Philly Antis Furious that ME2 Pipe Going Online by Christmas

Last week MDN picked up on news shared by top management for Energy Transfer that their long-delayed Mariner East 2 pipeline system will be up and running by the end of the year (see Energy Transfer 3Q18: Mariner East 2 Pipeline Online by Christmas). In order to get the full pipeline running, they’ve had to patch together substitute pipelines in a few areas where construction of the final pipeline is stalled due to problems like sinkholes. Antis have now picked up on the fact that ME2 will be live “by Christmas” and are furiously crying foul–that they couldn’t stop the project. They claim the “patchwork” of substitute pipelines will be dangerous and unsafe. Their complaints amount to a lot of spitting and sputtering.
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Energy Transfer 3Q18: Mariner East 2 Pipeline Online by Christmas

Yesterday the muckety-mucks from Energy Transfer (ET) held a conference call with Wall Street analysts to discuss the company’s third quarter 2018 update. Inevitably on such calls there’s talk about what’s coming up in addition to what happened in the previous quarter. ET is a big midstream (pipeline) company. Among their projects are the mighty Rover Pipeline, which reaches from Pennsylvania, West Virgina, and eastern Ohio all the way into Michigan, and the Mariner East 2 Pipeline, which runs from eastern Ohio all the way through Pennsylvania to the Philadelphia area. Rover flows natural gas, ME2 (and ME2X) will flow NGLs, mainly ethane and propane. According to Tom Long, ET’s Chief Financial Officer, ME2 will be up and running sometime this quarter. Since the end of this quarter is around Christmastime, we prefer to think of ME2 as a Christmas present for Marcellus/Utica drillers.
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FERC OKs Final 2 Rover Pipeline Laterals – Now 100% Online

Flashback: In May of this year, Energy Transfer CEO Thomas Long said Rover Pipeline would be fully online by June 1st (see ETP Update: Rover Fully Online by June 1, Mariner East 2 Online 3Q18). Whoops. Gotta watch those “forward-looking statements” Tom. A large portion of the pipeline, designated Phase 1A, finally began flowing natural gas on Sept. 1st (see Big Portion of Rover Pipeline Now Up & Running – Thru Most of Ohio). Other bits and bobs have come online since that time. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission held back final approvals for some Rover laterals (offshoot pipelines that gather gas from various locations) as a way to force ET to perform clean-up work (see FERC Continues to Block Rover Laterals Until Restoration Work Done). The final two laterals, located in West Virginia, are now cleared to begin operation.
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PA DEP Stops Revolution Pipe Repair Following New Problems

On Sept. 10, Energy Transfer’s 24-inch gathering pipeline in Beaver County, PA, called the Revolution Pipeline, caught fire and exploded during testing (see Revolution Pipeline Near Pittsburgh Explodes – Home & Barn Destroyed). Fortunately, nobody was hurt, although a nearby home, barn and two garages were leveled by fire from the blast. That area, like much of the northeast, has been pounded by rain week after week and month after month. All that rain resulted in a landslide, which caused the explosion. Since that time ET has been working, pushing dirt around the entire 100-mile length of the pipeline to ensure there are no other problems. Yesterday the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) put a stop to that work, at least for now.
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Mariner East 2 Pipeline Going into Service “Next Few Weeks”

There’s a series of private events held each fall, sponsored by investment banks and investment firms, that won’t allow media to attend. Supposedly the events allow companies to speak off the record (to investors and analysts) about things they’d rather not have on the public record. We think its a farce…since it keeps us out of those meetings! Inevitably, if there’s big news, it leaks out. And such is the case with news from a recent event hosted by Height Capital Markets in Washington, D.C. At the Height event, Energy Transfer (i.e. Sunoco Logistics Partners) told analysts that the Mariner East 2 (ME2) pipeline project “will be in service as soon as it is mechanically complete, which is expected to be in the next few weeks.”
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Energy Transfer Partners & Equity Merging into One Company Today

