Snelson Awarded Contract to Complete $610M Saginaw Trail Pipeline Project

Washington based Snelson Companies, Inc., has been awarded a construction contract to complete the final phases of the Saginaw Trail Pipeline project. This project is essential to the safety and reliability of natural gas transportation throughout lower Michigan by replacing 78 miles of current infrastructure, which has been in place since the 1940s, with 94.4 miles of new pipeline.

The entire pipeline replacement project will be completed in four phases over four years. With Phases 1 and 2 complete, Snelson will enter the project with accountability for the construction scope of Phases 3 and 4, which are significantly larger than each of the first two phases.

Phase 3, which consists of installing 29.2 miles of new, larger pipeline between Clio City Gate to Grand Blanc City Gate, is anticipated to begin in Spring 2019. This phase not only replaces the existing 12- and 16-inch pipe with new 24-inch pipeline, but also reroutes the path around the urban area of Flint.

Phase 4 will begin in 2020. This phase will replace pipeline for the 28.2 miles between Grand Blanc City Gate to Clawson Control. Phase 4 groundwork – including surveying and obtaining necessary easements and permits – is already underway. The project's anticipated completion is December 2020.

With over 70 years of experience as a pipeline construction company, Snelson Companies, Inc. is a leading contractor for oil and gas pipeline, distribution, station and facility construction, and infrastructure integrity services.


Pennsylvania Not Happy with Energy Transfer, Mariner East 2X Permits on Hold

Energy Transfer had its construction permits in Pennsylvania halted due to a list of problems not being solved after an explosion last year. The governor said on Friday that the company failed to respect the state’s laws and the communities affected.

The Department of Environmental Protection imposed $13 million in fines as well as several temporary shutdown orders on Energy Transfer projects. They also demanded documents from the company.

"There has been a failure by Energy Transfer and its subsidiaries to respect our laws and our communities," Gov. Tom Wolf said in a statement Friday. "This is not how we strive to do business in Pennsylvania, and it will not be tolerated."

One home in Beaver County was destroyed due to the methane gas explosion last September along the Beaver-to-Butler County pipeline. Energy Transfer blamed the blast on "earth movements in the vicinity of the pipeline."

As per the DEP, the company was ordered in October to stabilize the soil and erosion around its Revolution pipeline in western Pennsylvania, which hasn’t been done yet.

The permits for the 16-inch Mariner East 2X which has yet to start operating are now on hold, as per DEP spokesman, Neil Shader. 

Penn Live

$1 Billion Jump in Costs for Mountain Valley Pipeline

Projected costs of the Mountain Valley Pipeline have jumped from $3.7 billion to $4.6 billion.

The nearly 25 percent hike in costs was announced in a revised estimate this week.

Half of the cost increase was attributed to construction delays in August after FERC ordered that work be stopped citing two key permits that were invalidated by a federal appeals court.

The schedule changes caused by the order created “changes that forced activities to be conducted out-of-sequence – these changes, in turn, required both crews and inspectors to make adjustments in order to return to areas that had to be bypassed,” Mountain Valley spokeswoman Natalie Cox wrote in an email.

FERC has allowed work to resume on most of the pipeline’s 303- mile route through West and Southwest Virginia.

Additional expenses were attributed to “extraordinary rainfall events that continued through the summer, recent hurricane preparedness actions that interrupted full construction activities, and certain unanticipated construction costs overruns.”

The Pittsburgh-based company said it incurred “significant costs” due to enhance and repair erosion and sediment control measures, although state regulators have said that they have failed to prevent muddy runoff from leaving the construction site.


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Atlantic Coast Pipeline Has Permits Reissued, Construction Resumes

Federal regulators reissued two Atlantic Coast Pipeline permits on Monday allowing construction to resume. The permits had been vacated in August by a 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling.

