Rover Pipe Tells FERC: The Weather Ate My Restoration Homework

Earlier this week MDN told you that Rover Pipeline has not fulfilled its promise to restore (grading, replanting, etc.) certain locations it said it would restore no later than June 30, and because of their failure to perform, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is (so far) refusing to authorize for go-live two of Rover’s lateral pipeline segments (see FERC Plays Hardball with Rover – Refuses to Certify 4 Laterals). Treading on thin ice, Rover responded to FERC with a letter (full copy below) stating it is “deeply disappointed by several inaccurate statements made by FERC Staff in the letter and writes now to correct the record.” Very thin ice. In the letter, Rover tells FERC they (Rover) had kept FERC staffers informed at every point along the way about what they are doing, and not doing, and why. Specifically, they blamed the weather, heavy rains, for the delay. And Rover said that for FERC to imply Rover may not live up to its obligations is just bupkis. Question: Will telling someone “You’re wrong!”–especially if they’re your boss with the power to make your life miserable–make them more amenable to your position? We don’t think so…
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Sunoco Seeks to Use Alternate Pipe Near Philly to Get ME2 Flowing

Years ago when Sunoco Logistics Partners (aka Energy Transfer Partners) originally proposed and planned the Mariner East 2 twin pipelines from the edge of eastern Ohio through the entire length of Pennsylvania to the Marcus Hook refinery near Philadelphia, the completion date promised was the end of 2016. Little could Sunoco foresee the multiple lawsuits, regulatory hearings and illegal protest actions that would conspire to throw the project off schedule for more than a year and half. When pipeline companies plan such multi-billion dollar projects, they first get customers (drillers) to sign on the dotted line, guaranteeing there will be enough product (and revenue) to make the project worthwhile. Drillers *did* sign on the dotted line, and they’re still waiting. Waiting and now pressuring Sunoco to get the darned thing up and running. The pipeline itself is 98% complete–in the ground and connected. But an all-important 2% is still not complete, most of it in the Philly suburbs–Delaware and Chester counties. Sunoco continues to have problems with underground horizontal directional drilling and with ongoing litigation by towns in the Philly area. What to do, with customers breathing down your back? Sunoco has come up with an ingenious solution that is sure to send the crazies into orbit. Sunoco is asking the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) for permission to use part of an existing 12-inch pipeline in that area that previously carried refined petroleum products (things like gasoline, heating oil, and jet fuel), repurposing the pipeline to carry NGLs (ethane, propane, butane, etc.). This is only a short-term fix until the last bits of the full ME2 is up and running…
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FERC Plays Hardball with Rover – Refuses to Certify 4 Laterals

Rover Pipeline has violated one of the sacrosanct rules of life (and of pipeline construction): “Say what you’ll do, then do what you say.” Rover told the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission it would restore areas previously dug up to lay the pipeline by certain dates (primarily June 30th). In return, based on those promises from Rover, FERC allowed the company to begin service on certain sections of the $3.7 billion, 711-mile natural gas pipeline that runs from PA, WV and eastern OH through OH into Michigan and on to Canada via the Vector Pipeline. Rover has been pressuring FERC to allow two of the laterals–the Burgettstown and Majorsville laterals, that reach into western Pennsylvania–to begin service (see Rover Pressuring FERC to Approve Final 2 Laterals ASAP). We previously assumed (incorrectly) that the other six laterals were all online. That is not the case. Two more laterals are not yet online, in addition to the Burgettstown and Majorsville laterals. We’re not sure which ones. Laterals are offshoot pipelines that connect sources of gas to the main Rover pipeline–a critical component because you need the supply or you’ll have a partially empty mainline. In a letter dated last Thursday, FERC told Rover they haven’t lived up to their promises to restore areas they promised to restore by June 30th. The FERC letter (full copy below) says (1) Rover must provide a detailed list, chapter and verse, of why it has not lived up to its promises, and (2) informs Rover that until it does live up to its promises, they won’t be authorizing any more laterals to go online. FERC is playing hardball–far from the “industry rubber stamp” that antis attempt to portray FERC as…
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M-U Production May “Flounder” This Summer from Rover Pipe Delays

