Two Expansion Projects in Texas Will Boost Exports to Mexico

Completion of a pair of expansion projects in Port Arthur and Corpus Christi by Howard Energy Partners will allow the company to do more exports of crude oil, gasoline diesel and other products to Mexico.

"Substantial expansions at our Port Arthur and Corpus Christi facilities signify HEP's commitment to designing and constructing fully-engineered facilities that are tailored to meet the exact needs of our customers," Howard Energy Partners Co-Founder and President Brad Bynum said in a statement.

The company will get 2.6 million barrels of storage in the region after the completion of the expansion projects, which recently added 12 new storage tanks, four butane bullets, two barge docks, one ship dock and a bidirectional pipeline to its 450-acre Port Arthur terminal.

The expansion projects are expected to boost the company's exports by rail and seafaring tankers, as Mexico has emerged to be one of Howard's top customers.


$800 Million Agreement in Acquiring Stakes by Shell

An agreement to acquire Shell’s 25.97% equity interest in Explorer Pipeline Company and 10.125% equity interest in Colonial Pipeline Company for US$800 million was made by Shell Midstream Partners, L.P. This agreement will increase Shell Midstream Partners’ interest in Explorer and Colonial to 38.59% and 16.125% respectively.

“This acquisition is evidence of our strategy in action – we will continue to build scale with diversified assets that provide robust, ratable cash flows,” said Kevin Nichols, CEO of Shell Midstream Partners. “The Explorer and Colonial systems have the capacity to deliver some three million bpd of refined products, providing energy to key demand centers of the United States.”

Explorer Pipeline’s 1830-mile pipeline transports gasoline, diesel, fuel oil and jet fuel with a capacity of 660,000 bpd and is recognized as one of the nation's leading petroleum products transporters serving more than 70 major cities in 16 states.

Colonial Pipeline’s 5,500-mile system moves gasoline, diesel and jet fuel from the Houston area to destinations in the South along the East Coast and New York Harbor and is the largest refined products pipeline in the United States.

The acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter of 2019.


Trans Mountain Traces Gas-Like Substance to Private Home After Initial Leak Scare

Trans Mountain confirmed that a portion of its pipeline in Surrey, British Columbia was shut down on Sunday after crews received reports of a gas-like odor in the area, as well as a gas-like substance found in a ditch near the line.

British Columbia’s environment ministry confirmed the gas-like substance traced back to a private home just west of the Port Mann Bridge.

After the ministry was notified of the substance, a vacuum truck was on scene to clean up minor “sheens.” As precautionary measures, the pipeline was shut down.

It was difficult to tell if the substance came from a pipeline, a vehicle, or just dumped there despite looking like residual gasoline, Morris said.

In an email to News 1130, Trans Mountain confirmed crews and equipment were deployed after the complaint occurred.

News 1130

Marathon Petroleum to Maximize U.S. Crude in Third Quarter

Marathon Petroleum Corp (MPC.N) said that it plans to “maximize” input of U.S. crude in the third quarter, as bottlenecks have weakened domestic prices.

The company said on a Thursday earnings call that about 32 percent of its total throughput will be crude linked to the U.S. benchmark price.

It is expected that input at the company’s Midwest refineries will jump to 53 percent of total throughput in the third quarter.

U.S. and Canadian producers have been selling crude at a discount compared to global prices because of production outpacing pipeline capacity, helping Marathon report its highest quarterly earnings since 2011.

The U.S. refining outlook continues to remain strong as crude remain discounted.

“I think inventories are going to remain for both gasoline and distillate, inventories are going to remain in check through the year, which bodes very well for the business. But as we look into 2019 and where we believe inventories will end up at the balance of this year, it should put us in a really good position moving into ‘19 as well,” said Chief Executive Gary Heminger.


President Trump Asks OPEC to Take Action to Reduce U.S. Gasoline Prices

President Donald Trump sent out a tweet on Wednesday calling for OPEC to “reduce pricing now" as a result of rising gasoline prices in the U.S.

“The OPEC Monopoly must remember that gas prices are up & they are doing little to help. If anything, they are driving prices higher as the United States defends many of their members for very little $’s. This must be a two-way street. REDUCE PRICING NOW!” Trump wrote in his tweet.

The president’s concerned comments to OPEC have happened on more than one occasion within recent weeks as rising gasoline prices could create political headache for Trump’s November mid-term congressional election.

A Saturday tweet by Trump said that Saudi Arabia had agreed to a 2-million-barrel increase in oil output, with the leader of Saudi Arabia assuring Trump that the kingdom can raise oil production if needed and that the 2 million barrels per day could be deployed to help cool oil prices while compensating for Venezuela's and Iran’s falling output.