Energy Transfer is, on paper, several different companies. Energy Transfer Equity (ETE) is the mother ship–the main holding company. Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) is and has been (for us) the main company, builder of Rover Pipeline, among other projects. Nearly two years ago Sunoco Logistics Partners, a subsidiary of ETE, was merged into ETP (see ETE Merging Sunoco Logistics and Energy Transfer Partners). Sunoco, aka ETP, is building the Mariner East 2 NGL pipeline project. Although technically ETP is the builder, we still call the company doing the work Sunoco, because that’s what everyone else does. Confusing! Hopefully that confusion ends today. ETE announced yesterday that following a vote of unitholders (i.e. shareholders), as of today ETE and ETP are merged, and the new name is simply, Energy Transfer.
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Mariner East 2 Pipe Startup Delayed Due to “Regulatory Issues”

ME2 Pipeline (red dotted line) – click for larger version

Energy Transfer Partners and their Sunoco Logistics unit had previously predicted the Mariner East 2 NGL (natural gas liquids) pipeline would be up and running no later than Sept. 30. That date came and went, and the pipeline is still not ready. According the ET, the reason is due to “regulatory issues.” Meaning, what exactly? We have a list of the “issues” holding up ME2 from launching.
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Empty Victory for Antis: PA PUC Blocks ME2 Valve Stn in W Goshen

Yesterday the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) blocked Sunoco Logistics Partners from building a valve station for the Mariner East 2 (ME2) project in West Goshen Township, Chester County where it wanted to build it. The PUC voted to accept a “Recommended Decision” issued by Administrative Law Judge Elizabeth Barnes that blocks construction of the valve station. Barnes has a history of ruling against ME2 going all the way back to 2014. Fortunately, most of her rulings have been overturned by the PUC. In this case it was not. But in the end, it doesn’t matter, because Sunoco said last December they’ve changed their plans and won’t build the valve station in West Goshen at all (see PA PUC Votes to Let ME2 Pipe Restart Construction in West Goshen). As a way of attempting to block the pipeline through their community, West Goshen objected to Sunoco building a new valve station for ME2 across the street from a valve station for Mariner East 1. West Goshen wanted the valve station built next to the existing ME1 valve station, but Sunoco wanted to build the new station across the street, citing safety concerns. West Goshen appealed to the state Public Utility Commission (PUC). In July 2017, Judge Barnes agreed with West Goshen (no surprise there), stopping not only construction of the valve station, but also construction of the ME2 pipeline itself through the township. The portion of the decision blocking pipeline construction was overturned. In December 2017, Sunoco gave up the fight to build the West Goshen valve station, period. Of course the antis who run West Goshen like a private fiefdom still objected! They said Sunoco hasn’t said what the alternative to building the valve station (a safety feature) would be. Hey, West Goshen’s “leaders” were the ones who didn’t want the valve station in the first place. West Goshen’s “leaders” are the ones who have made the pipeline through their community “less safe” because they didn’t want the valve station. Now they get to live with their actions. So reading that the PUC has, nine months later, ratified Barnes’ decision to block the valve station is somewhat strange. There’s no “there” there anymore. Sunoco dropped the valve station plan long ago. We hope West Goshen antis enjoy their empty victory…
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Revolution Pipeline Explosion in W PA – What We Know So Far

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) is taking the lead in investigating the Energy Transfer Revolution Pipeline explosion and fire that happened in Beaver County early Monday morning (see Revolution Pipeline Near Pittsburgh Explodes – Home & Barn Destroyed). The PUC issued an update yesterday outlining what they know so far about the incident. PUC Chairman Gladys Brown cautioned that it’s still too early to draw any conclusions, although the working theory is that there was a landslide in the area due to continuous heavy rain for weeks. Brown said the engineers and investigators need time to investigate. No instant answers. Continuing bad weather in the area has hindered the investigation. PUC pipeline safety engineers have, however, confirmed a few facts about the incident…
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Revolution Pipeline Near Pittsburgh Explodes – Home & Barn Destroyed

