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Intruder crosses fence, uses excavator at Transco compressor station in Virginia

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Intruder crosses fence, uses excavator at Transco compressor station in Virginia

An intruder entered a compressor station site in northern Virginia and used excavation equipment near Williams Cos. Inc. and WGL Holdings Inc. gas infrastructure, local law enforcement said.

"We're very fortunate [the person] didn't hit the gas line," Nathan Probus, the Prince William County Police Department's public information officer, said May 14.

The incident took place the night of May 10 or early May 11 in Manassas, Va. Probus said an unknown person crossed the fence that surrounds a compressor station operated by Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Co. LLC, a Williams affiliate. The intruder used on-site excavation equipment to dig a hole near the gas infrastructure but did not damage the nearby pipes or aboveground equipment, said Probus and Williams spokesman Keith Isbell.

"All Williams-owned compressor facilities including our Manassas, Virginia, property are inside protective fences. We are investigating to determine how the six-foot fence lined at the top with several additional inches of barbed wire was breached," Isbell said in a May 14 email.

Williams inspected the compressor facility and found no other signs of vandalism, Isbell added.

"From the best we can tell, there was no intention to try to dig up any particular gas line," Probus said.

Transco connects to a WGL subsidiary Washington Gas Light Co. pipeline close to the site, according to the National Pipeline Mapping System. Transco is a 10,200-mile interstate transmission pipeline system spanning from Texas to New York, with peak design capacity of 15 MMDth/d. Washington Gas serves more than 1 million gas utility customers in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and the Virginia State Corporation Commission did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the incident.