Enbridge Supported by Wisconsin Supreme Court in Dane County Case

A ruling from the Wisconsin Supreme Court has allowed Enbridge Energy to continue on with their pipeline project in Dane County without any additional insurance, despite the local government putting a requirement on Enbridge’s permit for a $25 million environmental liability policy.

Wisconsin lawmakers stepped in and passed a provision blocking local municipalities from putting liability requirements on an operator if they already had sufficient insurance. After a couple back and forths of courts contesting Enbridge’s quality of insurance, the high court ruled that Enbridge does have comprehensive insurance. According to Enbridge, they have $860 million worth of general liability insurance, including coverage for ’sudden and accidental’ pollution.

Despite the ruling, several people within local government have been adamant that Enbridge has yet to provide proof of adequate insurance for ’sudden and accidental’ cases. Concerned about the decision, Patricia Hammel, a landowner’s attorney, stated that it “allows Enbridge to operate the largest tar sands pipeline in the U.S. across Wisconsin without adequate insurance and exposes our people, land and water to the consequences of a catastrophic spill.”

Enbridge’s oil spill in 2010, in southwest Michigan, polluted almost 40 miles of the Kalamazoo River and cost them $1.2. billion. In addition, the United States fined them for missing deadlines on pipeline inspections prior to the spill, costing them an extra $1.8 million. The cleanup lasted until 2014.

Meanwhile, Enbridge has finished their $1.5 billion pipeline make-over and built the Waterloo pump station, which, according to a spokeswoman of Enbridge, Jennifer Smith, is necessary in order to “ensure a reliable source of energy for decades to come.”


$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.


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

Trump Administration Considering Executive Order to Limit States’ Ability to Prevent Pipeline Projects

The Trump administration is looking at limiting states’ abilities to block interstate gas pipelines and other energy projects, according to three sources familiar with the deliberations.

The effort, possibly done through an executive order, is aimed chiefly at states in the Northeast United States, where pipeline projects have been facing pressure from fierce opposition.

The added pressure has helped prevent abundant shale gas in Pennsylvania and Ohio from reaching consumers in New York and other cities.

While the administration’s efforts would mostly put focus on boosting limited pipeline capacity in the northeast, the initiative could help drive permitting and construction of other energy projects.

Despite President Donald Trump postponing the State of the Union address thus making an exact timing of any announcement unclear, there are expectations that he would use the speech to tout efforts to accelerate permitting and construction of oil and gas pipelines.

Andrew Burton

Granite Bridge Gas Pipeline Project Holds Open House in Manchester, New Hampshire

Manchester, New Hampshire held an open house on Tuesday night to promote the Granite Bridge gas pipeline project.

If the pipeline is approved, it would extend from Manchester to Stratham and be built along Route 101, connecting two existing gas pipelines.

The project is designed to bring in additional natural gas supply to the central portion of New Hampshire

Staff from Liberty Utilities, the company that would construct the pipeline, were available to ask questions from the public at the open house.

 “We sent out mailers for all of the folks along 101 who would be abutters to the right of way where we are proposing to construct the line, so it’s really an opportunity for the public to ask us questions and also learn more as well as provide input on the project,” said Michael Licata, who handles community relations for Liberty.

A Stratham area open house will also be available to the public in the coming months.


Targa Resource's New Pilot Project Uses Bugs To Clean Soil After Spills

Targa Resources has a pilot project in McKenzie County that will use bioremediation (known as land farming) to remove spilled oil and allow the soil to be reused. The alternative method will introduce bugs to contaminated soil.

“When you spill hydrocarbon, there are naturally occurring microbes – bugs – that immediately start to eat it,” said David McQuade, senior environmental director for Targa. “I’m adding a bunch more bugs that want to eat it at a faster rate.”

After completing a successful land farming project on the Fort Berthold Reservation last year, Targa got permission from the Tribal Business Council to do bioremediation at the company’s facility in New Town.

Microorganisms added during the Bioremediation process begin to degrade contaminants in the soil. Crew workers periodically make sure the microbes have enough oxygen by working the soil after it is spread about 8 inches thick in order to accelerate the process.

The bugs digest the hydrocarbon to convert them into carbon dioxide, water, and organic matter.

“Naturally, the soil at end of process becomes a very, very fertile material, sometimes more fertile than it was before the spill,” McQuade said.

He added that the process only works for hydrocarbon spills and not brine.