Platts is reporting U.S. natural gas production hit a new, all-time high last week, mainly due to a surge in natgas production in the Texas Permian. Although Marcellus/Utica production “pulled back modestly” this past week, if you look at the entire month of June, we hit new all-time highs for production yet again. However, it wasn’t just the good news of new record production that caught our attention in the Platts update, but this statement: “Looking ahead, it’s possible that Northeast production growth could flounder this summer, thanks to continued in-service /delays on Rover Pipeline’s upstream supply laterals.” Rover is desperately trying to get FERC to grant permission to open the Majorsville and Burgettstown laterals, as we pointed out yesterday (see Rover Pressuring FERC to Approve Final 2 Laterals ASAP). So if those laterals were to go into service immediately, wouldn’t that mean production will spike up right away with no “floundering”? Not necessarily. Here’s why…
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Rover Pressuring FERC to Approve Final 2 Laterals ASAP

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In a respectful, but strongly worded letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Energy Transfer Partners’ Rover Pipeline asks FERC to (our words) get off its rear-end and approve the Burgettstown and Majorsville laterals. The two laterals, or off-shoots of the pipeline system, both reach into western Pennsylvania and are (from what we can tell) the final two pieces of the Rover pipeline that are not yet online. Rover asked FERC to approve the two laterals, along with other portions of the pipeline, by June 1st, in a letter dated May 24th. FERC did approve some items on the list, but not the two laterals (see M-U Gas Now Travels to Dawn Hub in Canada via Rover Pipeline). In a June 21 letter (read it below) Rover then asked FERC to approve the two laterals by June 25, this past Monday. That date came and went with no approvals. Rover said in its letter: “significant volumes of natural gas have been unable to flow on pipeline facilities that have been completed for nearly a month.” You can feel the frustration when reading the letter. So what, exactly, is the holdup anyway?…
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WV DEP Fines Rover Pipe $430K for Water Pollution Violations

Rover Pipeline (Energy Transfer Partners) has agreed to pay a $430,030 fine to the West Virginia Dept. of Environmental Protection for water pollution violations related to construction activities for the pipeline. The “consent order” was dated May 15 but not released to the public until Tuesday of this week. The proposed deal is now open for public comment until July 13. Rover received 18 notices of violation and 2 cease-and-desist orders dating back to April 2017. Most of the violations relate to failure to control erosion and for allowing sediment water to leak out of construction areas. WV DEP has not yet signed (officially accepted) the order, but it certainly appears to be a done deal. Here’s the news and a copy of the consent order…
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The Battle for Dawn Hub Begins: M-U vs. Western Canada

Canadian natural gas customers in Ontario and Quebec can expect to begin paying less for their gas, courtesy of their American cousins. Starting last week, Marcellus/Utica gas is now flowing all the way to the Dawn Hub in Ontario, via the Rover Pipeline connected to the Vector Pipeline (see M-U Gas Now Travels to Dawn Hub in Canada via Rover Pipeline). Western Canadian producers beat Rover to the punch last year when TransCanada radically reduced prices to cart gas thousands of miles away to the Dawn Hub (see Canadian Lowball Shipping Works, Grabs Market Share from U.S.). Now that M-U gas is also hitting the Dawn Hub, there’s an abundance (over abundance?), which has driven prices to their lowest in 10 years. The battle for Dawn Hub, between M-U and Canadian gas, has begun, and Canadian gas customers are already winners…
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M-U Gas Now Travels to Dawn Hub in Canada via Rover Pipeline

