Any new information on the Alaska Pipeline's Remediation Problems? Info re Gazprom? or other Vulnerable Oil and Gas Pipelines : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Does anyone have any new information (since the time of the Reuter's article in June) concerning the Alaska Pipeline's embedded system remediation problems? I would also welcome information concerning Gazprom and other particularly vulnerable oil and gas pipelines.

I may be organizing a summit in Washington, DC on Y2K and oil and gas pipelines soon. I would appreciate receiving suggestions and contact information concerning potential presenters and discussants.

Thanks very much.

-- Paula Gordon (, September 24, 1999



Good starting point might be the front page article in the Anchorage Daily News ( Thursday Sep 23 about the two top managers recently terminated due to safety issues that hit the press in June. Much of that story then was about safety issues other than embedded chips, if I remember correctly.

Best contact Chuck Hamel, industry watchdog and spokesman for the whistlewblowers and most knowledgeable on pipeine problems listed in article.

-- (, September 24, 1999.


Problems, there are no problems. Koski told me so.

Unless you want to discuss fix on failure procedures with these folks.

Just remind them they have only three days to fix the pipelines and off-shore facilities. ;-)

Seriously, your efforts are appreciated, but the folks in charge have rejected all your advice so far and it really is too late for everything except the screaming.

-- cgbg jr (, September 24, 1999.

The company I work for is an affiliate of the operator of the Alaskan pipeline. For what it's worth, they swear that TAPS is the one thing they are on top of for Y2K. I have no way to verify their progress or compliance status. I can attest to the fact that they are very aware of the issue. It's not a low priority. The company's survival is at stake and they know it.

-- Dog Gone (, September 24, 1999.

Another good place to start would be to get the name correct, it's:

ALYESKA Pipeline.

-Greybear, just being picky

-- Greybear (, September 24, 1999.

Maybe you should contact Bechtel Corporation, they were the contractors for the project and they might have some technical information for you. The pipeline was built in the late 60's--I worked on the project.

-- ~~~~ (, September 24, 1999.

The term "Alaska Pipeline" is well established in the common tongue. The pipeline is owned and operated by The Alyeska Pipeline Service Company. [ :- (

I found this exchange in a transcript of an NPR program on May 14, 1999 ( ves/990514.htm):

FITZPATRICK: However, a recent incident raises serious questions about the quality of Alyeska 's ongoing maintenance and repair operations. And its commitment to safety. It involves the most important environmental safeguard on the pipeline: the 62 remote control valves that shut like watertight doors of a ship during an emergency. Because the pipe holds enough oil to fill eight supertankers, these valves are vital to prevent the entire line from draining onto the tundra. Last fall Mr. Howitt abruptly suspended a project to upgrade the valves, when company inspectors found wiring that was not up to code. The complaints led to open feuds among workers in the field and harassment of the inspectors. Mr. Howitt ultimately replaced the project managers and clarified inspection standards and the work is set to resume soon. He insists the incident should not be cause for concern.

HOWITT: For me, in reality, shutting down some work should inspire confidence. You know, ideally the work should be perfect right from the start. But the fact that we have the guts to say I'm stopping the work because it's not the way I need to have it actually is, for me, if I was looking at another industry, that would inspire a lot of confidence.

FITZPATRICK: But the incident also suggests that a poisonous atmosphere lingers inside Alyeska . Eight years ago a Congressional investigation revealed a pattern of harassment and intimidation of employees who blew the whistle on safety concerns. Jerry Brossia, who direct a Federal-State oversight task force called the Joint Pipeline Office, worries that atmosphere hasn't completely changed.

BROSSIA: The corporate culture at Alyeska is still such that 35%, 40% of the people are afraid to report safety, integrity, environmental problems. So that indicates to me that the mindset and attitude is still a little shy of what it ought to be. If we were in the nuclear business, I don't think you'd feel very good if 35% or 40% of your employees were afraid to report a safety problem.

As usual, a whistle-blower's lot is not a happy one.

-- Tom Carey (, September 24, 1999.

You are not in a position to make sound assessments concerning the technical information that you have read about embedded systems. You are not even capable of knowing which information is real and which is speculation. The information you have used to judge the "embedded" situation is overwhelmingly based on guesswork and conjecture by persons who have no firsthand working knowledge of the subject.

Your "whitepapers" do nothing but propagate this misinformation on the subject.

The real reason that the "powers that be" are not yelling from the rooftops about the severity of the problem is the fact that the problem is not severe. As a matter of fact it is now minor at best.

