Dominion Energy Appeals to U.S. Supreme Court to Defend Atlantic Coast Pipeline

In December, the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed a permit allowing the Atlantic Coast natural gas pipeline to cross the Appalachian Trail in Virginia.

According to the court, the Forest Service does not have authority to give permission for pipeline construction on federal land, however Dominion Energy and the U.S. Department of Justice recently made an appeal to the Supreme Court to overturn this decision.

56 pipelines are already in place crossing through the Appalachian Trail, and if the Atlantic Coast pipeline is not allowed through, Dominion observes that it could make the Trail into a barrier between consumers in the east and resource-rich areas in the west.

Josh Price, senior analyst at Heigh Capital Markets, says, “We believe the [Supreme] Court may view this as an issue of national importance…if the court declines to take up the case or upholds the ruling, we anticipate [Atlantic Coast] owners may cancel the projects.”

Seeking Alpha

Trump Heads to Houston to Boost Oil and Gas Sector

President Donald Trump will travel to Houston Wednesday to announce executive orders aimed at speeding up pipeline and other energy projects and expanding oil and natural gas production, a senior White House official said.

The president is scheduled to appear at the International Union of Operating Engineers International Training and Education Center in Crosby, a union-run training facility spread over 265 acres. There he is expected to speak about how he plans to aid the United States' booming domestic oil and gas production and further shift away from foreign imports.

For now the White House won't release the exact details of the executive orders. But the senior official said they would streamline permitting and help energy companies to ”avoid unnecessary red tape."

"American families and businesses in states with energy restrictions will be able to access affordable and reliable domestic energy resources," the official said.

Record oil and gas production, led by Texas, has played a large role in both domestic and foreign policy for the Trump administration. U.S. crude oil production now at more than 12 million barrels a day has surpassed both Saudi Arabia and Russia.

Domestically, shale drilling boom has provided a boost to the economy in generally lowering energy costs for consumer and businesses and moving the country ever closer to a once unimaginable goal of becoming a net energy exporter.

Pipeline executives have urged Trump to assert federal authority over interstate pipelines and prevent states from blocking multi-billion dollar projects that are facing increasing uncertainty from investors.


Minnesota PUC Confirms Enbridge Energy's Line 3 Pipeline Approval

Enbridge Energy's proposed $7 billion Line 3 crude oil pipeline replacement gets final approval from Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, the company said on Wednesday. The PUC unanimously rejected the last pending petitions for reconsideration, including one from the state Commerce Department.

“The PUC confirmed its decision to approve the conditions placed on L3R’s (Line 3 Replacement) Certificate of Need – conditions meant to protect Minnesotans – allowing this critical energy infrastructure modernization project to move forward,” Enbridge said in a statement.

Since 1960s, Line 3 has carried Canadian crude from Alberta to Wisconsin and is currently operating at half its capacity. The Line 3 replacement would allow it to return to approved capacity of 760,000 barrels per day.

The PUC initially approved Enbridge’s plan to rebuild the aging 1,031-mile pipeline in June, but that decision was challenged by Minnesota’s governor in February.

The new line would cross Alberta, a corner of North Dakota and northern Minnesota to an Enbridge terminal in Superior, Wisconsin. Besides clearing the legal challenges, Calgary-based Enbridge also needs state and federal permits, which the company hopes to secure around end of the year.


Joint Venture to be formed by Williams and CPPIB on $3.8 Billion Marcellus-Utica Shale Gas

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board is joining with U.S. energy firm Williams Cos Inc. in a $3.8 billion joint venture to expand its presence in the North American natural gas market.

The joint venture includes Williams’ Ohio Valley Midstream system in the Marcellus shale basin and the Utica East Ohio Midstream system. Canada’s largest pension fund will have a 35 percent stake in the venture, with Williams holding the rest and operating the combined business, the companies said on Monday.