Yesterday morning shortly before 5 am, a 24-inch gathering pipeline in Beaver County, PA (about 30 miles from Pittsburgh) caught fire and exploded. Fortunately, nobody was hurt, although a nearby home, barn and two garages were leveled by fire from the blast. The pipeline went online just last week, on Sept. 3. It wasn’t even officially/commercially online–it was still in testing phase. The exploded pipeline is part of Energy Transfer’s 100-mile Revolution Pipeline system. The pipe gathers dry and wet gas from local wells and delivers it to a cryogenic separating plant in Washington County, PA. From there, the separated methane goes into the Burgettstown Lateral of the Rover Pipeline (Burgettstown began service on Sept. 1). Following the explosion around 30 homes within a half mile were evacuated, but returned later in the day. Some 1,500 people in the area were without power for part of the day after six high-tension electric lines were toppled, either by the blast or the ensuring fire. A full investigation is now under way, but early indications are a “ground slip” (i.e. landslide) was the cause. That area has been pounded day after day with torrential rain, saturating the ground and causing multiple landslides in the area. Philadelphia antis (on the other side of the state) have already piled on, rubbing their hands with glee, pointing out Energy Transfer is the same company as Sunoco Logistics Partners–the company building the Mariner East 2 pipeline project. Antis are using a freak accident  and tragedy in the hills outside Pittsburgh to try and stop ME2 in the flat country of Greater Philadelphia…
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Problem at Majorsville Compressor Reduced Flow on Rover Pipe

Rover system map – click for larger version

Near the end of August, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) gave Energy Transfer Partners permission to start up both the Burgettstown and Majorsville Laterals, beginning Sept. 1 (see FERC Finally Approves 2 Key Rover Pipeline Laterals, Sept 1 Start). The Majorsville lateral is a “feeder pipeline” that connects supplies of natural gas produced in West Virginia (and western PA) to the main trunk of the Rover Pipeline. Rover is a super highway flowing Utica (and Marcellus) gas to the Midwest and Canada. But without smaller laterals (feeders) flowing gas into the main trunk of Rover, there’s no gas to sell to anyone. Majorsville did, indeed, start up on or about Sept. 1st, but part (or all) of the Majorsville lateral went down a few days later, last Thursday, because a piece of equipment in the Majorsville compressor station needed “maintenance.” According to ET, such maintenance is “part of the normal startup” for a compressor station. Whatever the issue/problem was, it was quickly fixed and by Friday (a day later) the full Majorsville lateral was back up and running…
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Rover Pipe Asks FERC to Start Up Final 2 Laterals, for Antero

We finally come down to the final two lateral pipelines for Rover. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) played a game of hardball with Energy Transfer (ET) over the Rover Pipeline. For months FERC refused to allow four Rover laterals–feeder pipelines to shuttle gas from where it’s produced into the main Rover pipeline–to start up (see FERC Plays Hardball with Rover – Refuses to Certify 4 Laterals). The reason? ET had not, according to FERC, lived up to its word on restoration work. Things like smoothing over the dirt and replanting grass/other vegetation over top of the buried pipeline. In early August ET assured FERC it would have the majority of restoration work done on two key laterals–the Burgettstown Lateral in southwestern PA, and the Majorsville Lateral in the northern panhandle of WV–by the end of August. FERC made ET sweat. Finally, near the end of August, FERC gave ET permission to start up both the Burgettstown and Majorsville Laterals on Sept. 1 (see FERC Finally Approves 2 Key Rover Pipeline Laterals, Sept 1 Start). That leaves just two final laterals, the CGT (Columbia Gas Transmission) and Sherwood Laterals, still not online. On Friday ET asked FERC to approve the startup for those two laterals, along with a compressor station and two meter stations associated with them. The driller with the most at stake in the startup of these two final laterals is Antero Resources…
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FERC Finally Approves 2 Key Rover Pipeline Laterals, Sept 1 Start