As you, yourself do not have the knowledge of the subject of embedded chips/systems, you appear not have the ability to judge who imparts factual information.

If you accept the fact that XXX is an embedded chip/system expert mearly because you see it stated, without verifying their background and experience, then your opinions and writings on the subject should be disreguarded.

This fact causes your crediblity to be questioned, not only about embedded, but any other subject you "research" and write about. Perhaps you should write about subjects that you are familiar with and allow those who know what they rte talking about write aout those subjects.

Embedded chips/systems are not like politics, what they do and how they work is not open to discussion. No amount of speculation, opinions, white papers or discussions can change what they do or how they work.

O suggest you go to this site Rep ortand read 5.0 to 5.5 inclusive. A is A

-- Cherri (, September 24, 1999.

I suggest you go to this site:

-- Cherri (, September 24, 1999.

Thank you for all your work and I have read it. You may want to read this: LINK

-- Mike Lang (, September 24, 1999.


I found the following 2 articles on piplines:

Station Home Page & More Local Information

Whistleblower report released Anchorage, Sept. 22- A new report released Wednesday points to continued internal problems within the Alyeska Pipeline Service Co., six years after a team of whistleblowers first brought up the allegations. Now, Alyeskas president is re-committed to creating a more open atmosphere.

WHEN IT COMES TO EMPLOYEE concerns and morale, the 225-page report gives Alyeska a failing grade. The report admits concerns were raised to Trans Alaska Pipeline Service management, but were largely ignored. President and CEO Bob Malone is now reacting to those findings, spending time in Washington with members of Congress, assuring them the 800-mile pipeline is safe. He also says from this point forward, many of the walls at Alyeska are coming down. I have people whose behaviors are contrary to that, he said. That is unacceptable behavior, and I have said that if you cannot support these policies within the company and the direction set by your president, then youre no longer welcome in this company. New threats that heads are about to roll, but are the personnel changes for the better? Managers and personnel who have been concerned for years and tried to bring our concerns forward are going to be leaving so they wont be heard from, said Jim Sykes, Alaska Public Interest Research Group. Thats one way of looking at what might happen. Critics also point to promises Alyeska made five years ago to stop harassment, promises that are apparently still being broken. The report defends what theyve said all along. According to Sykes, The process is still the same: deny that theres a problem first; second, when its obvious that there is a problem and it cant be covered up, then it finally comes out. The ball now is clearly in Alyeskas court. While the report may not be the final solution, most agree its a step in the right direction.

A BLM audit in 1993 uncovered problems with Alyeskas own quality control program. Nearly 5,000 repair projects have been completed since then.

Whistle blower report released

September 24, 1999

Pipeline evaluation to broaden after rupture during test

by Brier Dudley Seattle Times staff reporter

Federal regulators, troubled by the rupture of Olympic Pipe Line during pressure tests last week, today ordered the company to broaden its safety testing beyond Bellingham.

Combined with the deadly June 10 spill from the pipeline there, the rupture renewed questions about the safety of aging pipes throughout Olympic's 400-mile system, and the adequacy of the company's testing.

"We're very concerned about that failure," said Pat Klinger, spokeswoman for the federal Office of Pipeline Safety.

The agency ordered Olympic to pressure test all sections of the pipe made from an older type of steel prone to failure. That includes most of the line from Whatcom County to Mount Vernon, and portions of the line south to Portland.

Olympic must also reduce pressure by 20 percent in its entire system until more is known about last weekend's failure.

Olympic spokeswoman Maggie Brown said the company had just received the order and was "trying to figure out what it means."

The order focuses on pipe made by Lone Star steel. If failures occur on older pipe made by other manufacturers, Olympic may have to test other sections as well.

Whatcom County Executive Pete Kremen on Monday asked the Office of Pipeline Safety to require testing countywide, then suggested that Skagit, Snohomish, King and Pierce counties do the same.

"I'm not an expert," Kremen said, "but it would seem to me there are serious questions about the integrity of the line both from an age perspective and construction, the fact that it's obsolete."

Snohomish County Executive Bob Drewel has asked the pipeline-safety agency for testing in his county. Pierce and Skagit officials were receptive to the idea, Kremen said, but he couldn't reach King County Executive Ron Sims.

Today's order adds to a long list of safety measures that Olympic must complete before it's allowed to restart the line through Bellingham, where 277,000 gallons of gasoline spilled June 10, killing two 10-year-old boys and an 18-year-old man.

Since then, the line has been closed south to Mount Vernon but continues delivering fuel from there to Seattle and Portland.

