A segment of pipe that supplies natural gas to the Bay Area exploded during a test Monday morning in a remote area near Bakersfield.
The pressure test was conducted on a mile long stretch of Line 300B around 9 a.m., according to PG&E officials. The seam in the 34-inch diameter pipe failed during a test to increase pressure. The pipe itself was laid in the ground in 1950.
Brittany Chord, spokeswoman with PG&E, said the tests, known as hydrostatic pressure tests, fill a pipe with water to apply nearly 1.5 times the normal pressure used in the pipe to identify weaknesses.
Monday’s explosion took occurred in a remote area outside Bakersfield in the middle of an alfalfa field, according to Chord. No one was injured in the explosion.
“This is exactly why we do these tests,” she said. “This is about finding weaknesses in our pipes. If they exist and it’s about replacing the segment.”
The pipe and its failure are similar to the pipe that exploded in San Bruno last year, killing 8 people.
Chord said hydrostatic tests have increased since the explosion in San Bruno. Since then, she said, more than 60 tests were conducted in 120 miles of pipe in the Bay Area and the Central Valley.
Pipes tested are similar to the one that exploded in San Bruno, Chord said. No other tests have resulted in an explosion.
Line 300B is a part of the company’s major transmission line that runs from Arizona to the transmission station in Milpitas.