Since microorganisms hibernate in the winter, the project is expected to continue into next year.

McQuade said he’s meeting with policy makers and leaders of the Northwest Landowners Association regarding possible solutions to speed up the permitting process.

Bismarck Tribune

Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion to Increase Costs by Almost $2 Billion

According to Kinder Morgan Canada documents, expanding the Trans Mountain pipeline would cost the federal government an additional $1.9 billion on top of the company’s original construction estimates. It would also add on another year of work before the project is complete.

The information was provided in a document filed on Tuesday with the United States Security and Exchange Commission discussing the plans to sell the pipeline to the Canadian government for $4.5 billion.

In order to triple capacity by adding a second pipeline parallel to the first, cost would climb to $7.4 billion. Financial documents also show a number of different construction cost scenarios with one option costing $9.3 billion. The documents also suggest that the project won’t be complete until December 2021.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau has not talked about how much final costs would be after the deal is finalized.

Officials say that the numbers do not specifically reflect how much the final project will actually cost, however an independent economist suggested that Kinder Morgan would not evaluate costs that did not represent realistic figures when evaluating the fairness of the sale.

Morneau concluded that as soon as construction contracts were in place, the government would release official cost updates, something he expects to happen no later than next winter.



Minnesota Governor Vetoes Bill that Would Expedite Construction on Enbridge Line 3 Oil Pipeline

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton vetoed legislation that would have expedited the start of construction on Enbridge's Line 3 oil pipeline through the state.

The legislation would have interrupted a three-year regulatory process headed by the state Public Utilities Commission that is nearly complete. The commission is slated to make a decision on the project in June.

Dayton said the legislation pre-empts the PUC process that has been established in law. He also said the bill disregards the input of thousands of state residents who have spent time participating in the long regulatory process.

The bill was introduced by Republican legislators who aimed to jumpstart construction on the project that they argue will provide an economic boost for the state.

Enbridge is proposing this $2.6 billion pipeline project in order to replace its aging Line 3 oil pipeline that is corroding and causing potential safety concerns. The pipeline would transport Canadian oil to the company's terminal in Wisconsin.

Star Tribune

800-Mile Alaska LNG Pipeline is Still Moving Forward, Says Project Head

The head of an 800-mile Alaska LNG pipeline project said he is done convincing skeptics that the project is legitimate and is moving forward despite pending approvals and other hurdles to clear.

Keith Meyer said this week in Anchorage at a public meeting of about 200 people that the project is real and that he is done "preaching" to those who doubt the project. He added that the state needs to be getting ready for the $43 billion project to begin.

Staff members of the Alaska Gasoline Development Corporation have been holding public meetings across Alaska to give information on the project as well as answer questions the public may have.

Alaska Gasoline Development Corporation has estimated that the project will create 12,000 jobs at peak construction.

The 42-inch LNG pipeline is designed to have a maximum daily capacity of 3.3 billion cubic feet and will transport natural gas from the North Slope to Southcentral Alaska.

Regulatory approval for the pipeline is still a couple years away.

Houston Chronicle

Judge Tells Minnesota Regulators to Approve Line 3, but Not Enbridge's Preferred Route

An administrative law judge on Monday told Minnesota regulators that they should approve Enbridge's proposed Line 3 oil pipeline but not the route that Enbridge has proposed for the replacement project.

Instead, administrative law judge Ann O'Reilly said in her recommendation that the pipeline project should only be approved if Enbridge replaces the existing line in its current location, citing integrity concerns with the current 50-year-old Line 3 pipeline.

O'Reilly said building the new Line 3 along a new route has more consequences than benefits for the state of Minnesota.

O'Reilly's recommendation comes after hearing days of testimony from the public and reading written comments submitted about the project. More than 72,000 written comments were submitted about the project, and 68,244 of them opposed it, according to O'Reilly.

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission had been waiting for an official recommendation from O'Reilly before making a final decision on the pipeline project. The commission is expected to make a final decision in June.

Enbridge says the old 1,000-mile Line 3 oil pipeline is corroding and is very costly to maintain, requiring the need for a replacement pipeline in order to boost safety and pipeline capacity.

Many against the project have threatened a repeat of the protests that occurred in North Dakota near the Standing Rock reservation that delayed construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline for several months.

MPR News

New York Denies Water Quality Permit for Transco Pipeline Expansion

New York regulators rejected a needed permit for a proposed pipeline expansion project that would increase natural gas deliveries to New York City.