Iran also accused the United States of attempting to increase tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia and has asked for the United States to join world powers in a meeting with Iran in Vienna on Friday.

Iran threatened to block oil exports through a key Gulf waterway if any hostile U.S. actions were to be provoked from the ongoing tension.


ETP Shuts Two Philadelphia Pipes After Possible Gasoline Leak

Energy Transfer Partners said it is keeping two Philadelphia refined product pipelines shut down while it investigates discovered gasoline in a creek nearby.

The two pipes, one 8-inch and one 12-inch, help carry refined products from refineries to New York Harbor and Western Pennsylvania.

The shutdowns came as a result of a Friday precaution regarding discovered gasoline in a creek outside Philadelphia. ETP responded on Friday saying that it was still trying to determine whether the leak came from its pipelines.

The source of the leak has yet to be discovered, and ETP has not responded to requests for comments.


Buckeye Partners Seeking to Change Pipeline Direction After First Attempt Failed

Texas-based Buckeye Partners made plans to change the direction of its gasoline pipelines in late April, but it has been been met with resistance from companies Sheetz, Giant-Eagle, and Philadelphia-area refiners.

Buckeye Partners wanted permission from federal energy regulators to specifically move gas in two directions on the Laurel Pipeline across Pennsylvania. Buckeye wanted to reverse the western segment of the pipeline since 2016. In doing so, they intend to bring low-cost Midwestern fuel to more Pennsylvania areas.

Critics disagree and claim that gas prices would rise due to these changes.

A judge with the Pennsylvania PUC sided with the pipeline’s opposition and recommended that the reversal be rejected by the commission.

After a few weeks, Buckeye decided to take the case to FERC to approve moving fuel in both directions.

A final decision has yet to be made on the reversal and is not expected until late summer. 

Central Penn Business Journal

Colonial Pipeline to Pay $3.3 Million in Fines, Damages to Alabama for 2016 Pipeline Spills

Colonial Pipeline Co will pay the state of Alabama $3.3 million in damages and penalties related to an explosion and spill on its 5,500-mile gasoline line in 2016.

The state's attorney general said the settlement is to first address environmental damage to land and water that was caused by the combined 11,800-barrel spill that happened in rural Shelby County in late 2016.

In September of 2016, nearly 7,400 barrels leaked below ground and was discovered by a mining inspector. The leak was caused by pipe fatigue due to improper soil compaction.

In October, a pipeline explosion killed one worker and injured several others after the pipeline exploded during maintenance on the line when it was accidentally struck by excavating equipment. About 4,400 barrels spilled as a result of the explosion.

The Colonial Pipeline transports more than 3 million barrels per day of gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel from the Gulf Coast to New York.


Explorer Pipeline Starts Two Fuel Pipelines This Week; Colonial Pipeline Restarts Lines After Storm

Explorer Pipeline's 28-inch fuel pipeline and 24-inch fuel pipeline that run from Texas to Oklahoma and Oklahoma to the Midwest respectively, began operations as scheduled early this week, easing concerns over a fuel supply crunch.

The 28-inch fuel pipeline began Sunday, and the 24-inch fuel pipeline began Monday, according to a statement.

The startups are easing concerns over a fuel supply crunch after Tropical Storm Harvey shutdown nearly a quarter of the U.S. refinery capacity and sent gasoline futures prices to a two-year high.

Explorer Pipeline is owned by Phillips 66, Marathon, Sunoco Logistics, and Shell.

Colonial Pipeline also announced Monday that it restarted one of its major fuel lines that was shut during the Harvey storms and will restart another line on Tuesday.

Colonial is the biggest U.S. fuel system, connecting Texas refineries with markets in the Northeast and transporting more than 3 million barrels a day of gasoline.


Texas Refineries Begin to Restart After Major Shutdown Due to Storm Harvey

Gasoline prices are slowly falling and oil prices are rising as of Tuesday after refineries in the Gulf Coast slowly begin to restart after nearly a quarter of the U.S. refining capacity was shut down last week during Hurricane Harvey.

Harvey blasted the Gulf Coast and other areas of southeastern Texas, including the city of Houston, on August 25 and hovered over the area for nearly a week, dropping trillions of gallons of water onto the state.

As of Monday afternoon, eight U.S. oil refineries with 2.1 million barrels per day of refining capacity were still shut, according to the Department of Energy.

Texas is slowly beginning its recovery as oil pipelines and refineries begin to start operations again, raising the demand for crude and easing fears of a fuel supply shortage.


Colonial Pipeline Company Fills Largest U.S. Gasoline Pipeline As Demand in Northeast Recovers

Colonial Pipeline is back to rationing space on its gasoline pipeline, the largest gasoline pipeline in the U.S., as demand moves more fuel to the East Coast and prices grow stronger.

