More Lowball Western Canadian Natgas Coming East to M-U

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 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 in November 2017 (see TransCanada Pipe Begins Lowball Shipping to Compete with Marc/Utica).
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FERC Grants Portland XPress Project Environmental Approval

Map of Portland Natural Gas System (click for larger version)

TransCanada is attempting to do what so far, no one else has been able to accomplish: Increase flows of Marcellus/Utica gas into New England. The way they’re doing it is via the Portland Natural Gas Transmission System (PNGTS), a 295-mile pipeline that spans New England from the Canadian border to pipeline connections in New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts. No, TransCanada is not proposing to build any new pipelines as part of their plan. In fact, there is very little construction in what TransCanada is calling its Portland XPress Project (PXP). Phase I is now under construction and Phase II will soon be under construction. TransCanada filed for Phase III in June. Earlier this week FERC issued a favorable environmental assessment (EA) for Phase III of the project, which is prelude to issuing a final approval.
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FERC Approves Rest of Columbia WB XPress Pipe for Startup

In early October the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) granted TransCanada permission to begin service on part of its Columbia WB XPress pipeline project, the “Western Build” portion of the project (see FERC Approves Columbia WB XPress Pipe for Partial Startup). The good news is that yesterday FERC granted permission to start up the rest of WB XPress, the “Eastern Build.” The $900 million WB XPress project is located in West Virginia and Virginia and expands capacity along the Columbia Gas Transmission (CGT) pipeline system by 1.3 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d), linking Marcellus gas supplies to new markets. The whole WB XPress enchilada is now ready to let it flow.
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1 Bcf/d of M-U Gas Ready to Flow to Gulf Coast via Columbia Pipe

Click for larger version

According to RBN Energy, “TransCanada’s Columbia Gas and Columbia Gulf transmission systems are gearing up to place into service their tandem Mountaineer Xpress and Gulf Xpress expansions, which will allow another 1 Bcf/d [billion cubic feet per day] of Marcellus/Utica gas to flow south as far as Louisiana.” This is seriously good news! Yet more of our gas will now flow to other markets where it will fetch higher prices. It was only less than a year ago, in December 2017, that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved both projects (see Leach XPress Goes Online; FERC Approves Mountaineer & Gulf XPress). Part of Mountaineer Xpress went online last month. The rest of Mountaineer XPress and the startup of Gulf XPress is expected this month.
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FERC OKs ANR Pipe Expansion, M-U Gas Going to Illinois & Wisconsin?

TransCanada’s ANR Pipeline system has just received permission from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to begin service on the Wisconsin South Expansion Project, a project to expand capacity along the ANR in northern Illinois and Wisconsin. This is the first time we’ve highlighted this project. So why *are* we highlighting it? Because we think Marcellus/Utica molecules will be some of the molecules flowing along the expanded ANR–all the way to Wisconsin.
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FERC to Rehear Decision re Columbia Gas Pipeline Under Potomac

Anti-fossil fuelers are on a holy mission to stop a 3.5-mile, 8-inch pipeline from being built under the Potomac River by Columbia Gas (see Maryland Antis Oppose 13th Pipeline Under Potomac as “Dangerous”). The pipeline, from Maryland on one side of the river to West Virginia on the other side, will be built to feed a larger pipeline project from Mountaineer Gas called the Eastern Panhandle Expansion. The Mountaineer project is a pipeline to deliver Marcellus/Utica natural gas via local distribution channels to a new industrial facility in Berkeley County, WV, and to provide gas to other local businesses and residents in the Tri-State area. Mountaineer began building their project in March (see Mountaineer Gas Begins Work on Morgan County, WV Pipeline). Here’s the inconvenient truth that mainstream news organizations fail to report: This tiny 3.5-mile pipeline will be Columbia’s 13th pipeline under the Potomac! Yet antis insist THIS is the one pipeline that will explode and contaminate the Potomac and make the water flowing down the muddy Potomac undrinkable for millions. In July, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved Columbia’s under-the-river pipeline project (see FERC Approves Pipeline Under the Potomac River from Md. to WV). At the time, Democrat Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur voted to approve it–but she did so grudgingly and made sure to express it. Democrat Commissioner Dick Glick voted to “dissent, in part,” meaning he sort of approved it, but he sort of didn’t (and would really rather it not get built). Antis immediately filed a request for “rehearing”–to have FERC revisit their decision to approve the project (something FERC rarely does). Sadly, FERC has agreed to rehear their decision on the project–two months after approving it. Now that FERC is down by one Republican member, it’s all too likely the Dem members will take the opportunity to vote no on the project a second time, creating a 2-2 split that will further delay the project…
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FERC Approves Mountaineer XPress Pipe Rate Increase

