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EXCEL - IDEA: XBRL DOCUMENT - MPLX LPFinancial_Report.xls
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v2.4.0.6
Commitments and Contingencies
9 Months Ended
Sep. 30, 2012
Commitments and Contingencies

11. Commitments and Contingencies

We are the subject of, or a party to, a number of pending or threatened legal actions, contingencies and commitments involving a variety of matters, including laws and regulations relating to the environment. Some of these matters are discussed below. For matters for which we have not recorded an accrued liability, we are unable to estimate a range of possible losses for the reasons discussed in more detail below. However, the ultimate resolution of some of these contingencies could, individually or in the aggregate, be material.

Environmental matters – We are subject to federal, state and local laws and regulations relating to the environment. These laws generally provide for control of pollutants released into the environment and require responsible parties to undertake remediation of hazardous waste disposal sites. Penalties may be imposed for noncompliance.

At September 30, 2012 and December 31, 2011, accrued liabilities for remediation totaled $2.0 million and $2.3 million, respectively. At September 30, 2012 and December 31, 2011, it is reasonably possible that an estimated loss existed of up to $0.5 million in excess of the amount accrued for remediation. However, it is not presently possible to estimate the ultimate amount of all remediation costs that might be incurred or the penalties, if any, that may be imposed.

Administrative Proceedings—On August 24, 2010, the U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (“PHMSA”) issued a Notice of Probable Violation, Proposed Civil Penalty and Proposed Compliance Order to MPL related to an incident at St. James, Louisiana on March 10, 2009. In May 2012, we and PHMSA entered into a Consent Agreement and Order under which we agreed to pay a civil penalty of $842,650 and to undertake and complete (over a 42-month period) a Supplemental Safety and Environmental Project with a minimum cost of $305,000. The civil penalty of $842,650 was paid in May 2012.

Guarantees – We have entered into guarantees with maximum potential undiscounted payments totaling $1.6 million as of September 30, 2012, which consist of leases of vehicles extending through 2017 that contain general lease indemnities and guaranteed residual values.

Over the years, we have sold various assets in the normal course of our business. Certain of the related agreements contain performance and general guarantees, including guarantees regarding inaccuracies in representations, warranties, covenants and agreements, and environmental and general indemnifications that require us to perform upon the occurrence of a triggering event or condition. These guarantees and indemnifications are part of the normal course of selling assets. We are typically not able to calculate the maximum potential amount of future payments that could be made under such contractual provisions because of the variability inherent in the guarantees and indemnities. Most often, the nature of the guarantees and indemnities is such that there is no appropriate method for quantifying the exposure because the underlying triggering event has little or no past experience upon which a reasonable prediction of the outcome can be based.

 

Contractual commitments – At September 30, 2012, our contractual commitments to acquire property, plant and equipment totaled $11.4 million. Our contractual commitments at September 30, 2012 were primarily related to an upgrade project on our Patoka, Illinois to Catlettsburg, Kentucky crude oil pipeline system.