Williams Partners NG Pipeline to Move Forward Despite New York’s Objections

New York’s denial of a water quality permit that had blocked Williams Partners natural gas pipeline project was cleared by Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The regulators ruled last Wednesday that the state Department of Environmental Conservation missed a one-year deadline when it rejected the permit in 2016.

After New York rejected a water quality permit over concerns for 250 streams, Williams appealed to federal courts. But after losing court challenges, Williams appealed to FERC. The 124-mile, 30-inch-wide pipeline would run from Pennsylvania’s shale gas fields to eastern New York.

The project still needs a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Williams spokesman Christopher Stockton said. He added that the project sponsors are evaluating their next steps.


Dominion Canceling Sweden Valley NatGas Project

Dominion Energy has pulled the plug on its $48 million Sweden Valley natural gas project, citing a protracted approval process by the FERC as the reason.

The Marcellus shale natural gas project from Pennsylvania to markets in Eastern Ohio will fall short on its contractual demands for its gas.

In a letter to FERC, Dominion said that the environmental assessment issued last August concluded "if Dominion constructs and operates the proposed facilities in accordance with its application and supplements, and the staff's recommended mitigation measures below, approval of the Project would not constitute a major federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment."

A former FERC commissioner said in an email that "in many cases, pipeline applicants request decision dates in order to be able to meet construction schedules and fulfill contractual obligations to the shippers who will transport natural gas using the newly constructed pipeline capacity."

Pipeline Tech Journal

Cheniere Energy Gets Approval to Introduce Feed Gas into Train 2

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission gave Cheniere Energy the permission to start introducing feed gas into a production unit known as Train 2 at Corpus Christi LNG exporter terminal, in an order issued on Monday morning.

The startup process for Train 2 began in January. FERC officials already gave permission to Cheniere two weeks ago to begin commercial operations for Train 1 at Corpus Christi LNG.

Cheniere is bringing its second production unit at Corpus Christi LNG at a time of growing exports. U.S. LNG producers exported a record 483 shipments of LNG in 2018, an 84 percent increase from the previous year, figures from the Department of Energy show.


$3.2B Appalachian Natural Gas Pipeline Gets Approval from FERC

U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has approved the full in-service of the Mountaineer XPress, a 170-mile natural gas pipeline project in West Virginia, TransCanada said on Friday.

The pipeline will increase natural gas capacity by 2.7 billion cubic feet per day. Together with related infrastructure such as new compressor stations and modifications to existing compressor stations, it will represent a total investment of US$3.2 billion. This will help link the Appalachian basin’s natural gas supplies and growing markets in the U.S. and beyond.

The approval of the full in-service of Mountaineer XPress will allow TransCanada to start partial in-service of its Gulf XPress Project, a network of seven new compressor stations in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi, which will significantly increase the reach of low-cost, U.S.-produced natural gas from the Appalachian Basin.

“Mountaineer XPress and Gulf XPress are extremely important to TransCanada as they provide much-needed takeaway capacity for our customers, while also growing our extensive footprint in the Appalachian Basin,” TransCanada President and CEO Russ Girling said.


Part of $3.2 Billion Mountaineer Xpress Natural Gas Pipeline in West Virginia Gets Approval to Be Put into Service

The FERC authorized TransCanada’s request on Monday to commence service on part of its 170 miles Mountaineer XPress natural gas pipeline in West Virginia. The approved portion of pipeline stretches about 21 miles in Marshall and Wetzel Counties.

The 2.6-billion cbfd Mountaineer pipeline project was about 45 percent complete and expected to be completely finished in February/March, the company said earlier this month.

The company also said that it plans to put its $600 million Gulf XPress gas pipeline into service along with Mountaineer. The 0.88-bcfd Gulf project includes seven new compressor stations in Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi.

The Mountaineer and Gulf projects are two of several pipes designed to connect growing output in the Marcellus and Utica shale basins in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio with customers elsewhere in the United States and Canada.


Enbridge Authorized to Place Cross-Border NatGas Pipeline into Service

Enbridge recently received an order from The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Thursday for the permission to put the cross-border natural gas pipeline into service.

Enbridge has received permission to put the cross-border natural gas pipeline into service after the FERC provided an order on Thursday.

The 165-mile Valley Crossing pipeline begins near the Agua Dulce hub near Corpus Christi and ends under the seafloor in the Gulf of Mexico just a few miles east of the mouth of the Rio Grande. The pipeline is designed to move 2.6 bcfd of natural gas.

Texas-Tuxpan Pipeline, a project that will move natural gas from the border to the Mexican state of Veracruz is also nearing completion.

The Valley Crossing Pipeline has been mechanically complete since October and has been awaiting the Mexican pipeline’s completion, an Enbridge spokesman confirmed.

