Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Like A Locomotive Idling, or An Alien Spaceship Hovering

Countrymark oil called us about a year ago to see if we would make a deal for an easement in our tree plantation for a pumping station.  It would be less than an acre, but it would be there basically forever.  We said no, since we had the option to do that.  We were hoping they would put it far away, but a next-door landowner signed the deal with them.  There is a power line here providing three phase electric to a coal mine several miles away, so this is where they needed to place it.  The oil in this line is pumped at Johnsonville and ends up over in Indiana at a refinery.  The pressure in the line as it crosses us is about 600 psi, and these booster pumps send it on at about 1800 psi.  There are two pumps working parallel with five plungers each, and with 300 HP motors.  It is kind of neat to be there when they cut them in.  One pump will start rolling as they open the valves so oil goes through the the first one; then they kick on the power and it is running.  The second one starts up quietly, too as its valves are opened, then it is running; then the valve on the main line is closed and the motors, plungers, and valves are all doing their thing, making an odd little rhythmic noise that penetrates the house a quarter mile away. There are five plungers on each pump, and that means ten valves per pump.  Twenty valves are clicking on and off their seats all the time the pumps are running. You feel it as much as you hear it.  They put some big-ass lights over the whole thing, so we are really glad that we have our trees shielding us from that.  When I walk the dogs on a foggy morning the  lights are shining over the trees and the pumps are throbbing.  It sounds like aliens in a 1950's Sci-Fi movie are landing.


Merle said...

OOOHHH, I hope that pipeline never springs a leak!


David aka True Blue Sam said...

Same here! Twenty-some years ago there was an exposed section of this line. I was out squirrel hunting and sat on it. It was cold, and I realized it was being used. I called the oil company and they had not walked the line (installed by Shell way back in the '40s). They pressured it up and it held, so they started pushing crude through it. They replaced the line all the way through our ground; 3/4 mile. It is buried 5 feet down, and an airplane flies the line every day to make sure nobody is out here doing something dangerous.