One requirement is testing to see whether the pipe can withstand the high pressures and occasional surges of normal operations.

Pipe failed test at 25%

The testing consists of filling the pipe with water, boosting pressure and holding it for at least eight hours. The pipeline agency ordered tests at operating pressure 25 percent greater than normal, but Bellingham demanded testing at 38 percent above normal. Today's order stipulates that testing to Mount Vernon be done at the level requested by Bellingham.

Last Saturday, the pipe split before it reached 25 percent above normal.

"It failed at less even than what we required," Klinger said. "The only good thing about it is it failed with water in it."

Initially, the pipeline agency ordered pressure testing from Mount Vernon to refineries north of Bellingham. Later, the agency agreed to let Olympic test pressure only in Bellingham and use electronic devices to check the pipe elsewhere.

Pressure tests are costly because the entire pipe must be excavated and thousands of gallons of water must be purchased. After a test, the water must be treated as hazardous waste because it contains fuel residue.

Concern about type of steel

Today's order also reflects unease about pipelines made of "electric resistance welded" steel, or ERW, produced before 1970.

Such pipe is prone to dramatic failures along welded seams, like the 6-foot-long split last weekend. It has been blamed for several accidents and is considered "highest potential risk," according to federal regulations.

Brown said almost all of the company's system - from Whatcom County to Portland - is made of pre-1970 welded steel, except for a branch from Renton to SeaTac. From Bellingham to Mount Vernon, most is Lone Star pipe. Some is used farther south, but Brown wasn't sure how much, and said various sections had been replaced over time.

The section that ruptured June 10 was the older pipe, but the failure didn't occur along a seam.

The Office of Pipeline Safety tried ordering pipeline companies to pressure-test all pre-1970 welded pipe after accidents in the mid-1980s, but the industry resisted. Under a compromise in 1994, the industry agreed to test older pipe in populated or environmentally sensitive areas by December 2000.

The rules still say "pressure testing is the only available technology for verifying the integrity of pre-1970 ERW and lap-welded pipelines, because it can detect the type of seam failures endemic to some ERW and all lap-welded pipe."

Olympic was exempt from the rules, however, because it pressure-tested when the pipe was installed in the mid-1960s.

New pipe installed by Olympic is pressure-tested both at the factory and in the ground, and it's thicker - a half-inch, as opposed to the 0.312-inch pipe that ruptured June 10 and last weekend.

Brier Dudley's phone message number is 206-515-5687.

Bellingham pipeline

-- Homer Beanfang (, September 24, 1999.


One more Gazprom:

Friday, Sep 24 at Prague 11:19 pm, N.Y. 05:19 pm Editor's Pick: Kosovo Crisis: U.S. Officials Expect Kosovo Independence. And for news and links on Hungary check out Hungary Country Info.

Back to Top Stories Main Page

Gazprom Opens Polish Stretch Of New Gas Line

CHELSTY, Poland, Sep 24, 1999 -- (Reuters) Russian gas giant Gazprom on Thursday officially opened the Polish stretch of a 3,200 mile (5,100 kilometer) gas pipeline which should one day connect Russia's Arctic to Britain.


-- Homer Beanfang (, September 24, 1999.

She asked for " Remediation Problems". Please don't make her assume rotten management and corrupt industry practices are Y2K failures! This crap is happening irreguardless of Y2K. As a matter of fact these problems have nothing to do with Y2K remediation.

-- Cherri (, September 24, 1999.

Cherri, You've berated an earlier post for not having the expertise to judge the extent of the embedded chip problem. What is your background/qualifications in this realm?

-- Downstreamer (, September 24, 1999.

Gartner Symposium: Embedded systems will not fall prey to Y2K bug
World Bank, Global Commodity Markets Report - October 15, 1998
Posted by Cherri ( on September 15, 1999

The risk of embedded systems crashing because of Y2K is based on ill informed and over hyped information, analyst company Gartner Group warned this week, encouraging users into unnecessary remediation work.

source: gx

Embedded Systems Fault Casebook
The Institution of Electrical Engineers
- May 1999

Index of results

Access control, eg-01, eg-02, eg-51, eg-53
Acid treatment, eg-84
Air conditioning, eg-13, eg-14, eg-15, eg-16 , eg-17, eg-18, eg-67
Audio monitor, eg-32

BMS, eg-03, eg-52, eg-53, eg-54, eg-55
Boilers, eg-14
Building management system, eg-03, eg-52, eg-53, eg-54, eg-55