Once the Texas-Tuxpan Pipeline and The Valley Crossing Pipeline are in operation, they will deliver natural gas from Texas to power plants in Mexico's interior.


Cheniere’s Corpus Christi Train 2 Gets Approval to Start Operating

Cheniere’s request to introduce gas and begin operation for the Corpus Christi LNG’s Train 2 fuel gas system has been approved by the FERC.

FERC noted that the approval does not grant Cheniere the authority to introduce hazardous fluids into other facilities at the LNG terminal.

The facility in Corpus Christi consists of three large-scale LNG production units and supporting infrastructure. Seven additional smaller trains have also been proposed.

Train 2 is expected to reach substantial completion in the second half of 2019 with Train 3 to follow in the second half of 2021.

LNG World News

Kinder Morgan Announces Successful Open Season on Roanoke Expansion Projects

Kinder Morgan announced a successful open season on its Roanoke Expansion project for the Plantation Pipe Line System, which received long-term committed volumes of 20,000 bpd.

“We are pleased with the successful Plantation Pipe Line open season and the opportunity to invest expansion capital to serve the Roanoke area’s needs with reliable transportation and storage services in projects that meet our investment criteria,” said Kinder Morgan’s president of Products pipelines.

Plantation Pipe Line will submit the Petition for Declaratory Order to the FERC for approval of commercial terms for the project. Pending all regulatory approvals, the project is expected to be in full service by April 1, 2020.

Business & Industry Connection

Cheniere Energy Requests Permission to Bring Billion Dollar Midship NatGas Pipeline in Oklahoma Into Service

Cheniere Energy Inc asked U.S. energy regulators on Friday for permission to start working on their $1.025 billion Midship natural gas pipeline in Oklahoma.

The company asked the FERC for authorization to start building the proposed 234-mile pipeline in three segments. The project is expected to be complete by early 2019, Cheniere said.

Midship is designed to deliver 1.44 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) of gas from the Anadarko basin to existing pipelines near Bennington, Oklahoma to transport liquefied natural gas to Gulf Coast and Southeast markets.

Expectation of total U.S. LNG export capacity should rise to 8.3 bcfd by the end of 2019 and 9.6 bcfd by the end of 2020 from 3.8 bcfd now.

Most of the U.S. LNG export terminals are located or being built along the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana and Texas


Enbridge Requests Putting More of TEAL NatGas Pipe Into Service

Enbridge on Wednesday, filed with the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission seeking to put the remaining part of its Texas Eastern Appalachian Lease (TEAL) Phase 1 natural gas pipeline in Ohio into service.

Enbridge expects to have the request for the last part of the $200 million project approved by Oct. 30.

The facilities Enbridge is seeking to put into service include close to 4.4 miles of new 36-inch pipe and other equipment.

The Teal project is one of several pipelines designed to connect the Marcellus and Utica shale basins in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio with customers in other parts of the U.S. and Canada.

Enbridge put part of TEAL into service on Oct. 9.


U.S. Approves Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline's Request to go in Service

A request by Williams Cos Inc’s Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Co (Transco) unit to put the Atlantic Sunrise natural gas pipeline from Pennsylvania to South Carolina into service, has been approved by U.S. federal energy regulators on Thursday.

The Atlantic Sunrise is designed to connect the Marcellus and Utica shale basins in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio with customers in other parts of the U.S. and Canada.

In a filing that approved the nearly $3 billion project’s start up, FERC said that Transco has “adequately stabilized the areas disturbed by construction and that restoration is proceeding satisfactorily.”

198 miles of new pipe, located mostly in Pennsylvania, will carry around 1.7 bcfd. Two new compressor stations and compressor station modification in five states will also be included in the project.

Cabot Oil & Gas Corp has secured about 1 bcfd of transport capacity on Atlantic Sunrise.

Williams said it started laying new pipe in Pennsylvania in September 2017. FERC authorized construction of the project in February 2017.


PHMSA and FERC Sign Memorandum of Understanding To Expedite LNG Permit Reviews

A memorandum of understanding to expedite coordination between the U.S. Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and the Federal Regulatory Commission during permit application reviews for proposed LNG export facilities has been signed by both parties on August 31.

PHMSA is responsible for standards governing the location and design of LNG facilities while FERC is responsible for determining if the proposed LNG facilities are in the public interest.

The MOU clarifies each agency’s responsibilities related to the application review process for potential LNG projects. PHMSA will encapsulate its findings in a letter of determination, which FERC will accept as the authoritative determination of proposed facility’s ability to comply with safety regulations.

“PHMSA’s LNG safety experts are fully prepared to analyze current and future project proposals, evaluate their potential impact on public safety, and reduce barriers to moving these projects forward,” PHMSA Administrator Skip Elliott said.

The agreement also refines information-sharing practices between the agencies. This includes documents, information, and data submitted by facility applicants, Elliot said.

