Rover Pipeline Still Waiting on FERC to Start Up Michigan Segment

Last Friday, Energy Transfer Partners asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for permission to start up service along another major chunk of it’s massive Rover Pipeline (see Rover Pipe Asks FERC for OK to Open New Segments in OH, MI). ET wants to begin service along a 100-mile segment of Rover in northwest Ohio and in Michigan. ET also asked for permission to start up a segment of Mainline B in Crawford and Wayne counties (OH). The 100-mile segment through Michigan, called the Market segment, completes the pipeline, connecting to the Vector Pipeline in Livingston County, Michigan, which will allow Utica/Marcellus gas to flow all the way to the Dawn Hub in Ontario, Canada via Vector. In last Friday’s request, ET asked FERC to hurry it up because customers are desperate (our words) to get their Utica/Marcellus gas to market. ET requested a starting date no later than April 25–next Wednesday. Unfortunately there’s been no word, as of today, from FERC. The silence is deafening…
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Rover Pipe Asks FERC for OK to Open New Segments in OH, MI

Rover Pipeline Market Segment – click for larger version

On Friday Energy Transfer Partners asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for permission to start up service along another major chunk of it’s massive Rover Pipeline. ET wants to begin service along a 100-mile segment of Rover in northwest Ohio and in Michigan. ET also asked for permission to start up a segment of Mainline B in Crawford and Wayne counties (OH). The 100-mile segment, called the Market segment, completes the pipeline as it connects to the Vector Pipeline in Livingston County, Michigan. ET says 99% of all pipeline for Rover is now in the ground and done. Some 83% of underground horizontal direction drilling (HDD) required to install small portions of the pipeline under creeks, rivers, bridges, roads, etc. is now done. It won’t be long now until Rover is done done. Here’s the latest great news that most of the rest of the pipeline is now ready to begin service…
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Cyber Attack Hits Pipeline Computer System, Rover Pipe Affected

We’ve read warnings about the potential for cyber (computer) attacks on the U.S. energy industry for several months. We understand how such an attack might affect a nuclear plant, or perhaps the electric grid. Screw up the computers managing and running a nuke plant or a significant portion of the electric grid and you have a class-one serious situation on your hands. However, we didn’t really think about pipelines. Did you know that pipeline networks, like electric grids, are monitored and controlled by computers and those computers can be compromised? We have to admit it was not on our radar screen. But that has now happened–and it affects not only pipeline systems in other parts of the country, but right here in the Marcellus/Utica. Energy Transfer Partners uses a third party service called Energy Services Group to manage all of its pipelines–a massive nationwide network. Energy Services provides EDI (electronic data interchange) services that reportedly cut costs and increases the speed with which companies exchange documents that used to be paper-based. Documents like those used in buying and selling natural gas at various trading hubs along major pipelines. On Monday, Energy Services was attacked electronically, knocking the service out of commission until further notice. Note that gas flowing through pipelines has not been affected. The affected computers don’t turn valves on and off. However, the ability to know who’s gas is flowing through the pipeline (who bought and who sold) has been slowed–on all of ET’s pipelines, including the newly-minted Rover Pipeline…
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WV DEP Orders Rover Pipe to Stop Construction for Violations

Rover Pipeline is in hot water again. This time it’s not Captain Craig “Ahab” Butler from the Ohio EPA, but the West Virginia Dept. of Environmental Protection. In a letter just released publicly (dated March 5), WVDEP slapped Rover with a “cease-and-desist” order, stopping all construction of Rover in the state, because of inspections in February that found 14 violations of water pollution regulations. The violations occurred in Doddridge, Tyler and Wetzel counties. Violations ran the range of leaving trash behind at construction sites to improper perimeter controls (no erosion devices installed) to failure to clean up the roads they used. In addition to trouble in WV, Rover is also facing new issues in both Ohio and Pennsylvania. In February heavy rains in the region caused “slippage issues” where the pipeline is being installed. Rover filed a report with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) last week to say it has eight crews working to correct slippage issues at six locations along its 51-mile Burgettstown Lateral. Here’s the latest on WV shutting down Rover, and Rover’s work to fix slippage issues…
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Energy Transfer: Rover & ME2 Pipelines Both Online by End 2Q18