“This joint venture will provide CPPIB additional exposure to the attractive North American natural gas market, aligning with our growing focus on energy transition,” said Avik Dey, managing director, head of energy & resources, CPPIB.

Williams Cos Inc. holds pipeline assets in the Marcellus and Utica shale basins, the biggest gas-producing region in the United States.


FERC Approves $680M Project: 200-Mile Pipeline Moving NatGas from Oklahoma to Gulf Coast Will Connect to Kinder & Boardwalk Pipe

Cheniere Energy and a Washington D.C. private equity firm have received approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Wednesday to build the 200-mile Midship Pipeline. The project will move natural gas from Oklahoma to destinations along the Gulf Coast and southeastern United States in Oklahoma.

In a statement issued by the companies, $680 million in financing was secured for the 36-inch diameter natural gas pipeline and a notice was issued for contractors Strike LLC, M.G. Dyess, TRC Pipeline Services and Cenergy LLC to proceed with construction.

The Midship Pipeline is designed to move 1.4 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day from Oklahoma's SCOOP and STACK shale plays to delivery point just north of the Red River near Bennington, Oklahoma. The project is expected to be placed in service by the end of the year.

The pipeline will connect to Kinder Morgan's Midcontinent Express Pipeline and the Boardwalk Pipeline Partners-owned Gulf Crossing Pipeline, allowing natural gas from Oklahoma to move to the TexOk Hub near Atlanta, Texas and the Perryville Hub near Tallulah, Louisiana.


Open Season Extended on 650-Mile Jupiter Pipeline

Jupiter Energy extended an open season until May 31 for the 650-mile, 36-inch Jupiter pipeline stretching from the Permian to the Port of Brownsville.

“We're very pleased with the results of the initial open season period for the Jupiter Pipeline,” said Albert Johnson, president of Jupiter Pipeline. “The supplemental period validates our belief that the interest for transportation commitments on the pipeline is as substantial as expected.”

The pipeline will be originating near Crane, Texas, and Gardendale/Three Rivers, Texas and is the only pipeline out of the Permian Basin with access to all three deep water ports in Texas (Houston, Corpus Christi and Brownsville). It is expected to be operational in fourth quarter of 2020.

It will have direct access to a fully capable VLCC loading facility off coast at Brownsville, where the Jupiter Brownsville Terminal will consist of up to 10 million barrels of storage, three docks and an offshore VLCC loading facility.


Dominion Energy to Request Supreme Court Hearing For Pipeline Appeal

Lead pipeline developer Dominion Energy will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to hear its appeal after the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to reconsider a ruling tossing out a permit that would have allowed the 605-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline to cross two national forests, including parts of the Appalachian Trail, the company said on Tuesday.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a request for a full-court rehearing from Dominion Energy and the U.S. Forest Service on Monday. The company expects the filing of an appeal in the next 90 days.

According to a three judge panel that ruled in December, the Forest Service lacks the authority to authorize the trail crossing and had "abdicated its responsibility to preserve national forest resources" when it approved the pipeline, crossing the George Washington and Monongahela National Forests, as well as a right-of-way across the Appalachian Trial.

The lawsuit was filed by the Southern Environmental Law Center on behalf of the Sierra Club, Virginia Wilderness Committee and other environmental groups. They believe it is impossible to build the pipeline "without causing massive landslides and threatening the Appalachian Trail and our clean water."

The natural gas pipeline would originate in West Virginia and run through North Carolina and Virginia.


Longhorn Midstream Partnering with Old Ironsides Energy for Future Midstream Ventures

Longhorn Midstream Holdings LLC. has announced that it has partnered with Old Ironsides Energy LLC., a private oil and gas investment firm investing in private equity and drilling joint ventures. 

Longhorn Midstream Holdings is a newly formed Dallas based midstream oil and gas company and has been successfully developing and acquiring midstream assets in many regions including the Midland Basin, Ark-La-Tex, the Mid-Continent, and most recently the Denver-Julesburg and Delaware Basins, across all commodities.