The Department of Environmental Conservation denied a state water quality permit for a proposed expansion of the Transco pipeline that extends from Texas to the Northeast coast saying the project shows potentially significant environmental impacts.

The Northeast Supply Enhancement project would be a 17-mile extension of 26-inch-diameter underwater pipe from New Jersey to Queens.

Williams Partners, the developer of Transco, says it will resubmit its application and work with the Department of Environmental Conservation in ways required to receive the needed water permit.

Houston Chronicle

Minnesota Governor Vows to Veto Bill Aimed to Kick-Start Enbridge Pipeline Construction

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton said last week that he would veto a bill aimed to kick start construction of Enbridge’s Line 3 crude oil pipeline through the northern part of the state.

The proposed 1,031-mile replacement project has gone through a years-long approval process and is close to the end as the state’s Public Utilities Commission approved the final environmental review of the replacement project last month.

The commission is scheduled to vote on the pipeline route and construction in June, but House Republicans argue construction has taken long enough and should begin immediately.

A House committee passed a bill last week that would authorize immediate construction for the project, but Governor Dayton said he would veto the bill if it came up for a final vote because the bill is politically motivated and would trample the state’s regulatory process.

Enbridge's new Line 3 oil pipeline would take the place of the old Line 3 that dates back to 1960 and can no longer run at full capacity due to safety issues and lack of latest technologies. The new Line 3 would follow the existing Line 3 route from North Dakota to Minnesota and then create a new path to Wisconsin.


Proposed U.S. Steel Import Tariff Could Slow New Pipeline Projects, LNG Exports

Natural gas trade groups in the U.S. are worried that a new U.S. steel import tariff may delay new pipeline projects and slow exports of liquefied natural gas.

President Donald Trump on Thursday said the U.S. will impose a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports starting next week.

The steel used to make large, thick-walled pipe for interstate natural gas pipelines is a specialized product that is not available from a wide variety of manufacturers, according to a spokesperson for the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America.

Another trade group representing LNG companies worry that the proposed tariff on steel could potentially negatively affect U.S. LNG export projects.

Trump tweeted that the tariffs would help the U.S. win a "trade war" that it was currently losing.

Critics say the tariffs could fail to protect American jobs and ultimately raise prices for consumers.

BBC News

Tellurian Launches Open Season for $1.4 Billion Louisiana NatGas Pipeline

Tellurian announced the open season kickoff for its proposed $1.4 billion Haynesville Global Access natural gas pipeline (HGAP) that would link the Haynesville and Bossier shale production region to Southwest Louisiana.

The proposed 200-mile project would be able to transport up to 2 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas, according to Tellurian.

The pipeline would interconnect with several other pipelines in Louisiana, including the Midcontinent Express and Gulf Crossing pipelines in Claiborne Parish. It would also link to other third-party pipelines via multiple receipt and delivery locations, according to Tellurian.

Tellurian is proposing the HGAP in conjunction with its broader $7 billion Tellurian Pipeline Network proposal focused mainly in Texas and Louisiana.

Tellurian expects construction to begin on HGAP in 2022 and an in-service date of mid-2023.


Kinder Morgan, DCP Midstream, Targa Resources Move Foward with GCX NatGas Pipeline

Kinder Morgan, DCP Midstream, and Targa Resources today announced a final investment decision to move forward with the $1.7 billion Gulf Coast Express Pipeline Project (GCX Project) that will transport up to 1.92 billion cubic feet daily of natural gas.

The announcement comes after the companies solidified joint venture agreements and secured enough transportation agreements with shippers.

The mainline portion of the GXP Project will run for 447 miles from the Waha Hub in the Permian Basin to Agua Dulce, Texas. An additional 50-mile Midland Lateral portion and associated compression will connect with the GCX Project.

Construction on the project is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2018, and the companies hope to begin service on the pipeline in October 2019. Kinder Morgan will own 50 percent of the project while DCP Midstream and Targa Resources each own 25 percent.

Business Wire

Keystone XL Has Received Adequate Shipper Commitment, Says TransCanada

TransCanada announced Thursday that it has received adequate crude oil shipping support for its delayed Keystone XL pipeline of about 500,000 barrels per day, although the parties still need to work out specific terms.

The Keystone XL pipeline project, which would move 830,000 barrels per day of Canadian crude to U.S. refineries, has been delayed for more than eight years due to regulatory hurdles and environmental opposition.

