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

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

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

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


$40 Million Pre-Construction Work on Line 5 Tunnel Will Start Soon

Enbridge Energy will drill for rock and soil samples from a barge in the Straits of Mackinac this week. The company obtained a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the rock and soil sampling. The geotechnical work is part of the scope of work allowed through a permit issued in January, a spokesman for the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy said.

By moving its previously land-based boring operation onto the actual waterway, Enbridge said, “preserves the schedule to complete the tunnel at the earliest possible date,” which is expected to be five years from now in 2024. Enbridge said on Monday that it received written affirmation from the state last week that allowed it to continue collecting geotechnical samples.

The company plans to spend $40 million this year on the beginning phases of its $500 million utility corridor project, and the geotechnical work is part of its beginning phase. Drilling and sampling will begin from a small barge this week just west of the Mackinac Bridge and a larger, specialized barge will drill in the deepest sections of the passage later in July, Enbridge spokesman Ryan Duffy said.

The geotechnical work “will gather information to inform the detailed engineering and permit application efforts that are part of advancing our commitment to the tunnel that will house a replacement pipeline for Line 5 at the Straits of Mackinac,” the company said in a statement.


Alaskan Pipeline Project Receives Federal Permit

Alaska’s Energy Desk reported that Oil Search, a Papua New Guinea-based company announced that it had received a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for a large oil project on Alaska’s North Slope.

The company said it received the permit for its Pikka development, which is planned west of Prudhoe Bay, an area seen as a new hot spot for oil activity on the western North Slope. According the company the project could produce about 120,000 barrels of oil per day.

Since the Pikka development would be as close as seven miles to the village of Nuiqsut, questions have been raised about how the project will affect subsistence hunting and fishing for Nuiqsut residents.

“The company is committed to close collaboration with the people and organizations of Nuiqsut.” Oil Search Alaska President Keiran Wulff said in a statement.


Moda Midstream Planning to Build a Second Supertanker Berth to Handle Three New Pipelines

An expansion project to build a second berth to accommodate supertankers is in consideration by Moda Midstream LLC at its crude export terminal in Ingleside, Texas, the company’s CEO Bo McCall said on Thursday.

As three major pipelines by Plains All American Pipeline LP, EPIC Crude Pipeline LP and Enbridge Inc., starts service, the expansion to the terminal is necessary. Also the company is increasing the facility’s crude storage capacity from 2 million to 12 million barrels.

“When these new pipelines come online, there is going to be close to 3.5 million barrels a day coming into the market,” McCall said. In order to handle other types of tankers, Moda is also studying the feasibility of building an additional pier with two more berths, McCall said.

Moda’s loading ability per supertanker will rise to 1.5 million barrels once the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approves the contract this year to dredge the Corpus Christi ship channel to the Ingleside facility to a depth of 54 feet from 47 feet.