Mariner East 2 Starts Up 13 Miles of Pipe in Southeast PA

The mighty Mariner East 2X (ME2X) pipeline project gets closer and closer to 100% completion, despite the efforts of anti-fossil fuelers to hassle and block the project. In a bit of news ignored by mainstream media, another 13-mile stretch of ME2X in southeastern PA between Chester and Delaware counties went online late last week.
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Mariner East Pipe, Shell Cracker Can Restart Construction May 1

Great news! The Mariner East 2 pipeline project along with Shell’s mighty ethane cracker project will once again be able to restart their stopped construction. At least according to our reading of the law. As you may know the Pennsylvania Dept. of Community and Economic Development (DCED) has been “reviewing” waiver requests to allow all work to resume for both ME2 and the cracker project (see PA DCED First Grants Then Rescinds ME2 Pipe Construction Waivers and Shell Files for Waiver to Restart PA Cracker Work w/Fewer Workers).
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Some Mariner East 2 Construction Resumes During Lockdown

The confusion over whether or not the Mariner East 2 (ME2) pipeline project has (a) shut down all construction, except certain tidying up aspects at certain locations, or (b) has permission by the state to keep on building, is still not 100% settled. On Monday we told you that ME2 construction was in the process of ceasing under orders issued by Gov. Wolf (see Mariner East 2 Pipeline Construction Shuts Down re COVID-19). However, the PA Dept. of Community and Economic Development granted a waiver to ME2 for certain activities.

3/27/20 UPDATE: As we suspected and have now confirmed with an unnamed (but highly reliable) source, the ME2 sites issued waivers to continue construction on Wednesday, March 25th were areas deemed necessary to continue work in order to protect the environment or the public. While there are numerous “sites” where activity has resumed, it represents less than 20% of total project sites. For example, places where there were open cut ditches or partially complete HDDs (underground horizontal directional drilling), the company requested and was approved waivers to restart construction–after an extensive review by the Wolf Administration.
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Mariner East 2 Pipeline Construction Shuts Down re COVID-19

As we told you last Friday, there was some confusion over whether or not construction of the Mariner East 2 (ME2) pipeline, which is nearing completion, is included under Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s “stop work” order to prevent PA residents and workers from further spreading the COVID-19 coronavirus (see Is ME2 Pipe Construction Stopped Following Wolf COVID-19 Order?). Pipeline infrastructure and utilities are on the “life-sustaining” list, both in PA and as a directive from the federal government. However, “Utility Subsection Construction” was on the non-life-sustaining list–due to be temporarily shut down. ME2 construction continued after Wolf’s Thursday order. The confusion has now cleared, and yes, ME2 construction is in the process of ceasing.
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PA PUC Fines Mariner East 1 $200K, Orders “Remaining Life” Study

In April 2017 (almost three years ago) the Mariner East 1 pipeline sprung a small leak and spilled 20 barrels (~840 gallons) of ethane and propane in Berks County, near Philadelphia. Sunoco Logistics Partners, builder and maintainer of the pipeline, shut it down and fixed it over the next several days. Yesterday the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission announced a “settlement” with Sunoco, to fine the company $200,000. Sunoco, as part of the settlement, must also conduct a “remaining life” study of the pipeline. After all, it is almost 90 years old.
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ET Update: Mariner East Loses Some NGLs to Mid-Con, Northern NY

Energy Transfer, a huge pipeline company that builds and maintains Marcellus/Utica pipelines including Rover and the Mariner projects, released its fourth-quarter and full-year 2019 update earlier this week. The company reports making the most profit it has ever made in its 25-year history–$3.6 billion in profit for 2019 (more than triple the $1.1 billion made in 2018). Although ET’s financial performance is impressive, it was comments made during the quarterly conference call with analysts about the Mariner East pipeline project that caught our attention.
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Time to Finish Mariner East 2 Pipeline Says SEPA Former Senator

In January the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) finally, after more than a year, agreed to lift a moratorium on new construction work for several Energy Transfer pipeline projects in the state, including the Mariner East 2 and 2X projects (see PA DEP Clears Way for ET to Complete Mariner East Pipelines). A few weeks later the DEP assessed a $1.95 million fine on the Mariner East 2 project (see PA DEP Slaps Energy Transfer Again – $2M Fine re Mariner East 2). Fine paid, permission granted…At least ET can restart work on ME2 now, right? Wrong.
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SEPA Union Workers Eager to Return to Work on Mariner East Pipe