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) game of hardball with Energy Transfer over the Rover Pipeline has finally paid off. For months FERC has refused to allow four Rover laterals–feeder pipelines to shuttle gas from where it’s produced into the main Rover pipeline–to start up (see FERC Plays Hardball with Rover – Refuses to Certify 4 Laterals). The reason? ET has not, according to FERC, lived up to its word on restoration work. Things like smoothing over the dirt and replanting grass and other vegetation over top of the buried pipeline. Earlier this month ET assured FERC it would have the majority of restoration work done on two key laterals–the Burgettstown Lateral in southwestern PA, and the Majorsville Lateral in the northern panhandle of WV–by the end of this month (see FERC Continues to Block Rover Laterals Until Restoration Work Done). With recent evidence that ET is indeed living up to its word, last Thursday FERC gave ET permission to start up both the Burgettstown and Majorsville Laterals on Sept. 1. The majority of the restoration work will be done by this Friday, Aug. 31. However, there will still be some odds and ends after that (addressing “ground movement areas) that will go on through December. That leaves two final laterals–the CGT (Columbia Gas Transmission) and Sherwood Laterals, still not online. This is a prime example of FERC playing hardball, contrary to the “rubber stamp” antis claim FERC is for pipeline companies…
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FERC Approves New Connection to Rover Lateral, but Not the Lateral

Yesterday the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) granted a “certificate of public convenience and necessity” (i.e. official approval) for Rover Pipeline to spend $4.7 million to build a new meter station along Rover’s Burgettstown Lateral. The new meter station, to be located in Jefferson County, OH, will connect a pipeline gathering system built and maintained by Utica Gas Services LLC, connecting the gathering system to Rover. The new connection will flow 350 million cubic feet per day of Utica Shale gas into the Rover pipeline system. But here’s the thing: FERC has not yet given Rover permission to begin flowing gas along the Burgettstown Lateral. FERC is playing hardball, withholding permission for Burgettstown and three other laterals until Rover (i.e. Energy Transfer) gets restoration work done along certain portions of the project (see FERC Continues to Block Rover Laterals Until Restoration Work Done). Obviously FERC is planning to let Burgettstown and the other laterals go online, it’s just a matter of time. But FERC is using the laterals (withholding startup) as leverage to make Rover do what it said it would do. Below is more information about UGS-Crawford Meter Station, as it’s called, and FERC’s approval of it…
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Mariner East 2 Pipeline 99% Done, Online in ~2 Months

With all of the negative news stories from mainstream media in Pennsylvania regarding the Mariner East 2 (ME2) Pipeline project, and the seemingly endless challenges by Philadelphia politicians in bed with Big Green groups to try and block the project, here’s a couple of facts to warm your heart, and give antis heartburn: (1) ME2 is now 99% done; (2) ME2 will most likely go online in the next two months–by the end of 3Q18. There will still be a few small areas where ME2 proper is not online in two months–locations near Philadelphia where there have been sinkhole problems. But Sunoco Logistics Partners (aka Energy Transfer), the builder, has a workaround–repurposing an out-of-service pipeline for a few months…
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FERC Continues to Block Rover Laterals Until Restoration Work Done

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) continues to play hardball with Energy Transfer over the Rover Pipeline. FERC refuses to allow four Rover laterals–feeder pipelines to shuttle gas from where it’s produced into the main Rover pipeline–to start up (see FERC Plays Hardball with Rover – Refuses to Certify 4 Laterals). The reason? ET hasn’t, according to FERC, lived up to its word on restoration work. Things like smoothing over the dirt and replanting grass and other vegetation over top of the buried pipeline. In a letter to FERC on Tuesday, ET said more work will be completed by the end of this month. In other words, “We’re bustin’ our hump here, please please please let us start up those laterals.” So far, silence from FERC. The game of hardball continues…
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