Earlier this week Energy Transfer Partners (ET), one of the country’s largest midstream (pipeline) companies, released an update covering fourth quarter and full year 2017 results. As part of that update, the muckety-mucks from ET held an analyst conference call (yesterday). On that call they not only discussed what happened in 2017, but what is happening and will happen in 2018. ET, in case you didn’t know, is builder of both the monster Rover Pipeline project (from PA, WV and eastern OH through OH and into Michigan), as well as the Mariner East 2 (ME2) pipeline (NGL pipeline from eastern OH across the entire length of PA to the Marcus Hook facility near Philadelphia). We learned some important information from yesterday’s update. While the good news for both the Rover and ME2 is that they will both soon be fully operational, the truth is, both are delayed from their originally intended “in-service” dates. In the case of Rover, the new news delivered on yesterday’s conference call is that full operation of the entire length of Rover Pipeline, which will be capable of flowing up to 3.25 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of natural gas along its entire length, won’t happen until sometime in the second quarter 2018–that is, by the end of June. This is the first time ET has admitted full operation of the Rover pipeline will not be ready by end of March. However, to put this news in perspective, much of the pipeline is already done and currently flowing 2 Bcf/d–even as you read this. As for ME2, following an already-admitted delay until end of 2Q18, ET yesterday said it is keeping their estimate that the pipeline will be up and running by end of June, even though the project just came through a one-month construction shut down imposed by the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection. After ET (i.e. Sunoco Logistics Partners) paid a $12.6 million ransom (“fine”), the DEP relented and allowed it to restart construction. The one-month construction hiatus has not, according to officials, delayed the in-service date for ME2. Cool! Below is ET’s 4Q & full 2017 update. First up are ET comments about Rover and ME2…
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Rover Starts Up 2nd Mainline Compressor, Volume Grows to 2 Bcf/d

Yesterday the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) granted Rover Pipeline permission to start operations at its Mainline Compressor Station 2 in Wayne County, OH. Rover is a “monster” pipeline, a $3.7 billion, 711-mile natural gas pipeline that runs from western PA, northern WV and eastern OH through OH into Michigan and eventually to Canada. Rover is the largest of all Marcellus/Utica pipeline projects that will (within the next month or so) begin to flow 3.25 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d). With the startup of this second mainline compressor, volume along the portions of the completed pipeline will flow 2 Bcf/d. The company maintains it is on track to have the pipeline fully operational by the end of March. It is an engineering marvel, although not without some bumps along the way (see yesterday’s post, Ohio EPA Continues to Target Rover Pipe in New FERC Letter). Here’s the stellar news that the Wayne compressor is, likely as you read this, up and running…
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Ohio EPA Continues to Target Rover Pipe in New FERC Letter

When will Captain Craig “Ahab” Butler, executive director of the Ohio EPA, realize he’s never going to harpoon his great white whale–Rover Pipeline? Captain Butler is at it again. The Ohio EPA filed a letter with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) last week claiming that testing done by OEPA found the presence of very low levels of the toxic chemical tetrachloroethene at Rover’s underground drilling site at the Tuscarawas River in southern Stark County. OEPA admits they can’t prove the very low levels of the compound actually came from Rover’s drilling activity–but hey, what’s proof got to do with it? Un-coincidentally, two Democrat members of Congress, one from New Jersey, the other from Washington State (one 560 miles away from Ohio, the other 2,400 miles away from Ohio) are asking FERC for a “briefing” on the Rover Pipeline project. Apparently OEPA couldn’t get any Ohio members of Congress to step up and pressure FERC, so OEPA went shopping for sympathetic Dems in other states who would. And oh, by the way, the Dems want (i.e. demand) their “briefing” no later than Feb. 28th…
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Energy Transfer Wants to Build New Compressor Station in SWPA