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Last Thursday, May 24, Energy Transfer Partners requested (frankly, begged) the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to approve final startup for the rest of Rover Pipeline not yet flowing–by June 1st. ET has contracts to honor and they promised shippers the full pipeline would be up and running by June 1st. ET requested permission to start up the “Majorsville Lateral, Supply Connector Line B, and Mainline B between CS1 and CS2 and between CS3 and the terminus,” along with a request to begin flowing on the “Burgettstown Lateral.” Note that some of the project has two pipelines, side by side (the Mainline and Supply Connector). ET asked that the second pipes in both cases be allowed to start up, along with the Majorsville and Burgettstown Laterals (see the map). ET got some of what it wanted–everything but permission to start up the laterals–yesterday from FERC. With the startup of Mainline B and Supply Connector B, ET says the Rover Pipeline project is now capable of flowing the full 3.25 billion cubic feet per day of natgas all the way to the Dawn Hub in Ontario, Canada. The only “problem” remaining is to find enough gas to flow the full 3.25 Bcf/d. They won’t be flowing the full 3.25 Bcf/d until all of the laterals are brought online…
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ETP Update: Rover Fully Online by June 1, Mariner East 2 Online 3Q18

Yesterday Energy Transfer Partners held its quarterly conference call with stock analysts to discuss first quarter 2018 results. On the phone call we got some updated information about timing for two critical Marcellus/Utica projects: Rover Pipeline and Mariner East 2 Pipeline. As recently as last week MDN was under the impression that Rover–a $3.7 billion, 711-mile natural gas pipeline that runs from PA, WV and eastern OH through OH into Michigan and on to Canada via the Vector Pipeline–would be 100% done sometime by the end of June. Not so according to ET’s CFO Thomas Long, who said on yesterday’s call that Rover will be fully done and in service by June 1! That is really good news. That means the full capacity of 3.25 billion cubic feet per day of Marcellus/Utica gas will flow to the Midwest, Michigan and Canada within the next three weeks. As for Mariner East 2 (ME2), that project was knocked off its original schedule following an extended shutdown of construction by the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environment Protection. ME2 is actually two pipelines, not one. The first ME2 pipeline, according to Tom Long, will be up and running sometime by the end of September this year. The second ME2 pipeline, referred to as ME2X, will be done by “mid-2019.” Here’s a couple of excerpts from the conference call, along with the full ET 1Q18 update…
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Ohio EPA Continues to Hound 99% Done Rover Pipe re River Drilling

Rover Pipeline–a $3.7 billion, 711-mile natural gas pipeline that runs from PA, WV and eastern OH through OH into Michigan and on to Canada via the Vector Pipeline–is about 99% done and as of last week, most of it is now up and running (see FERC Allows Rover Pipeline Startup in Michigan, Close to 100% Done). There are still a few spots being worked on, but very few. Even though the project is on the home stretch and will be 100% done by the end of June, Ohio EPA’s Craig Butler continues to hunt Rover like Captain Ahab hunted Moby-Dick. He can’t leave it alone. Obsessed. In February Captain Butler filed a letter with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) claiming that testing done by OEPA found the presence of very low levels of the toxic chemical tetrachloroethene (PCE) at Rover’s underground drilling site at the Tuscarawas River in southern Stark County (see Ohio EPA Continues to Target Rover Pipe in New FERC Letter). 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? Energy Transfer Partners, the company building Rover, responded by saying the PCE comes from sediment at the bottom of the long-polluted Tuscarawas River itself. On Tuesday OEPA filed another letter with FERC (full copy below) disagreeing with ET’s assessment, once again requesting FERC impose all sorts of requirements and conditions on the project–putting OEPA in charge of some of it (which is patently unconstitutional)…
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WV DEP Lifts Block on Rover Pipeline Construction

The vast majority of Rover Pipeline is done, and most of it is now up and running (see FERC Allows Rover Pipeline Startup in Michigan, Close to 100% Done). But there are a few spots here and there where small sections are still not complete. One of those is in West Virginia. In March, the WV Dept. of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) slapped Rover with a “cease and desist” order, stopping all construction of Rover in the state, because of inspections that found 14 violations of water pollution regulations (see WV DEP Orders Rover Pipe to Stop Construction for Violations). 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. The good news is that last Wednesday, WVDEP told Rover they can now resume construction…
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Canadian Lowball Shipping Works, Grabs Market Share from U.S.