Mike Davis, the Managing Partner & President of Longhorn Midstream Holdings said, "The extended team has proven our ability to cost-effectively and reliably provide integrated midstream services to our producer clients."

"Old Ironsides has successfully partnered with members of the Longhorn team across multiple ventures since 2009. We are thrilled to form another company around this impressive group to continue pursuing their proven midstream strategy," said Sean O'Neill, a Managing Partner at Old Ironsides Energy.


Noble Midstream Invests Nearly $500 Million in EPIC Pipeline

Noble Midstream Partners has purchased a 30 percent stake in the EPIC Crude Oil Pipeline as well as a 15 percent stake in the EPIC Y-Grade Pipeline. The stakes purchased are part of projects that will move crude oil and natural gas liquids from the Permian Basin to the Port of Corpus Christi.

Natural gas liquids from the Permian Basin of New Mexico and West Texas will be moved to a facility in Robstown through the 700-mile EPIC Y-Grade Pipeline project. Crude oil from seven terminals in the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford Shale of South Texas will be moved to a facility in Robstown through 650-mile EPIC Crude Oil Pipeline project.

The company will be investing between $330 million and $350 million in cash for its stake of the crude oil pipeline and another $165 million to $180 million for its stake of the EPIC Y-Grade Pipeline.

San Antonio pipeline operator EPIC Midstream Holdings LP will be developing the two Permian Basin-to-Corpus Christi projects.

By January 2020, construction of the crude oil pipeline is expected to be completed.

"Both projects remain on schedule and are critical to the continued development of the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford Shale," EPIC Midstream Holdings CEO Phillip Mezey said in a statement.


67 Miles of New Pipeline to Be Constructed by WBI Energy in North Dakota

WBI Energy, Inc. is planning on approximately 67 miles of new pipeline construction, compression and ancillary facilities to transport natural gas from core Bakken production areas in western North Dakota to an interconnection point with Northern Border Pipeline.

The proposed North Bakken Expansion Project would provide 200 million cubic feet per day of natural gas transportation capacity.

Construction on the project is expected to begin in early 2021 and be completed late that year, depending on regulatory and environmental permitting and finalization of transportation agreements with customers.

The project is estimated to cost $220 million and will be designed using 20-inch diameter pipeline.

"We are excited to grow our pipeline system to meet the natural gas transportation needs in the Bakken region," said Trevor J. Hastings, President and CEO of WBI Energy. "We are working with our customers to meet these needs as the industry focuses on reducing natural gas flaring while growing production volumes."

The project will start near Tioga, North Dakota, and will extend to a new connection with Northern Border Pipeline in McKenzie County, North Dakota.

Once completed, the project could be expanded to provide transportation capacity of up to 375 million cfd.

World Pipelines

Exxon: The 12-Year Deal to Produce Oil Via Wind and Solar Energy

Exxon Mobil will use renewable energy to produce oil in West Texas.

The company has teamed up with Denmark’s Orsted A/S and will have a 12-year agreement to buy 500 megawatts of wind and solar power in the Permian Basin. The agreement makes it the largest ever renewable power contract signed by an oil company.

After being sued for downplaying the risks of global warming, the company is turning to clean energy as it becomes cheap enough to compete with fossil fuels.

Output in the region has been growing rapidly, making pipeline infrastructure struggle to keep up.

The Delaware Basin in the Permian consumed the equivalent of 350 megawatts this summer, enough to power 280,000 U.S. homes. Demand is likely to triple by 2022.

Half of the power Exxon will buy will come from the Sage Draw wind farm that Orsted plans to finish building in 2020. The rest will be from the Permian Solar farm scheduled to be finished in 2021.


Tallgrass Energy Scheduling Open Season for Pony Express

Tallgrass Energy has scheduled an open season for crude oil shipping commitments for their Pony Express system. It began on Friday and will extend to January 18.