New Sewickley Township (Beaver County), PA

In June 2015, MDN reported on an important new project in the Marcellus/Utica being built by Energy Transfer Partners (see ETP Announces $1.5B Revolution Pipeline/Plant Project in SWPA). The project, dubbed the Revolution Project, includes a 100-mile gathering pipeline system in Butler County, PA (lots of wet gas to move), along with a new cryogenic gas processing plant to be constructed “in western Pennsylvania”–which we later discovered is in Washington County, PA. The original plan was to have the cryogenic processing plant (in Washington County) up and running by 2Q17. That didn’t happen. We spotted a story from September last year which said it was due to go online “later this year”–meaning by the end of 2017. Is it online now? We don’t know/couldn’t find out. Possibly. What we do know is that the cryogenic plant will separate the wet gas into methane and NGLs, and that the NGLs will hitch a ride on the Mariner East 2 Pipeline all the way to Marcus Hook. That’s the plan. The pipeline itself that gathers and sends wet gas to the cryogenic processing plant has one compressor station to compress the gas and send it on its way. However, Energy Transfer wants to build a second compressor station to assist. And they want to build it now, as in right now, before summer, in New Sewickley Township (Beaver County)…
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Rover Pipeline’s SWPA Burgettstown Lateral Ready for Startup

Click map for larger version

On Tuesday, Rover Pipeline (Energy Transfer Partners) sent an official request to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) asking for permission to begin service on one of the remaining legs of the pipeline not yet up and running as part of Phase 1 development. Rover wants to begin service on the Burgettstown Lateral by Feb. 26. The Burgettstown Lateral (see the map below) extends from Burgettstown (Washington County), PA through Hancock County, WV and into eastern Ohio, connecting to the main Rover Pipeline in Carroll County. The Burgettstown Lateral is 51.3 miles long and includes a compressor station in/near Burgettstown to push the gas along the entire length of the lateral. Rover still maintains they will have the entire Rover Pipeline network up and running by the end of March. There are still some areas in Ohio where they are working (drilling for a second pipeline under the Tuscarawas River), however, most of the work remaining to be done is in Michigan–Phase 2 of the project. When it’s all done, up and running, Rover will flow 3.25 billion cubic feet per day of Marcellus/Utica gas to the Midwest, Gulf Coast and Canada. Below is Rover’s request to “start me up” for the Burgettstown Lateral, along with a map of the lateral…
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FERC Gives Rover Pipe OK to Restart Drilling Under Tuscarawas River

Looks like asking “Pretty please, with a cherry on top” (along with providing requested information) works! MDN previously told you that on Friday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) asked Rover Pipeline for more information before FERC would allow the project to restart drilling under the Tuscarawas River (see Rover Again Asks FERC for OK to Restart Tuscarawas Drilling). FERC asked for a review of three different options, including drill in a different place under the river and forget about drilling for a second pipe at all. Rover didn’t like either of those options and lobbied, hard, to get FERC to allow them to restart drilling in the same place where they’ve now lost 200,000 gallons of drilling mud down hole. Rover responded (on Sunday) to FERC’s Friday request, providing the information FERC requested. Rover specifically asked FERC for permission to restart drilling by 3 pm Monday–at the original location. The Monday deadline came and went. However, something in Rover’s appeal must have convinced FERC, because the OK to restart drilling came a day later–on Tuesday. Work has now resumed at the site, much to the consternation of Ohio EPA’s Craig Butler, who continues to oppose the project…
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Rover Again Asks FERC for OK to Restart Tuscarawas Drilling

On Jan. 24, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) sent a letter to Rover Pipeline stopping drilling at the Tuscarawas River site, which had only restarted in December (see FERC Stops Rover Drilling Near River After 200K Gal Mud Disappears). In a strongly worded letter dated Sunday, Jan. 28, Rover told FERC they are “frustrated by the inaccurate central premise underlying the letter received from” FERC shutting down drilling at that location (see Rover “Frustrated” with FERC Order to Stop Drilling at Tuscarawas). Some 99% of all construction work is now complete for Rover Pipeline. There’s only a little more to do to finish things up, including installation of a second Rover Pipeline (next to the first) underneath the Tuscarawas River. Rover has “lost” 200,000 gallons of drilling mud down the hole in drilling for the second pipe. However, the “lost” mud has not come back to the surface. Mud disappearing–and staying down the hole–when drilling for pipelines is not uncommon. Yet FERC will not lift the stop work order. On Friday, FERC sent a letter to Rover saying Rover must provide information on three different scenarios before work can resume: (1) how Rover plans to complete drilling at the current location without losing any more mud, (2) change locations and run the second pipe under another part of the Tuscarawas River, or (3) forget about drilling and installing a second pipe altogether, and stick with just a single pipe already in place now. FERC’s letter brought a swift response. On Sunday, Rover provided a mountain of evidence to say the current plan of drilling under the river at the existing location is the right plan. Rover went one step further, asking FERC to allow them to begin drilling again by yesterday (Monday) afternoon at 3pm. To the best of our knowledge, that did not happen…
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Rover “Frustrated” with FERC Order to Stop Drilling at Tuscarawas

