Someone sent me a pdf preview copy of this article from the Pipeline & Gas Journal. You can read the article at the link and I’ll provide the Cliff Notes version here.
A landowner in Central Texas had a 300′ pipeline buried on his land. The pipeline was no longer maintained and records showed it was abandoned but the original owner did admit ownership. The landowner wanted to build over the pipeline.
Here’s where it gets good:
An environmental subcontractor then called the landowner with the pipeline company’s solution. The subcontractor had been instructed by the pipeline company to remove the pipeline if the landowner was willing to pay for the $51,000 expense of removal. The landowner then asked me what I would charge to do the same job and I told him $1,000 to $1,500 as it looked to be about a day’s worth of work.
Unfortunately, the landowner was not able to hire our company because the abandoned pipeline was still the property of the pipeline company. The issue was ownership. The pipeline company claimed ownership, but did not assume responsibility for maintenance or removal of the pipeline. For some reason, the pipeline company determined that the landowner ought to be responsible for removal expenses and that a qualified environmental company of their choosing ought to be used for the removal. Why was this? Was there an unknown environmental hazard?
I know you will find this hard to believe but it seems there are no guidelines or regulations.