closed for business. Signs and yellow tape announcing "Out of Gas". Across the Valley, motorists are waiting in long lines, in some instances spending hours, at the few spots that do have gasoline. Governor Napolitano told KTAR radio host Michael Hagerty that supply was in existence, but distribution seems to be the problem. Tanker trucks are delivering gasoline to Phoenix from Tucson, as the pipeline, managed by Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, has been shut down for repairs. Some customers are reporting that pump prices have risen to close to $3 per gallon at some stations.

Yoy, one pipeline ruptures and the whole Phoenix motorists are crippled. Good Gates, what a tempting target for a plotting terrorist. With no refineries in Arizona, fuel must be piped in. But there are only two pipelines connected - one comes via Tucson from Texas and the other from Los Angeles.

And this news blurb from KFYI is comforting:

"Chuck" worked for Williams Pipeline from September 1999 to August 2000. His job was to place new fiber along the Kinder-Morgan pipeline that broke down over a week ago. He was shocked to see the condition of the 44-year-old pipeline. He says the pipeline is flaking and is ten years beyond the time for it to be replaced. The state Attorney General's office is in contact with the Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Department of Energy and other Attorneys General to monitor the supply and price situation.

It's probably going to take another week or two of testing before the pipeline can be reopened.

Another scary note - the July 30 rupture spewed 10,000 gallons of premium gasoline onto a construction site northwest of Tucson. A construction site for residential homes with occupied homes 200 feet away. Residents living in a subdivision near the rupture are understandably angry they weren't notified of the potential hazard.


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