Once FERC receives a determination letter, it will consider PHMSA’s findings in deciding whether an LNG export project is in the public interest. “FERC is pleased to collaborate with PHMSA to better leverage each agency’s expertise and to process LNG applications in the safest and most efficient way possible,” said FERC Chairman Kevin J. McIntyre.

Oil & Gas Journal

MVP Work Allowed to Resume After New FERC Conclusion

Federal regulators are allowing construction along most of the Mountain Valley Pipeline’s 303-mile route through West Virginia and Southwest Virginia to resume after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a stop-work order on the project less than a month ago.

In the Wednesday letter, FERC cited a recent U.S. Bureau of Land Management analysis concluding that the approved route through the Jefferson National Forest was the best of several alternatives.

The bureau was faulted for not adequately considering all the potential routes when the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down two key approvals for the natural gas pipeline to pass through the forest.

Director of FERC’s Office of Energy Projects wrote,” I authorize the resumption of construction for the project,” in a letter to Mountain Valley officials.

There is still a 3.5-mile stretch of pipeline that crosses national forest and will need new permits from the Forest Service prior to being worked on.

A Mountain Valley spokeswoman wrote in an email that FERC’s authorization “resolves the basis of the Stop Work Order issued on August 3, 2018, and also confirms that MVP’s existing route minimizes impacts to sensitive species and environmental, cultural, and historic resources” in the national forest.

“We are pleased that we will soon be able to bring back a significant amount of workers who were temporarily suspended from their duties on the project,” the email stated.


FERC Allows National Fuel Pipeline Project to Cross Stream

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has overruled the New York State Department of Environment Conservation’s (DEC) decision to deny National Fuel’s $455 million Northern Access Pipeline project from stream-crossing.

The FERC said in a Tuesday statement that it was pleased with the ruling and will start to develop a revised timeline for the project as well as a review of other relevant permits.

Opponents of the pipeline have been against the project since the beginning stages, and expected a different outcome based on previous FERC rulings of similar state-level decisions on waterways.

National Impact has hailed the project’s economic impact and its role in creating jobs as well as raising property tax assessments. The company also said that the project would open up critical new capacity to the northeastern United States.

Other lawsuits remain, and observers of the project believe that there are still a few hurdles that need to be addressed prior to continuing construction.

The Business Journals

FERC Orders Complete Halt of Mountain Valley Pipeline Construction

U.S. energy regulators have halted all construction of the Mountain Valley pipeline (MVP) in a filing on Friday.

MVP is one of several pipelines currently being constructed to connect growing output in Marcellus and Utica shale basins in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio with customers in other parts of the U.S. and Canada.

FERC said in its decision on Friday that is not certain whether or not BLM or Forest Service will ultimately approve the same route for the MVP.

“Should the agencies authorize alternative routes, (Mountain Valley) may need to revise substantial portions of the project route across non-federal lands, possibly requiring further authorizations and environmental review,” FERC said in its filing.

An EQT spokeswoman responded on Saturday to the FERC order saying that the company “respectfully disagrees with the breadth of the August 3 stop work order.”

“We will continue to work closely with all agencies to resolve these issues and look forward to continuing the safe construction of this important infrastructure project,” the spokeswoman added.


Companies Urge FERC to Quickly Approve Cheniere's Oklahoma Midship Pipeline

At least two exploration and production companies have asked U.S. federal energy regulators on Tuesday to expedite their approval of Cheniere Energy Inc’s proposed $1.025 billion Midship natural gas pipeline.

Gulfport Energy Corp and Marathon Oil Corp both told U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that Midship’s expedited approval is needed because of the lack of capability from current pipeline infrastructure to accommodate anticipated demand from the South-Central Oklahoma Oil Province, the Sooner Trend Anadarko Basin Canadian, and Kingfisher plays in the Anadarko basin in Oklahoma.  

“Delays in the project’s timely commencement of construction would create a detrimental delay in the ability of large quantities of stranded gas to reach the market, adversely impacting producers, shippers and consumers,” Gulfport said in a filing with FERC made available on Wednesday.

The Midship project is designed to deliver 1.44 billion cubic feet per day (bpd) of gas from the STACK and SCOOP plays in the Anadarko basin in Oklahoma to existing pipelines near Bennington, Oklahoma. 

LNG export capacity is expected to rise to 3.9 bcfd by year end and 8.7 bcfd by the end of next year, making the United States the third biggest LNG exporter by capacity.


Mountain Valley Pipeline Receives Sixth Citing for Failing to Contain Muddy Water Flow

For the sixth time, environmental regulators have cited Mountain Valley Pipeline for failing to contain muddy water flowing from construction sites.

A notice of violation was recently issued against Mountain Valley Pipeline by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, according to a filing Thursday with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. It marks the sixth time environmental regulators have cited the Pittsburgh company for failing to contain muddy water flow from construction sites.

