Seismic risk and onshore pipeline portion of Sakhalin Energy investment company's Sakhalin-II Phase 2 project: UNANSWERED QUESTIONS

Seismic risk and onshore pipeline portion of Sakhalin Energy investment company's Sakhalin-II Phase 2 project: UNANSWERED QUESTIONS . – Moscow, 2004, 64 pages

The following conclusions and observations,based on the documentary record on the Sakhalin II Phase 2 project presented in the preceding sections and comparison with TAPS, are limited to (a)the seismic hazards associated with the SEIC project and ()the company ’s presentation of its plans for dealing with the problems associated with broad spectrum of seismic related hazards.

  1. Assessment of seismic hazards is characterized by a high degree of uncertainty.
  2. Sakhalin is an island of recognized high seismicity.
     
  3. The Sakhalin II Phase 2 pipeline route lies entirely within areas whose seismic intensity rating is 8 or higher on the MSK 64 scale. (A level 8 earthquake, generally understood to be severe, might cause houses to shift on foundations, chimneys to twist and fall and ground water levels to change.)
  4. Our review of SEIC data indicates than 25 percent of the pipeline route is to be buried in ground that bears a seismic intensity rating of 9 or higher on the MSK 64 scale. (A level 9 earthquake is liable to result in considerable damage to buildings and reservoirs, ground cracking and some underground pipes broken.)
  5. The Sakhalin II Phase 2 pipeline route will cross 22 identified active faults in buried mode, as well as 33 faults that SEIC apparently has classified as inactive.
  6. Although seismic issues have been a primary concern of individuals and nongovernmental organizations, SEIC ’s presentation of information on these issues has frequently been fragmented, less than clear, internally contradictory, out of date, vague and lacking in clear links to the technical support or foundations for the company’s approach to important questions.
  7. The Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) crosses three active faults. At the Denali Fault, the pipeline was placed above ground and engineered to handle isplacement of at least 20 feet laterally and five feet vertically.
  8. In contrast, TAPS engineers expect a normally buried pipeline to withstand ground displacement of two feet horizontally and two feet vertically without rupturing.
  9. One reason that TAPS survived the November 2003 earthquake without leaking is that the above ground fault crossing design enabled the pipeline to move as much as 18 feet laterally and five feet vertically during the quake.
  10. We have been unable to locate substantive analytical supporting documentation for SEIC ’s assertion. Richard A.Fineberg that buried pipelines can be engineered and constructed in a manner that will effectively mitigate Sakhalin’s high seismic risks.
 

Released at February 2004

Russian version is available

Electronic version of publication


 

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