The FERC Commission lifted the stop-work order it had imposed last month in response to a ruling that denied permits allowing the project to cross the Blue Ridge Parkway and possibly harm endangered or threatened animal species.

The National Park Service reissued a right-of-way permit allowing the pipeline to cross beneath Augusta and Nelson counties. The Fish & Wildlife Service issued new biological opinions on September 11 confirming that the project would not jeopardize the habitats of any endangered or threatened species in its path.

Dominion went to extraordinary lengths to ease concerns and meet federal criteria.

Applicable agencies were obligated to reissue necessary permits. “Construction activities along project areas had previously received a notice to proceed may now continue,” said Terry L. Turpin, director of the commission’s office of energy projects.

Construction resumed on the Mountain Valley Pipeline last month, weeks after it was halted in response to another 4th Circuit decision that vacated its permit from the U.S. Forest Service to cross national forest lands.

Richmond Times Dispatch

British Columbia Says it is Not Delaying Trans Mountain Pipeline Construction

British Columbia's attorney general said Tuesday that the province is not purposely delaying Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline expansion but simply looking out for the province's own interests.

Attorney General David Eby's statement comes after Kinder Morgan has said British Columbia's opposition to the project has made construction insupportable due to permit delays and political opposition.

Eby said the province is approving permits for the project on the same timeline as other major projects and that its new environmental rules and jurisdictional challenge are to ensure that British Columbia has the right protections in place for when the pipeline gets built and goes into operation.

Kinder Morgan set a May 31 deadline to decide if the controversial pipeline project should get built or not. Canada's federal government had said it would cover Kinder Morgan's financial losses on the project if the pipeline company decides to go through with the build.

Canada wants to see the pipeline built to help move Alberta oil to overseas markets and help even the playing field between U.S. and Canadian oil trades.

The Trans Mountain expansion would nearly triple capacity on an existing line from Alberta to Vancouver.


Canada Prime Minister: Kinder Morgan Pipeline Expansion to Proceed Despite Opposition

Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday that the Canadian federal government supports Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion and will ensure that the pipeline is built despite opposition in the West Coast.

Trudeau added that the US$6 billion project is not a threat to Canada's West Coast and that it will move forward in a responsible manner.

British Columbia has been fighting the interprovincial pipeline expansion that would run from Alberta to British Columbia's coast and triple current capacity to 890,000 barrels per day.

On Tuesday the province proposed new laws that would temporarily ban increased shipments of crude oil through British Columbia, which would potentially add another hurdle to the delayed Trans Mountain expansion.

Kinder Morgan's project has already been delayed due to difficulty obtaining permits from British Columbia.

Trudeau said the project is essential in getting Canadian oil resources to new markets across the Pacific in order to be more competitive with the U.S. market.

Kinder Morgan said this month the new projected startup date for the project is December 2020.


National Energy Board Announces Expedited Process for Pipeline Permit Disputes

The National Energy Board on Thursday announced a new expedited process for resolving permit disputes, which was requested by Kinder Morgan after a suburb in British Columbia, Canada refused to issue key construction permits for Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.

The National Energy Board will now consider future disputes between Kinder Morgan and provincial and municipal authorities and provide a response within three to five weeks as a way to expedite the process and give the groups a measure of certainty.

Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project has suffered long delays due to permitting struggles. The project has federal approval, but Burnaby last year refused to issue permits for the pipeline, causing Kinder Morgan to appeal to the National Energy Board.

The Alberta-to-British-Columbia Trans Mountain pipeline expansion would parallel the existing Trans Mountain Pipeline route that was built in 1953 and almost triple capacity from 300,000 barrels of oil per day to 890,000 barrels per day.


NEB: Trans Mountain Pipeline Construction Can Begin Despite Permit Denial from British Columbia

Shares in Kinder Morgan Canada surged as much as 9.5 percent on Friday after the National Energy Board ruled in favor of the company's proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.

Canada's National Energy Board said Kinder Morgan could start work on the expansion project without complying with certain bylaws from Burnaby, British Columbia.