Crude oil will move from Guernsey, Wyoming to refinery deliver points along the Pony Express and Cushing, Oklahoma.

Depending on the results, the pipeline could expand an additional 300,000 bpd beyond the expected year-end capacity of 400,000 bpd. Full service is expected in the third quarter of 2020.

Tallgrass’s other new pipeline project, Iron Horse, is expected to start commercial operations in early 2019. The pipe will initially have approximately 100,000 bpd and could expand to around 200,000 bpd.

Pipeline & Gas Journal

$550 Million Pipeline Project Proposed by CenterPoint in Louisiana and Texas

A $550 million natural gas pipeline project is being proposed by a pipeline company backed by Houston’s CenterPoint energy to feed the liquefied natural gas exporting business along the Gulf Coast.

Oklahoma-based Enable Midstream Partners said the proposed 165-mile gas pipeline will stretch across the Texas state line from northwestern Louisiana to southwestern Louisiana, taking gas from the Haynesville shale and other regions to be shipped down to new LNG export terminals in Louisiana and Texas.

"We are excited about this opportunity to diversify and expand Enable's transportation footprint to connect directly to U.S. Gulf Coast markets," said Enable Chief Executive Rod Sailor.

The goal is to complete the project as early as 2022.

Houston Chronicle

30 Houses Evacuated After Energy Transfer 24-Inch Pipeline Explosion

Police say a gas pipeline in Center Township exploded early Monday morning forcing close to 30 homes to be evacuated.

The explosion was on Energy Transfer Partner’s 24-inch natural gas gathering line in Beaver County, Pennsylvania. Reports suggested that the pipeline explosion occurred shortly before 5 a.m.

“It took time… to burn the gas that was remaining in the lines out,” police said.

Center Township Police Chief added that there were also some evacuees that required medical assistance because of their medical condition and not injuries sustained by the actual explosion.

Power lines and other towers fell, blocking a road, and closing an interstate in both directions.
The Central Valley School District – which includes Center and Potter townships and Monaca – closed all of its schools Monday due to the explosion.

Although no injuries were reported, several homes in the area were evacuated after the fire broke out, the company said in an emailed statement. The cause of the explosion is still unknown.

The fire was extinguished around two hours after the initial fire. later that morning, the company reported.

Biz Journal

Midcoast Energy Looking for Shippers for New Natural Gas Pipeline Serving US Gulf Coast

Midcoast Energy, a midstream operator, began soliciting shippers Monday for a new natural gas pipeline that will boost its ability to move supplies to the Houston Ship Channel and US Gulf Coast markets.

Midcoast Energy was sold by Canada’s Enbridge to ArcLight Capital Partners in May. It has been seeing substantial volume growth with increased gas production from drillers in East Texas and Louisiana’s Haynesville shale.

Midcoast operates a large network of gathering, processing and pipeline assets that comprise its East Texas system. CJ Express pipeline, a new project expected to start up in mid-2020, will consist of up to 150 miles of 36-inch or larger diameter pipeline. It will stretch from Carthage in Panola County, Texas to Midcoast’s Clarity Pipeline in Hardin County, Texas, interconnecting with several Kinder Morgan, Williams, and other companies’ pipelines.

Statements from Midcoast have not specified CJ Express’ total expected capacity.

The non-binding open season began Monday and will last until September 14.

S&P Global

Pipeline Industry Must Embrace Analytics, Digital Transformation to Move Forward

As U.S. oil production breaks records this year, the industry must focus on content, analytics, and digital transformation to maximize potential, according to the founder of the Global Trade & Development Group Mark Stansberry.

Energy companies are starting to grow again after long periods of layoffs during a significant market glut, which means the industry will have to prepare the next generation of workers and the general public by embracing and providing fact-based data and analytics, said Stansberry.

"We are going to be left behind if we don't step up on data collections, data content, and have it analyzed," he said.

Technology-driven change has increased rapidly in the industry, but it's still not where it needs to be, according to Stansberry. Midstream and pipeline companies need to be investing in robotics, drones, and cybersecurity, among other technological transformations.