We spotted a story that contains information we don’t fully understand. Columbia Gas Transmission is currently building the Mountaineer XPress Pipeline, a $2 billion, 170-mile pipeline that will flow 2.7 billion cubic feet (Bcf) per day of natural gas from existing and future points of receipt along or near the Columbia pipeline system–most of it located in West Virginia (see Details on Columbia Pipeline Mountaineer XPress Pipeline Project). At 2.7 Bcf/d, Mountaineer XPress is the second largest (by volume) new pipeline project for the Marcellus/Utica region–second only to Rover’s 3.25 Bcf/d pipeline. It is a big and important project. When Columbia (aka TransCanada) filed the original application, approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, they sought permission to charge $9.827 per dekatherm (one dekatherm is equivalent to one thousand cubic feet, or 1 Mcf) to flow gas along the pipeline. Put another way, shippers without a contract who want to ship along the pipeline will pay $9.83/Mcf to ship gas. Since gas typically fetches less than $3/Mcf, how can you make any money? That’s what we can’t figure out. Perhaps one of our sharp MDN readers can enlighten us? MDN Note: We have THE BEST readers! Dmitry Brown, a Senior Analyst with UGI Energy Services, wrote to clear up our confusion. The prices are per month, not per day. Shippers on MXP were expecting to pay $9.827/Mcf/month, or $ 0.32/Mcf/day. Columbia recently filed a request with FERC to increase the charge from $9.83/Mcf to a whopping $14.66/Mcf! The reason, according to Columbia, is that project costs have ballooned from $2 billion to $3 billion, “related to contractor labor costs, inspection costs, and outside services costs that substantially exceeded the contingency established for such charges.” Last Friday FERC approved the 49% increase. Now shippers will have to pay $14.663/Mcf/month, or $0.48/Mcf/day. Quite an increase…
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PHMSA Says Leach XPress Still in Danger, Issues 13-Pt To-do List

Earlier this week MDN told you that TransCanada’s Leach XPress, a 160-mile natural gas pipeline (and compression facilities) located in southeastern Ohio and West Virginia’s northern panhandle, was back online after experiencing an explosion in early June in Marshall County, WV (see Leach XPress Pipe 100% Back Online Following June Explosion). The investigation into why it exploded found the reason to be a “land slip” (i.e. landslide). Disturbingly, Columbia (the division of TransCanada that built and operates Leach XPress) told the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), which investigates these kinds of incidents, there are six other spots along the pipeline that are “areas of concern” based on soil conditions, steep slopes or indications of slips. Not good. Just coming to light now–on July 9, PHMSA issued a list of 13 to-dos or “corrective actions” that Columbia must perform if it wants to keep Leach XPress up and running. We have the to-do list below…
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Leach XPress Pipe 100% Back Online Following June Explosion

TransCanada’s Leach XPress is a 160-mile natural gas pipeline (and compression facilities) located in southeastern Ohio and West Virginia’s northern panhandle. Leach XPress flows 1.5 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of gas all the way to Leach, Kentucky–hence the name. The pipeline went online January 1st, and a section of it exploded and burst into flames on June 7 (see Leach Xpress Pipeline Explodes in Marshall County, WV). What caused the explosion? TransCanada (aka Columbia Pipeline) said it was a “slip”–what we call a landslide (see Columbia Says Landslide Caused Leach XPress Explosion/Fire in WV). The good news is that the 1.5 Bcf/d pipeline is now fully fixed and back online, as of Sunday, although it’s not yet flowing at full capacity. According to Genscape, pipeline “nominations” (reservations to move gas) were at 1.15 Bcf yesterday. That will likely increase in the coming days, back to full capacity. One comment about this story caught our eye–something we’d not seen or heard before: Columbia told the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) there are six other spots along the pipeline that are “areas of concern” based on soil conditions, steep slopes or indications of slips (i.e. landslides)…
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Columbia Says Landslide Caused Leach XPress Explosion/Fire in WV

