The 24-inch pipeline that originates in Owensboro, Ky., is a primary crude supply system to the refinery in Catlettsburg, Ky. The Owensboro to Catlettsburg (OWC) pipeline was originally constructed in 1973. Rocky terrain has contributed to pipeline integrity issues over time, thus requiring the replacement of more than 40 miles of pipe. Work on this project was completed in two phases.
Phase one, the replacement of a 27-mile segment running east from Lexington, Ky., was completed in September 2012. Over the course of this project, Marathon Pipe Line LLC (MPL) representatives participated in nearly 2,500 face-to-face discussions with landowners across the pipeline right of way to help address their concerns and meet specific requirements. This area of Kentucky features several horse farms, two of which were crossed during construction. MPL worked directly with the farm managers to make arrangements to keep horses away from work areas.
Phase two was completed in September 2013. Running through three counties in three sections from Mt. Sterling to Morehead, Ky., 15 miles of pipe were replaced using state-of-the-art technology and best practices for rocky terrain. This phase required 3,800 tons of steel pipe and 1,600 welds. More than 700 safety inspections and a hydrostatic pressure test (testing more than double the anticipated operating pressure) were completed to ensure the continued safe and reliable service from this pipeline.
The OWC replacement project is part of MPL’s comprehensive integrity management program. Thanks to the dedicated efforts of the construction team and all involved on the project, this pipeline system has an increased capacity and improved reliability for years to come.