Oil prices are not significantly moving anytime soon, so energy companies need to be aware of how they are doing business and how they are implementing digital transformation into their processes as a way to become "better and more efficient," said Joey Mechelle Stenner, director of the Tulsa-based Pipeline & Energy Expo conference.

Tulsa World

U.S. Pipeline Developers Plan to Seek Exemption to Steel Tariff

Pipeline developers in the U.S. are intending to pursue exemptions to the Trump Administration's proposed 25 percent tariff on imported steel as worry looms over the impact that the cost increase would have on a number of pipeline projects.

Energy companies have argued against the tariff that was declared last week, saying the U.S. does not provide key metal grades or diameters needed for some pipeline projects. They also argue that U.S. manufacturers have a longer production time than importers overseas, which would impede pipeline development.

According to a 2017 study conducted for the pipeline industry, steel imports account for 77 percent of the steel used in U.S. pipelines.

NAmerico Partners, which is planning a multibillion dollar pipeline from the Permian to the Gulf Coast, said it estimates the tariff would raise the cost of the project to its customers by two to four percent. Construction has not yet started on the project.

The U.S. Commerce Department is working to come up with a procedure for companies to apply for exemptions from the tariffs on steel and aluminum. The department has 10 days to do so.

Austin attorney Adrian McTyre said tariffs could still raise costs and slow down projects even with exemptions because of the development of a new regulatory hurdle and the many unknowns to that process right now.


Energy Sector Expects More IPOs as Oil Price Stabilizes, Earnings Look Bright

The North American energy industry can expect to see a rebound in oil & gas initial public offerings (IPOs) this year due to higher oil prices and a more positive earnings outlook for energy companies.

Initial public offerings (IPOs) in the U.S. and Canada could reach their highest in four years, with oilfield and services companies leading the way. More than a dozen energy companies are planning to go public this year.

Some of these companies include Covey Park Energy, Indigo Natural Resources, Vine Resources, Canbriam Energy, and Velvet Energy.

Bankers are betting investors will remain optimistic in the energy sector as crude prices have stayed above $60 a barrel even as drilling pushed U.S. oil output past 10 million barrels a day this year.

Energy company fundamentals are also more resilient than they were a year ago, which helps encourage and support IPOs.

But experts still say that any event that pushes crude prices below $60 could derail energy companies' plans to go public.


Aboriginal Groups in Canada Seek Financial Gains from Energy Projects

Aboriginal groups in Canada are playing a more active role in the country's energy industry by investing in oil and gas projects and subsequently receiving significant returns on energy produced or transported across their territory.

Canada's First Nations play an important role in the country's energy industry because governments and companies are required to consult them before affecting their territories with resource projects.

Some aboriginal groups have used their role to stop projects altogether while others are using the same power to negotiate ownership stakes in pipeline and storage projects as a way to create cash flow.

More investment from First Nations could help unlock oil and gas reserves in Canada that may otherwise stay hidden because of arduous opposition from environmental or other aboriginal groups.

The more First Nations that give support for energy projects in Canada, the more success energy firms will likely have in overcoming concerns from other environmental or aboriginal groups who oppose the projects.


Mexico to Auction Shale Blocks for First Time Ever in September

Mexico is auctioning development rights to shale blocks this September, the first time the country has offered private oil companies the chance to develop the resource.

The nine shale blocks are located in the Burgos Basin, where state-owned Pemex has drilled about 20 exploratory wells in the past. The blocks are believed to mostly contain natural gas.

Winners of the blocks will "have the right to explore and carry out activities at any depth, throughout the column, involving shale formations as well as conventional sand formations," said Juan Carlos Zepeda, President of Mexico's National Hydrocarbons Commission.

But with the shale production will come challenges as Mexico is burdened by gang violence on land where shale lies and also lacks the pipeline infrastructure to handle shale projects.