A construction crew “accidentally pierced” Shell’s pipeline on Thursday afternoon, resulting in a 364 barrel oil spill on a property in Port Neches, Texas near the intersection of Highway 136 and Interstate 366 (about 100 miles east of Houston). Emergency crews were deployed to the scene and are using absorbent booms to contain the oil. The scale of environmental damage to the property is not immediately known.
The Houma-to-Houston line transports 360,000-barrels-per-day from Port Neches and terminates in Houma, Louisiana. Last year, Shell completed a reversal of the pipeline’s flows. It now carries oil from Texas to Houma. Shell discovered another leak near one of the pipeline’s pumping stations in Channelview, Texas, in February.
These types of risks must be considered when property is condemned for a pipeline. As the Texas Supreme Court explained in Zwahr, eminent domain is the property owner’s one-and-only chance to be made “whole.”