TransCanada, one of Canada’s leading midstream/pipeline companies, cooked up a deal in 2016 to pipe natural gas from Canada’s West Coast to the East Coast in order to fend off cheap supplies of Marcellus/Utica gas that will flow into Canada from the NEXUS and Rover pipelines (see TransCanada Pipe Drops Price 42% to Compete with Marcellus/Utica). TransCanada dropped their pipeline price by 46% to lure drillers by (theoretically) making it less expensive to get gas from Western Canada, some 2,400 miles away, than from the Marcellus, just 400 miles away. Following a couple of open seasons and stiff regulatory hurdles, the plan was adopted and went into service last November (see TransCanada Pipe Begins Lowball Shipping to Compete with Marc/Utica). In February of this year, TransCanada announced a $1.9 billion plan to expand its Western Canadian pipeline system in a bid to gather up and send even more Western Canadian gas to the East Coast (see TransCanada Spending $1.9B to Bring More Canadian Gas to Northeast). Looks like TransCanada’s gamble paid off. According to records from the U.S. Dept. of Energy, Canada is using more of their own homegrown gas and less gas from the U.S….
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Sunoco’s ME1 Pipe Restarts, ME2 Pipe Pays Another $355K in Fines

On March 3, the Mariner East 1 (ME1) natural gas liquids (NGL) pipeline was suddenly switched off by order of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) after a sinkhole opened up under the pipeline in Chester County, exposing some of the bare steel to the open air (see PA PUC Shuts Down Mariner 1 Pipeline Due to Mariner 2 Sinkhole). Sunoco Logistics Partners, the owner of ME1, is building a new set of pipelines called Mariner East 2 (ME2) close to the existing ME1 pipeline. Construction work in the area on ME2 led to the sinkhole that exposed ME1. The PUC asked Sunoco to drill holes and pour concrete in them to firm up ME1, which Sunoco did (see PA PUC Asks Sunoco to Drill Holes, Pour Concrete to Firm Up ME1). A full two months after ordering ME1 turned off, costing Sunoco (and Range Resources) millions of dollars in lost revenue, the PUC told Sunoco they could restart ME1. As of today, propane and ethane have resumed flowing through ME1. But what The Almighty State grants with one hand, it takes away with the other. Although Sunoco paid a massive $12.6 million fine in February to the Dept. of Environmental Protection related to ME2 construction misadventures (see Sunoco LP Pays PA DEP $12.6M to Resume ME2 Pipeline Construction), yesterday the DEP assessed Sunoco *another* $355,622 penalty for more ME2 misadventures–what DEP calls “violations of the Clean Streams Law”…
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FERC Allows Rover Pipeline Startup in Michigan, Close to 100% Done

An order from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued yesterday allows Energy Transfer (ET) to begin full operations along the North Market Segment of the Rover Pipeline–a $3.7 billion, 711-mile natural gas pipeline that runs from PA, WV and eastern OH through OH into Michigan and on to Canada via the Vector Pipeline. On April 13 ET asked 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 eagerly wants to begin service along a 100-mile segment of Rover in northwest Ohio on into Michigan. FERC has been approving ET’s April 13th request in dribs and drabs. With yesterday’s approval, the entire length of the Rover pipeline is now substantially operational. There are still a few places not yet in service, but ET says they are on track to have the project 100% operational by the end of June. When fully operational, Rover will flow 3.25 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of Marcellus/Utica gas, some it going all the way to the Dawn Hub in Ontario, Canada. Currently Rover is capable of flowing 1.7 Bcf/d. With this new addition, we expect that number will jump considerably…
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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

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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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