Colonial Pipeline's Line 1 ran below capacity for about 45 days starting in July but has now restarted its practice of rationing space and froze shippers' ability to nominate more fuels this month in order to maintain the line's five-day cycle shipping frequency.

Demand to ship fuel on the line had fallen below capacity for the first time in six years last June as traders and refiners increased exports instead of shipping to the northeast where stockpiles were bloated.

The summer season has driven up demand, resulting in inventories to fall more in line with the five-year average in recent weeks.

The gasoline pipeline carries approximately 1.3 billion barrels a day from a refining hub near Houston to northern, high-demand locations like New York City.


Colonial Pipeline Reopens Pipeline after Gasoline Leak

Colonial Pipeline Company has reopened one of its gasoline pipelines after it was shutdown due to a gasoline leak in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Repairs to Line 19, which carries petroleum products through Chattanooga to Nashville, were completed on Thursday, and service was restored after being closed since Sunday.

On Saturday the Chattanooga Fire Department received reports of gasoline fumes near the pipeline, after which the pipeline was shut down and searched for a potential leak.

Crew members found a sheen on Shoal Creek, which feeds into the Tennessee River, but no gasoline reached the river, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Colonial Pipeline Company estimated that 603 gallons leaked from its line.

Houston Chronicle

Colonial Pipeline Continues Investigation of Gasoline Pipeline Leak; Estimates 603 Gallons Spilled

The red arrow indicates the location of Shoal Creek in relation to the Tennessee River in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Colonial Pipeline found a sheen on Shoal Creek after a spill on one of its gasoline lines was suspected on Sunday. A protective boom has been placed on the creek to keep the gasoline from reaching the Tennessee River. (Google Maps)

The red arrow indicates the location of Shoal Creek in relation to the Tennessee River in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Colonial Pipeline found a sheen on Shoal Creek after a spill on one of its gasoline lines was suspected on Sunday. A protective boom has been placed on the creek to keep the gasoline from reaching the Tennessee River. (Google Maps)

Colonial Pipeline estimates that 603 gallons of gasoline spilled from one of its pipelines in Chattanooga, Tennessee, but company spokesman Steve Baker believes it is likely less than that estimate.

Line 19, the affected gasoline pipeline operated by Colonial Pipeline Company, was shut down Sunday after the Chattanooga Fire Department was notified of gasoline fumes near the pipeline. Investigations are ongoing for the exact location of the spill.

The line still remains shut as crews work to find the location of the leak, but gasoline supply in Nashville, which Line 19 feeds, is near capacity, according to a spokesman for the Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation.

Members of Colonial Pipeline have found a sheen on Shoal Creek, which feeds into the Tennessee River, but Tennessee environmental officials say the gasoline has not reached the river. As a preventative measure, a protective boom has been placed on the creek. 

Houston Chronicle

Colonial Pipeline Searches for Suspected Spill, Shut Pipeline Down as Precaution

Colonial Pipeline Company's Line 19, a gasoline line between Atlanta and Nashville, is still shut after a spill on the line was suspected on Sunday, causing the company to shut down the line as a precaution.

According to a notice sent to shippers on Sunday, the line was shut down after gasoline odors were reported to the Chattanooga Fire Department. The company also shut down their Line 20, a distillates line, as a precaution. Since Sunday, however, Line 20 has been restarted.

Colonial Pipeline crews are still searching for what Chattanooga Fire Department assistant chief Danny Hague called a "very small" leak. Workers have excavated parts of the line for inspection, and a skimmer truck is near the scene in case workers need to quickly suck oil out of water.

Georgia-based Colonial Pipeline Company delivers more than 100 million gallons of gasoline and other refined petroleum products to 13 states in the eastern U.S. as well as the District of Columbia.

Chattanooga Times Free Press

Gasoline Pipeline Explosion in Rural Alabama Kills One, Injures Several

A still shot from CNBC video footage of the fire caused by a gasoline pipeline explosion outside of Helena, Alabama in western Shelby County on October 31, 2016 (  CNBC News  )

A still shot from CNBC video footage of the fire caused by a gasoline pipeline explosion outside of Helena, Alabama in western Shelby County on October 31, 2016 (CNBC News)

The same pipeline that experienced a gasoline leak in early September and caused a gasoline shortage throughout the Southeast exploded in western Shelby County, Alabama on Monday and has been shut down.

The explosion occurred after a worker struck the pipeline with a track hoe, which caused gasoline to ignite and explode around 3:00pm Monday, sending thick, black smoke high into the air over the rural land. One worker was killed, and several workers were injured.

The effects of the explosion were not immediately clear, although two wildfires caused by the explosion have burned at least 31 acres of land and forced individuals living nearby out of their homes. According to the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, the fire has been contained but remains burning.

