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Mobile Gas’ Cast Iron Replacement Project on Target

Posted March 28, 2014

Mobile, Ala. – Mobile Gas, a Sempra Company, is on target to finish its pipeline replacement project by 2022. The natural gas utility in southwest Alabama is replacing its cast iron pipes with plastic ones.

Cast iron pipelines can operate safely and effectively for many decades, as long as they are not disturbed. However, as they age, they can become increasingly vulnerable to problems such as cracks from frost, leaks from joints or buckling from the pressure of street traffic, which could pose a threat to our customers’ safety.

In order to proactively address this potential threat, some state pipeline safety authorities have mandated operators to replace all or parts of their cast iron system. Alabama has yet to do so, but Mobile Gas voluntarily elected to begin its cast iron replacement project to help keep the community safe.

“We started tracking cast iron replacement in 1970 when the Department of Transportation first required system reporting,” said Peter Keegan, engineering director for Mobile Gas. “We knew safety was our top priority, so we formalized the process and made it a yearly goal to replace our cast iron pipelines, because it was the right thing to do.”

According to the Department of Transportation, cast iron pipelines are one of the oldest energy pipelines constructed in the United States. They were installed more than 60 years ago, and still deliver natural gas to homes and businesses today.

Over the next eight to 10 years, it will cost Mobile Gas $45 million to complete the cast iron replacement project. The company hopes to replace 152 miles of cast iron within its service territories by 2022. Mobile Gas’ engineering department, supported by an independent contractor, replaces approximately 20 miles of pipelines per year, which is on target for reaching its goal.