In January the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) finally, after more than a year, allowed Energy Transfer to restart the final bits of construction needed to complete the Mariner East 2 (ME2) pipeline project (see PA DEP Slaps Energy Transfer Again – $2M Fine re Mariner East 2). No one is happier to restart construction than the union members of Steamfitters Union Local 420.
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Lancaster Couple Guilty of Trespass re Mariner East 2 Pipeline

Last December the husband and wife team of Mark and Melinda Clatterbuck got themselves arrested for illegal trespass and disorderly conduct at a Mariner East 2 (ME2) pipeline site near Philadelphia (see Antis Arrested for Trespass Near ME Pipe Claim “Intimidation”). This isn’t their first pipeline trespassing offense and arrest. The couple said the December arrest was “harassment” and “intimidation.” A Chester County judge didn’t buy that line of reasoning and yesterday convicted them, ordering the couple to pay a fine plus court costs.
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The Positive Impacts of Mariner East Pipeline Across PA

Seems like all we see in mainstream media are articles bashing Energy Transfer’s Mariner East (ME) NGL pipeline projects. Most of the negative press comes from southeastern PA where the pipeline has hit snags in building through Philadelphia suburbs. Imagine our surprise in seeing a guest editorial in a southwestern PA newspaper supporting the ME project, a column that details just how this massive project has benefitted the Keystone State in numerous ways–all across the state.
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PA DEP Slaps Energy Transfer Again – $2M Fine re Mariner East 2

Two weeks ago the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced the largest fine for a single company/project in its history. DEP slapped Energy Transfer (ET) with a $30.6 million fine for the construction and subsequent explosion of the company’s Revolution gathering pipeline in western PA (see ET Allowed to Fix/Restart Revolution Pipe…After Record $30M Fine). As part of the fine, DEP said ET could restart construction to fix Revolution. DEP also said ET could restart construction for another project: Mariner East 2 (ME2). Yesterday the other shoe dropped when DEP announced a new fine related to ME2 work–for $1.95 million.
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Mariner East Pipe Flips PA from Propane Shortage to Surplus

Credit: Energy Transfer

The 2014 Polar Vortex event, when most of the U.S. was plunged into record low temps for an extended period, created a propane shortage for many. One of the states most affected by lack of propane during that event was…Pennsylvania! Should such an event hit again, PA is now in the clear, thanks to the Mariner East pipelines.
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PA DEP Clears Way for ET to Complete Mariner East Pipelines

The Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) recent settlement with Energy Transfer (ET) concerning the Revolution Pipeline explosion in southwestern PA also has significant impact on southeastern PA. How? The signed consent order in which ET pays the state $30.6 million lifts a moratorium on granting new permits to ET for *any* of its pipeline projects in PA for the past one year–including permits to complete the Mariner East (ME) projects. With the consent order comes a lifting of that permit moratorium, meaning the final bits of ME can now be completed.
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PA Judge Fines Mariner East Pipe $1K for Scaring Homeowner

Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission Law Judge Elizabeth Barnes has tried to stop or block or otherwise do damage to the Mariner East pipeline projects for years. Most (all?) of her actions against the project have, in the past, been reversed by a vote of PUC Commissioners (see PA PUC Overrules Lib Judge – Mariner East 1 Returns to Service and PA PUC Allows ME2 Pipeline Work to Restart Near Philly). Will PUC members also overturn Barnes’ latest overreach in fining the Mariner East 1 pipeline $1,000, to be given to a nearby homeowner who doesn’t feel “safe” living 1,000 feet from a pipeline that’s been there all of his life?
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2nd Class Action Lawsuit Against ET/Sunoco re Mariner East Pipe

Last week MDN told you about a law firm fishing for Energy Transfer shareholders to join its class action lawsuit against the company over rumors of corruption in obtaining permits to build the Mariner East 2 pipeline project (see Shareholder Lawsuit Filed Against ET/Sunoco re Mariner East Pipe). A second law firm is now trying the same tactic–a second shareholder lawsuit based on unproven rumors.
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Time to Defend the Mariner East Pipe Projects – Garland Thompson

Speaking of the Mariner East (ME) pipelines and the NGLs (primarily ethane, but also propane and butane) they flow, why isn’t the organized business community (i.e. Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce) doing more to stick up for the ME pipeline projects? MDN friend Garland Thompson, a gifted reporter/writer who covers energy and technology issues for US Black Engineer & Information Technology magazine, recently penned an open letter to the Philly Chamber challenging them to get off their collective butts and defend ME and the jobs it will create in the greater Philly region.
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