Burnaby denied permits to Kinder Morgan for the project, which passes through the city. Kinder Morgan appealed to the National Energy Board last month after not being able to receive those permits.

Burnaby could challenge the National Energy Board's decision to allow construction on the Trans Mountain expansion, which would delay the project.

The pipeline expansion from Alberta to British Columbia would nearly triple the capacity of the current line to 890,000 barrels per day.


Pennsylvania Regulators Grant Critical Permits for Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection approved critical permits for Williams’ Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline Project but ensured the permit approvals were not the end of the DEP’s oversight of the project.

The department approved water-crossing permits that affect 10 counties in the pipeline’s route.

Atlantic Sunrise is an expansion of Williams’ Transco transmission system and is designed to move 1.7 million cubic feet of natural gas a day from the Marcellus Shale formation in Pennsylvania to southern states.

Some of the natural gas may also be sent to export through the Cove Point liquefied-natural-gas terminal on Chesapeake Bay in Lusby, Maryland, which is expected to begin operations in the next few months.

Williams projects that the pipeline will be in service by mid 2018.


Judge Grants Williams Possession of Final Holdout Properties for Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline

A federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled that the builders of the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline can immediately possess five holdout properties resisting its project, which is the last obstacle for the pipeline project's construction.

Williams' $3 billion Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline is designed to link natural gas from northern Pennsylvania to markets along the eastern seaboard. It is an expansion of Williams' existing Transco natural gas pipeline.

Opposition groups have been protesting the project since it was first announced in 2014. One opposition group called The Adorers of the Blood of Christ attracted global media when it built a chapel in the path of the pipeline's right-of-way as a way to keep the pipeline off of land the group claims is sacred.

Williams said the nuns will not have to remove the chapel immediately and will be fairly compensated. The company also said that the easements will only give the company limited right to install and operate the pipeline and that the use of the land will remain the same before construction under "certain limitations."

State Impact Pennsylvania


Trump Rolls Back Environmental Rules to Push Forward Infrastructure Permits

U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed an executive order that would roll back rules regarding environmental reviews and restrictions on government-funded projects in flood-prone areas, which would speed approvals for permits for infrastructure like pipelines.

The executive order is part of President Trump's proposal to spend $1 trillion to fix aging U.S. infrastructure, and it revokes an order put forth by former President Obama that aimed to reduce exposure to flooding and other consequences of climate change.

The executive order also shows that President Trump is making efforts to come through with a promise he made during his election campaign to increase deregulation in order to spur business spending.

The executive order would set a two-year goal for completing permits needed on major infrastructure plans and create a "one Federal decision" protocol where a lead federal agency would work with other agencies to complete the environmental reviews and permitting for infrastructure projects.


Members of Congress Ask FERC to Investigate Practices of Major Pipeline Operator after Reported Spills and Permit Violations

Two democratic members of Congress are asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to investigate practices of Energy Transfer Partners, which recently merged with Sunoco Logistics, after several spills and permit violations were reported on two of the pipeline operator's major pipeline projects, including the Mariner East 2 pipeline.

In their letter to FERC, the lawmakers mention reported spills in Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania as well as a permit violation in eastern Pennsylvania in West Goshen Township.

A judge ordered last week that the pipeline operator temporarily stop construction on part of the Mariner East 2 pipeline in Pennsylvania where West Goshen Township says it had not agreed to construction in a 2015 settlement agreement with the company.

Sunoco Logistics, which is now called Energy Transfer Partners after the merger, is building the $2.5 billion Mariner East 2 pipeline to carry an initial capacity of 275,000 barrels per day of propane, butane, and ethane from the Marcellus Shale fields to an export terminal in Marcus Hook near Philadelphia.

The Department of Environmental Protection in West Virginia also halted construction on part of Energy Transfer's Rover pipeline last week due to water contamination incidents.

