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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Speaker Didn’t Tell Middletown Pipe Antis What They Wanted to Hear

Anti fossil fuel radicals continue to try and stir up opposition to the Mariner East 2 (ME2) pipeline project near Philadelphia. Local supervisors in Middletown (Delaware County, PA) walk a tightrope between a desire to protect area residents and anti groups fomenting irrational fears. The Board of Supervisors hired a consultant to advise them on potential safety issues with ME1 & 2. Monday night the supervisors held a public meeting to allow residents to hear from and ask questions of the consultant. The consultant, to his credit, maintained his objectivity. He’s not for or against pipelines–he’s looking at safety issues and discussing realistic scenarios. His responses to some of the questions were not what antis in the crowd wanted to hear. They wanted him to feed their fear-mongering (and false) beliefs. The consultant refused to do so. We found one bit of news from the session highly instructive. There is an anti group calling itself Middletown Coalition for Public Safety. The group presents itself as a “nonpartisan grassroots group of parents and residents whose goal is to educate elected officials and the public regarding the risks associated with the proposed Mariner East 2 pipeline.” It is the exact opposite. Rabidly partisan (Democrat). And not composed of residents. The people who belong to the group, at least its leaders, aren’t from Middletown! At the Monday meeting one of their members, Eric Friedman, was not allowed to question the consultant because he doesn’t live in Middletown. What does that tell you about how these “grassroots” groups are operated and funded?…
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Ohio EPA Takes One More Swipe at Rover Pipe with FERC Notice

Craig Butler (aka Captain Ahab) has risen up with the Ohio EPA (aka harpoon) one last time to see if he can skewer his great white whale, the Rover Pipeline (aka Moby Dick). According to Energy Transfer Partners, builder of Rover, the Ohio EPA, which Butler heads, has filed a Notice of Violation with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as a backdoor attempt to prevent the final segments of the pipeline from going online. ET says the NOV is baseless. An ongoing delay in blocking several Rover lateral segments from going into service is causing economic harm to ET’s customers (and to ET). This isn’t the first, nor even second time Butler and OEPA have gone after Rover. It’s the upteenth time (see our Butler/Rover stories here). What’s the baseless charge this time? OEPA says Rover disposed of “spent” drilling mud containing low levels of the chemical solvent tetrachloroethene (PCE) without approval. Rover has fired back at OEPA in a letter to FERC, accusing OPEA of recycling the PCE issue after it had already been investigated and addressed…
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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

Click for larger version

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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