In a strongly worded letter dated Sunday, Rover Pipeline tells the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) they are “frustrated by the inaccurate central premise underlying the letter received from” FERC shutting down drilling at the Tuscarawas River location. On Jan. 24 FERC sent a letter to Rover stopping drilling at Tuscarawas, which had only restarted in December (see FERC Stops Rover Drilling Near River After 200K Gal Mud Disappears). In April 2017, some 2 million gallons of drilling mud went down the hole near the Tuscarawas River and popped back out where it should not have, harming a wetland by smothering aquatic life (see Rover Pipeline Accident Spills ~2M Gal. Drilling Mud in OH Swamp). That 2 million gallon “spill” in April triggered a shutdown of all HDD work in Ohio. It was only last December that Rover was allowed, by FERC, to resume more HDD work at the Tuscarawas site (see FERC Gives Rover OK to Resume All HDD Work, Incl. Tuscarawas River). After “losing” another 200K gallons down the hole, FERC shut it down a second time, on the 24th. So why is Rover frustrated? Because (a) losing some drilling mud was predicted and expected, and (b) NONE of the 200K gallons of mud lost has come back to the surface. There is no “inadvertent return,” as it’s called. Rover says 200K gallons staying down the hole, in the ground and not coming back out, is no big deal. That’s why they’re frustrated…
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Analysts Speculate Rover Pipe Will be Delayed Following FERC Order

Yesterday MDN brought you the news that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has slapped a stop work order on underground horizontal direction drilling (HDD) for Rover Pipeline at the site crossing under the Tuscarawas River (see FERC Stops Rover Drilling Near River After 200K Gal Mud Disappears). There is tough geography in that area. In April 2017, Rover lost approximately 2 million gallons of nontoxic drilling mud at that location, mud which leaked out of the hole and onto the ground (see Rover Pipeline Accident Spills ~2M Gal. Drilling Mud in OH Swamp). That accident caused a shutdown of all Rover HDD work in Ohio. Work eventually resumed (last year). Work at the Tuscarawas location didn’t resume until last December (see FERC Gives Rover OK to Resume All HDD Work, Incl. Tuscarawas River). But now Rover has lost another ~200,000 gallons of drilling mud in the Tuscarawas borehole. Hence the FERC order. Energy Transfer Partners, the builder of Rover, maintains the entire Rover project will be completed by the end of March. Given the new stop work order with no apparent resolution in sight for how ET plans to overcome the problems at Tuscarawas, industry analysts are now speculating that Rover will not be done by the end of March, as advertised…
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FERC Stops Rover Drilling Near River After 200K Gal Mud Disappears

The Ohio EPA continues its yapping insistence that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) *permanently* shut down underground horizontal directional drilling (HDD) work being done by Rover Pipeline near the Tuscarawas River over concerns that nontoxic (totally safe) drilling mud keeps disappearing down the borehole. FERC listened, sort of. In an order dated yesterday, FERC told Rover to *temporarily* stop HDD work at Tuscarawas until Rover can outline a plan for moving forward that FERC has confidence will address concerns over the disappearing drilling mud. When mud used for drilling holes comes out on the surface any place other than the hole from which it went down, it’s called an “inadvertent return.” We call it a leak. However, if that same mud never comes back to the surface, as sometimes happens, it’s fine. Except when it’s a LOT of mud, as is the case in drilling near Tuscarawas where a cumulative 200,000 gallons of it have disappeared down hole, not (so far) coming back out. Sooner or later it seems likely that at least some of that mud will come back to the surface–somewhere. That’s the concern that no doubt prompted FERC to send Rover a letter yesterday telling them to (for now) stop HDD work at Tuscarawas…
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