A former senior environmental engineer for DEQ said that it’s “pretty extraordinary” for so many flaws to with erosion and sediment control devices to be present, especially with their purpose of preventing runoff from reaching streams and other sensitive natural resources along construction zone.

He added that “if it’s one and it’s an accident or an oversight, then yeah, you give them some slack…But if it continues to happen — two, three, five or eight times — that’s too many.”

Mountain Valley officials said they took corrective actions with most of the reported violations, however if problems persist, more serious enforcement actions could occur. Regulators have not taken those steps yet, but fines and stop-work orders have already been requested from one Virginia senator.

 “It is not an overstatement to say that science dictates that this pipeline cannot be safely built in this area,” the senator wrote in a letter to the governor dated Friday.

 “With or without controls, slopes at these grades are too steep and doomed to have mudslides and sediment erosion,” the letter stated. “In fact, MVP crosses some of the steepest terrain in the eastern United States with unstable, porous limestone ‘karst’ land filled with caves, sinkholes and landslides.”

Spokeswoman Natalie Cox could not be reached Monday for comments on the most recent reported notice of violation in West Virginia, but a letter from company attorneys sent to FERC said that the Mountain Valley has already addressed the issues raised in the notice.

The Roanoke Times

ETP's Rover NatGas Pipeline Construction Delayed by Ohio's EPA

Energy Transfer Partners LP said on Monday that the completion of their Rover natural gas pipeline was being delayed due to state environmental regulators in Ohio using a notice of violation related to the unapproved disposal of industrial waste.

According to the EPA’s July 11 filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency issued the violation after the ETP deposited “spent drilling mud” containing low levels of a chemical solvent called tetrachlorethene, or PCE, without approval.

PCE is used in dry cleaning of fabrics and is used in the manufacture of other chemicals.

“Ohio EPA’s filing of the (notice of violations) with FERC was not for any legitimate purpose, but rather was an attempt to cynically use the commission to once again delay the completion of this necessary project,” ETP said in its filing with the federal regulator on Monday.

The $4.2 billion Rover project was planned to be completed in November 2017, but numerous notices of violations led to delays and temporary stop-work orders. The project would carry up to 3.25 billion cubic feet per day of gas from the Marcellus and Utica shale region fields in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia to U.S. Midwest and Gulf Coast as well as Ontario, Canada.


Williams' Penn.- NY Constitution NatGas Pipe Denial to be Appealed

Williams Cos said on Thursday that they are still supported by their partners in the construction of the Constitution natural gas pipeline and that there would be an appeal for the federal energy regulators decision to prevent the project from being built.

The U.S FERC on Thursday decided that it would not revisit its decision in January where the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) refused to waive the state’s authority to issue a water quality certification for Constitution under the Clean Water Act.

“Now that the FERC has issued an order on our request for rehearing, we are free to proceed with our petition to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals for review of the FERC’s decision,” Williams spokesman said in an email.

Williams argued that the state waives its Clean Water Act certification rights when they fail to act within a reasonable amount of time. Williams filed with the DEC for the water permit in August, withdrew the application, and resubmitted it twice at the DEC’s request.

In April 2016, the DEC denied Williams’s application. After appealing that denial in federal court, the appeals court concluded it lacked jurisdiction and upheld the state’s decision. Supreme Court also declined to review the judgment of the appeals court.

If built, the pipeline would transport 0.65 billion cubic feet per day across 125-miles of pipeline.

With the delays, Williams initial estimated costs went from $684 million to as high as $875 million, according to local newspapers.

Williams said it would take close to a year to finish building the pipeline after it receives necessary approvals.



Leach Xpress NatGas Pipeline to Return to Service July 15

TransCanada Corp’s Columbia Gas Transmission has announced July 15 as the date it expects its Leach Xpress natural gas pipeline to resume service after it was damaged in a blast in West Virginia on June 7.

Federal pipeline safety regulators will first need to approve the returning service, Columbia Gas Transmission said in a Thursday notice given out to customers using the pipeline.

PHMSA gave Columbia 30 days to respond to a list of concerns that would improve the safety of the Leach Xpress. Those actions included mechanical and metallurgical testing as well as enhanced surveillance and monitoring, among other actions required.

Since the blast, Columbia identified six other areas that PHMSA said were concerning based on soil conditions and steep slopes. The soil condition was the cause of a landslide that put stress on the pipelines resulting in a blast, according to preliminary investigations.

Shutting down the Leach Xpress forced producers to find other pipes to ship gas out of Marcellus and Utica shale regions of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio.

The blast damaged sections of the pipe that could affect 1.3 billion cubic feet per day, which is enough energy to fuel more than 5 million U.S. homes a day.

Energy analysts said that the blast hardly affected Appalachian region’s overall output because of other pipes being found by different producers.