Energy Transfer complied with the temporary halt in construction and is working with regulators and authorities, according to a spokesman for the company.

NPR - State Impact Pennsylvania

U.S. House of Representatives Passes Bills that Streamline Pipeline Permitting

The U.S. House of Representatives passed two bills that streamline oil and gas pipeline permitting.

One of the pipeline bills, called HR 2883, gives the authority of pipeline border crossings from the president to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and sets time limits for approvals.

FERC would have to make decisions on border-crossing applications within 120 days after completing environmental reviews and on exports or imports of natural gas to or from Mexico or Canada within 30 days.

The second pipeline bill, called HR 2910, strengthens FERC's lead-agency role and seeks ways to meet its 90-day time limit for action on applications. It also has measures that would improve coordination among agencies involved in pipeline decisions as well as requires concurrent reviews.

The bills now await action in the Senate.

Oil & Gas Journal

Trump Approves Keystone XL; Challenges for Pipeline Still on the Horizon

U.S. President Donald Trump's administration on Friday approved TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline, moving the project forward after being rejected under the former presidential administration in 2015.

After the approval, TransCanada still has several steps to make before the pipeline can be built, such as gaining financing, receiving local permits, and winning the likely court challenges to come their way.

President Trump says the 1,179-mile crude pipeline from Canadian oil sands to refiners in the U.S. would lower consumer fuel prices, create jobs, and reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

TransCanada is still waiting for approval of the route through Nebraska from the state's Public Service Commission. It applied for a permit in February and expects that process to be completed by the end of the year.

Environmentalists and landowners against the project are vowing to use all of their resources to fight Keystone XL.



Sunoco Logistics: Second Pipeline to be Built Alongside Mariner East 2 in Pennsylvania

Sunoco Logistics Partners announced Wednesday that due to an increase in commitment from producers on its Mariner East 2 pipeline project, it will build two pipelines across Pennsylvania, not just one.

The increase in commitment from producers came after the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection approved permits for the Mariner East 2 pipeline currently under construction.

Michael J. Hennigan, the company's CEO, said Wednesday during the company's quarterly earnings conference call that Sunoco will now build two pipes after receiving enough commitments to move forward.

According to reports from, the pipeline builder's plan all along was to build two pipelines but did not formally commit to the larger project until now.

The Mariner East project is a group of adjoining pipelines that transport natural gas to Marcus Hook near Philadelphia. Mariner East 1 is 300 miles long and travels from Houston, Pennsylvania to Marcus Hook. Mariner East 2 will extend that pipeline 50 miles into Ohio.

Sunoco is calling the first pipe of the Mariner East 2 project ME2, which will increase capacity on the Mariner East from 70,000 barrels per day to 345,000 barrels per day. The second pipe of the Mariner East 2 project, or the ME2X, will be a conduit built next to the first pipeline. It will be built sequentially, according to the company.


U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Continues to Halt Dakota Access Pipeline on Federal Land

Despite a federal appeals court decision to allow construction of the Dakota Access pipeline within 20 miles of Lake Oahe, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Monday it is not ready to allow construction on federal land in North Dakota.

In addition to its announcement, the Corps reiterated its request that Energy Transfer Partners, the developer of the Dakota Access pipeline, continue to voluntarily halt construction on the surrounding 20 miles of private land.

According to the Corps’ statement, officials will conduct a discussion during a number of consultations starting Tuesday that will go over whether there should be a nationwide reform on how tribes are consulted for infrastructure projects.

Federal agencies are still reviewing permits, and there has not been a definite time set for their conclusion.

Houston Chronicle

Federal Review of Dakota Access Pipeline Expected to Finish within Weeks

The U.S. Justice Department estimates that the ongoing review on a stalled portion of the the Dakota Access pipeline should be finished within weeks, not months.