Car park management, eg-24
Card access, eg-24, eg-01, eg-51, eg-53
Chart recorder, eg-26
Chemical, eg-58, eg-79
CNC, eg-39
Communications, eg-04, eg-13, eg-17, eg-23, eg-28, eg-30, eg-54
Custody transfer, eg-75, eg-78

Data loggers, eg-19, eg-20, eg-21, eg-25, eg-50, eg-68, eg-69, eg-70, eg-74,       eg-76
Date coding, eg-05, eg-06
DCS, eg-07, eg-08, eg-60, eg-61, eg-62, eg-63
Defibrillator, eg-49
Density analyser, eg-48
Detector, eg-35

Fire alarm and control, eg-03, eg-09, eg-10, eg-11, eg-12, eg-64, eg-65, eg-66
Fuel dispensing system, eg-77
Fuel pump, eg-36

Gas, eg-07, eg-35, eg-36, eg-48, eg-76
Gas flare stack, eg-80

Healthcare, eg-31, eg-32, eg-49
HVAC, eg-13, eg-14, eg-15, eg-16, eg-17, eg-18, eg-67

Intruder panel, eg-02

Keypads, eg-51

Logging, eg-19, eg-20, eg-21, eg-25, eg-50, eg-68, eg-69, eg-70, eg-74, eg-76

Metering, eg-47
Milling, eg-39, eg-58
Monitoring, eg-12, eg-17, eg-19, eg-20, eg-21, eg-25, eg-27, eg-32, eg-34, eg-42, eg-45, eg-50, eg-55, eg-58, eg-60, eg-66, eg-68, eg-69, eg-70, eg-76,eg-84

Packet switching, eg-23
PBX, eg-34
Petrochemical, eg-07
Photocopier, eg-29
PLC, eg-37, eg-38, eg-39, eg-40, eg-69, eg-79

Railways, eg-27, eg-28, eg-72
Recorders, eg-19
Robots, eg-40
Robotics, eg-59

Satellite dishes, eg-22
SCADA, eg-41, eg-42, eg-43, eg-44, eg-45, eg-79, eg-80, eg-81, eg-82
Scanning, eg-31
Security, eg-01, eg-51, eg-52
Smart instruments, eg-46, eg-47, eg-48, eg-83
Stand alone instrument, eg-49, eg-50
Surface mounting, eg-56, eg-57
Swipe cards, eg-53

Tape machine, eg-19, eg-30
Telephone, eg-34
Train describer, eg-72

Ultrasound, eg-31
UPS, eg-50

Vibration, eg-27, eg-76

Waste disposal, eg-26, eg-72, eg-84
Water leaks, eg-20
Weighbridge, eg-71
Weighing, eg-33, eg-46
Welding, eg-42

Source: http://www

-- anti-cherri (pits@piled.higher), September 24, 1999.

Such a typical tactic, putting up a long post to add chaff to the situation.

per the common definition of "embedded system", I have worked on and built and fixed more of them than probably half of the people on this forum have ever even seen.

So there... neener neener! That makes me a REAL expert on them.

-- Cherri (, September 24, 1999.

Cherri calls it "chaff." As in the aluminum strips the bombers dropped over Europe in WW2 to confuse the German radar.

Just at random I opened one of the links from the post Cherri sees as deceitful: Embedded Systems Fault Casebook (May 1999) EXAMPLE NO EG- 42 It reads


Equipment Type SCADA

Industry Sector Manufacturing

PC or Computer based No

System Age 2 Application Monitoring of high frequency welding equipment

Description of the Problem All data logging after Jan 1 2000 would be erased as "old" data How was it Identified Information from Website.

What was the Solution A software patch is available and will be installed by original supplier of equipment. This original supplier had been unaware of the problem and consequently will need to fix several hundred similar systems worldwide Consequences for the SYSTEM System Stops

Consequences of failure to the BUSINESS Loss of historical trending data and traceability for QA.

Read this in connection with the failures of pipe welding mentioned in earlier posts on this thread. Think of the miles of critical welds in nuclear plants. Lose "traceability for QA" and your business is dead, because you won't be able to assure your customers that your welds are sound. Nobody dies because of this. But your employees will be out of work.

Chaff is designed to obscure the facts. This particular item is by no means chaff. It's only one instance, of course. Possibly the "several hundred systems worldwide" have been fixed. Also possibly not.

I don't know thing one about embedded systems in any technical sense. But I can read. And I can put one fact next to another and make reasonable inferences from what I see. Cherri's certainty seems to lack real foundations.

-- Tom Carey (, September 24, 1999.

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