When pigs fly: Huntsman sues pipeline companies for damage from flying pig disc

Kelly Holleran Apr. 16, 2009, 6:25am

The Hunstman Petrochemical Corp. has filed suit against three pipeline service companies, alleging they were responsible for damage to its property.

Huntsman claims it hired Houston Pipe Line Company to work on its pipeline and facilities in April and May 2007, according to the complaint filed April 13 in Jefferson County District Court.

Houston Pipe Line is either now doing business as or affiliated with co-defendant Energy Transfer Partners. It hired another co-defendant, Lott Contractors, to perform the work for Huntsman.

While pigging a pipeline at Huntsman, a pigging disc being used by Lott Contractors employees shot out of one end of the pipeline and flew several hundred feet. It crashed into Huntsman's large propane tanks and related storage facilities, the complaint says.

Pigging in the maintenance of pipelines refers to the practice of using pipeline inspection gauges or "pigs" to perform various operations on a pipeline without stopping the flow of the product in the pipeline

"The flying 'pig disc' crashed into the propane tanks and the main control panel," the suit states. "The disc then ricocheted and hit another part of one the propane tanks."

Even though Huntsman has demanded the defendants to pay for damages, they have failed to keep their promise to reimburse the company.

"More specifically, when the damages first occurred, a notice was provided to the Defendants regarding the damages and HPL's agent promised to reimburse the Plaintiffs for all damages relating to the incident," the suit states. "As of this date, despite repeated requests, HPL has failed to reimburse the Plaintiffs for the damages."

Huntsman is seeking an unspecified judgment, plus pre- and post-judgment interest, costs, attorneys' fees and other relief to which it may be entitled.

It will be represented by Leanna Johnson and Jennifer C. Fisher of Orgain, Bell and Tucker in Beaumont.

The case has been assigned to Judge Bob Wortham, 58th District Court.

Jefferson County District Court case number: A183-768.

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