TransCanada had previously said it was waiting to assess shipper commitment before deciding if it would continue pursuing the Keystone XL project. The company is also waiting to hear from Nebraska on whether the pipeline will be allowed to pass through the state. Nebraska is the only U.S. state that has not yet approved the pipeline path.

TransCanada will decide by December on whether to proceed with the project.


TransCanada Scraps Energy East Pipeline Project

TransCanada announced Thursday that it is canceling the proposed Energy East pipeline that would move 1.1 million barrels of oil per day from Western Canada to the Atlantic Coast.

TransCanada CEO Russ Girling said in a statement that the company would be informing Canada's National Energy Board that it will not go ahead with the project after changed circumstances. He did not specify reasons.

Last month, the company had sought a 30-day suspension on the project applications for more time to review environmental assessment factors.

"The loss of this major project means the loss of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars for Canada," said the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association in a statement.

Supporters of the pipeline argued the pipeline was necessary to decrease reliance on the U.S. as a customer, but the project faced arduous opposition from environmental and aboriginal groups.


NEB Approves Wyndwood Pipeline Expansion in British Columbia

Canada's pipeline regulator on Wednesday approved a pipeline expansion proposal from Westcoast Energy, a subsidiary of Enbridge, with 32 conditions attached to its approval.

Westcoast Energy is proposing to build and operate the Wyndwood Pipeline near Taylor and Chetwynd, British Columbia. It would expand approximately 17 miles from the existing Fort St. John Mainline and cost an estimated US$135 million.

The National Energy Board, with its approval of the project, included several conditions, including the development of a Landowner-Specific Monitoring Plan and Consultation Update. Other conditions relate to minimizing disturbances within wildlife habitats.

In addition to the expansion, modifications would need to be made to Compressor Station 2 to at Willow Flats, where the pipeline will terminate, to accommodate an increased gas flow of approximately 50 million cubic feet per day, according to Enbridge.

The American Energy News

Portland Pipe Line Aims to Reverse Pipeline Flow Amid City Ban

The Portland Pipe Line Corp is trying to reverse a 75-year-old underground pipeline to receive crude oil from Canada to South Portland, Maine but is working against South Portland's ban on loading crude into tankers on its waterfront.

The ExxonMobil and Suncor Energy subsidiary filed a lawsuit against South Portland back in 2015 challenging its Clear Skies ordinance which bans the loading of crude oil into tankers on the city's waterfront. This ban effectively blocks the company from reversing the pipeline's flow to bring oil from Canada into South Portland.

The underground pipeline has been largely decommissioned over the last year due to lack of demand because the Canadian refineries are drawing crude from western Canada and North Dakota.

President of Portland Pipe Line Corp Thomas Hardison claims that Canadian suppliers can make available more than 100,000 barrels per day in volume, concluding that there is sufficient volume available to support a successful flow reversal project.

The city questions Hardison's estimates saying he did not provide detailed supporting data.

South Portland has asked a judge to dismiss the case, but the case continues.

Portland Press Herald

Enbridge Seeking Permits for Largest Project in Company History

Map of proposed Line 3 Replacement Program ( Enbridge )

Map of proposed Line 3 Replacement Program (Enbridge)

Enbridge is working on seeking state permits for its Line 3 Replacement Program, a project the company calls "the largest project in Enbridge history," with a length of 1,031 miles and an approximate cost of $7.5 billion.

The project consists of constructing an oil pipeline that would travel from Alberta's tar sands to Enbridge's terminal in Superior, Minnesota. It would almost totally replace Enbridge's current Line 3 pipeline that company spokesman Shannon Gustafson says "has experienced external corrosion inherent and common in the pipe coatings used at the time the pipeline was constructed in the early 1960s."

"Line 3 is a replacement project intended to upgrade and improve the pipeline while restoring capacity to its original volume to meet the demands of refineries in Minnesota and the Midwest," said Gustafson.

Because the current line would require heavy maintenance to maintain safe operations, Enbridge concluded it would be more cost-effective to construct a new pipeline and decommission the old one, which Enbridge says will largely be left in the ground.

Environmental opposition is growing against the project, with protestors demanding the old pipe be taken out of the ground. Other opponents claim the new project would destroy land, violate tribes' treaty rights, and contaminate water supply.

The project is awaiting permits from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission and must complete a full environmental review. Assuming all regulatory approvals go as planned, Enbridge estimates the Line 3 replacement will be online in 2019.