The temporary halt on the portion of the Dakota Access pipeline continues to be stalled while the government decides whether to issue the required permits for the construction to continue on federal land that the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe claims is sacred. The affected portion of the pipeline is located near Lake Oahe in North and South Dakota.

District Judge James Boasberg on September 9 had denied the tribe’s request for an injunction to stop the pipeline on what they say are sacred grounds, but minutes after his ruling the federal government temporarily stopped construction so further reviews could be made on pipeline permits.

The Dakota Access pipeline project has gained national attention as thousands across the country continue to protest the pipeline. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other supporting tribes claim the pipeline would destroy sacred lands that include burial sites. Protestors also argue that a pipeline spill would significantly damage their water supply.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is expected to file a response to the Standing Rock complaint by October 11.


Diamond Pipeline Receives Approval from Arkansas Public Service Commission

Planned Diamond Pipeline Route ( Diamond Pipeline LLC )

Planned Diamond Pipeline Route (Diamond Pipeline LLC)

Diamond Pipeline LLC has received approval from the Arkansas Public Service Commission to build its 440-mile crude oil pipeline across five intrastate waterways, including the Arkansas and Mississippi rivers.

The commission filed its approval on August 31, a decision made after Diamond Pipeline settled a $6.6-million deal with Clarksville Light and Water Company last month to resolve conflict the utility had about the proposed pipeline pathway.

Under the deal, Diamond Pipeline will extend a pipe that feeds a water-intake facility that is north of the oil pipeline’s route, helping keep waterways safe from contamination.

The $900-million pipeline is a joint venture between Plains All American Pipeline and Valero Energy Corporation. It will move oil from Cushing, Oklahoma, to Valero’s refinery in Memphis, Tennessee and have a capacity of 200,000 barrels per day.

Construction is planned to start this year and finish in 2017.

Arkansas Online

Gas Company Fined for Building Pipelines Outside of Permitted Areas

A natural gas company and a pipeline builder have been fined a total of $184,000 by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection for constructing gathering pipelines outside their permit boundaries.

The DEP reported that pipeline had been built several hundred feet from where the line was supposed to be constructed as well as crossed a waterway several hundred yards away from the permitted stream crossing.

The violations were found during a routine inspection in December of 2015 when DEP employees found pipelines placed outside of permitted areas as well as a gravel road and pad for a pipeline valve that were never permitted.

CNX Gas Company, a subsidiary of Consol Energy, was fined $139,000 and CONE Midstream Partners has been assessed $45,000 for violating the Clean Streams Law and Oil and Gas Act of Pennsylvania.

Although gathering lines in rural areas are not regulated by the state or federal governments, they are required to have sediment control permits and water crossing permits from the DEP.

During inspections, the department found 20 lines operated by CNX Gas and another seven owned by Cone Midstream in southwestern Pennsylvania that were all out of compliance.

The DEP says both companies are working to bring their lines back into compliance.

State Impact - NPR

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Sues U.S. Army Corps Over Approval of Pipeline Permits

standing rock sioux tribe sues army corps of engineers over approval of dakota access pipeline permit approvals

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is suing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for approving permits for the Dakota Access crude oil pipeline that will run through North Dakota to Illinois.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved the permits on Tuesday finalizing the project and giving it a green light for construction. The lawsuit filed by Standing Rock Sioux Tribe came on Wednesday, the day after the approval.

The Tribe opposes the 1,172-mile pipeline planned by Energy Transfer as it believes the pipeline would pose a threat to its drinking water among other environmental resources on the reservation that lies between North and South Dakota.

In its case filed to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, the Tribe wrote, “The construction and operation of the pipeline, as authorized by the Corps, threatens the Tribe’s environmental and economic well-being, and would damage and destroy sites of great historic, religious, and cultural significance to the Tribe.”

The Tribe also stated in its court papers that the project is in violation of the National Historic Preservation Act along with other laws.

The Corps have not yet responded to media over the suit.

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
Houston Chronicle