“Our deepest condolences go out tonight to the family and friends of the person who was lost today, and our thoughts and prayers are with those who were injured,” pipeline owner Colonial Pipeline said in a released statement Monday.

Colonial Pipeline also said in a brief statement following the incident that health and safety of its work crews and the public are its top priorities.


Southeast Gas Pumps Experiencing Shortages after Alabama Pipeline Leak

Gas prices are spiking across the Southeast after a pipeline break that leaked approximately 8,000 barrels of gasoline in rural Alabama last week.

The ruptured pipeline is Colonial Pipeline Company’s Line 1 pipeline, which can transport up to 1.2 million barrels of gasoline a day. The company has two main lines and is having to ship significant volumes of gasoline on their second line while they make repairs on Line 1.

Motorists in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, and North Carolina are seeing a growing number of gas stations with covered nozzles indicating they are out of use. And gas stations that are still pumping gas are increasing their prices.

Colonial Pipeline said the company was working “around the clock” to repair the break and get supplies to the affected states. The company also stated over the weekend that it is in the process of constructing a temporary pipeline that will bypass the ruptured section of Line 1 in Shelby County, Alabama.

Meanwhile, federal regulators are in the process of investigating the cause of the pipeline leak, which is currently unknown.

Wall Street Journal

Shelby County Pipeline Leak Spilled an Estimated 250,000 Gallons of Gasoline

Aerial photo of two of the three mine water retention ponds at the incident site. The retention pond on the right is where the gasoline has been contained. ( Colonial Pipeline )

Aerial photo of two of the three mine water retention ponds at the incident site. The retention pond on the right is where the gasoline has been contained. (Colonial Pipeline)

Colonial Pipeline Company now estimates that nearly 6,000 barrels or 252,000 gallons of gasoline were spilled in the pipeline leak last Friday in rural Shelby County, Alabama.

Colonial Pipeline, the largest refined products system in the U.S., shut down two of its main lines, Line 1 and Line 2, after the leak was discovered by workers at a mining operation. Line 2 has restarted since Friday, and the company expects Line 1, which is currently being repaired, to be completely restarted by this weekend.

The company wrote on its spill-response website that there has been no threat to public health or safety.

“Out of an abundance of caution, the Federal Government has restricted the airspace above the release location to further protect responders, personnel, and the public,” the company stated.

Most of the spill has been contained in a mining retention pond, and crews are working to remove the gasoline with skimmers. Booms have also been deployed to prevent gasoline from reaching a dry creek bed that runs to Peel Creek.

Nearly 500 employees and contractors are working on the response, according to Colonial Pipeline.

PHMSA officials are currently investigating the cause of the leak.

Colonial Pipeline

Gasoline Pipeline Leak Detected in Alabama is Contained

Colonial Pipeline is making repairs to a gasoline pipeline leak that was discovered and reported in Shelby County, Alabama on Friday. The affected pipeline has been shut off until repairs are completed.

Workers at a mining operation discovered the leak when they smelled strong gasoline odors near the intersection of County Road 91 and Lindsey Road. They called Colonial Pipeline who confirmed the leak.

The cause of the leak is currently unknown, and the amount of gasoline spilled has not yet been determined.

Colonial Pipeline, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, and the Shelby County Emergency Management Agency are all involved in assessing or managing the spill.

David Butler of the conservation group Cahaba Riverkeeper was informed of the spill by Colonial Pipeline which advised Butler on the possible effects to a nearby river. Butler expressed to reporters of that it would be “pretty extraordinary” for the spill to reach the river but that aggressive steps are being taken to protect the water.

The spilled gasoline has soaked into some soil, and some collected into a mining retention pond near the site.

Spokesman for Colonial Pipeline David York said the affected area is very remote, and the spill has been confined. No surrounding communities or waterways should be affected.


Arkansas Officials Celebrate Magellan Pipeline Opening

Arkansas officials on Wednesday celebrated the opening of a new pipeline that will transport gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel into the state, increasing energy in the state and helping with economic development.

The $200 million, 210-mile Magellan Midstream Partners pipeline system runs from Fort Smith to Little Rock, Arkansas and has a capacity of 75,000 barrels a day. It is connected to refineries in Oklahoma, Kansas, and the Gulf Coast.

According to Magellan’s President and CEO Michael Mears, the pipeline system has several safety features to prevent spills, such as the use of devices and real-time monitoring to watch for any corrosion, leaks, or other defects.

"Obviously, safety is of paramount importance to the pipeline industry," Mears said at the opening event of the pipeline. "The new construction on this pipeline met all the standards obviously, but we take it to the next level."

Houston Chronicle