TransCanada’s Leach XPress is a 160-mile natural gas pipeline (and compression facilities) located in southeastern Ohio and West Virginia’s northern panhandle. Leach XPress flows 1.5 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of gas all the way to Leach, Kentucky–hence the name. The pipeline went online January 1st, and a section of it exploded and burst into flames on June 7 (see Leach Xpress Pipeline Explodes in Marshall County, WV). TransCanada (their Columbia Gas Transmission subsidiary) is working hard to get the pipeline back online by “mid-July” (see Exploded Leach XPress Pipe Won’t be Online Until Mid-July). What caused the explosion? That’s been the burning question (no pun intended) since it happened. A stray comment we spotted seemed to indicate it may have been a faulty welding job. But apparently such is not the case. Columbia has told federal regulators that a landslide is the cause of the leak and explosion…
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Exploded Leach XPress Pipe Won’t be Online Until Mid-July

Leach XPress Pipeline explosion/fire on June 7

TransCanada’s Leach XPress project–some 160 miles of new natural gas pipeline and compression facilities in southeastern Ohio and West Virginia’s northern panhandle which flows 1.5 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of gas all the way to Leach, Kentucky (hence the name)–went online January 1st. A section of the pipeline exploded and burst into flames on June 7 (see Leach Xpress Pipeline Explodes in Marshall County, WV). Still no word on what caused the explosion, although the investigation seems to be centered on a welded seam. TransCanada (and their Columbia Gas Transmission subsidiary) is working hard to get the pipeline back online. The company told shippers in mid-June they expected to have the full 1.5 Bcf/d pipeline back online “early in July” (see TransCanada Says Exploded Leach XPress Pipe Back Online in July). That’s not going to happen since it’s now early July. Last Friday, Columbia pushed back the date to “mid-July,” due to challenges in getting everything remediated and fixed because of heavy rain in the area. Meanwhile, the drillers using Leach continue to find other ways to get their gas to market…
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TransCanada Says Exploded Leach XPress Pipe Back Online in July

TransCanada’s Leach XPress project–some 160 miles of new natural gas pipeline and compression facilities in southeastern Ohio and West Virginia’s northern panhandle which flows 1.5 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of gas all the way to Leach, Kentucky (hence the name)–went online January 1st. A section of the pipeline exploded and burst into flames on June 7 (see Leach Xpress Pipeline Explodes in Marshall County, WV). TransCanada (and their Columbia Gas Transmission subsidiary) is working feverishly to get the pipeline back online. As of last Friday, the Stagecoach-LXP meter, which ties into the Strike Force South gathering system station, was back up and flowing, up to 190 million cubic feet per day (see Part of Leach XPress Pipe Up and Running Following Explosion). The company told shippers earlier this week they expect to have the full 1.5 Bcf/d pipeline back online “early in July.” Still no word on what caused the explosion, although a stray comment we read leads us to speculate…
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TransCanada Bringing More W Canada Gas East to Compete with M-U

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 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, 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–to compete with our gas (see TransCanada Spending $1.9B to Bring More Canadian Gas to Northeast). The expansion plan calls for an additional 1 billion cubic feet per day of gas to flow through the Nova Gas Transmission Line (NGTL) in Western Canada, which in turn connects to TransCanada’s Canadian Mainline that hauls gas to our region. The new news is that TransCanada has done it yet again. They’ve cut agreements with shippers for another 280 million cubic feet per day of natgas on the NGTL system…
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Part of Leach XPress Pipe Up and Running Following Explosion

Leach XPress explosion location – click for larger version

Last Thursday MDN reported that TransCanada was working to restore partial service to the Leach XPress Pipeline (see TransCanada Working to Restore Partial Service on Leach XPress Pipe). Leach XPress only came online in January. The pipeline experienced an explosion and fire on June 7 (see Leach XPress Pipeline Explodes in Marshall County, WV). Most of the 1.5 billion cubic feet per day of Marcellus/Utica gas flowing through the pipeline was stopped. As of Friday, the Stagecoach-LXP meter, which ties into the Strike Force South gathering system station, was once again flowing, up to 190 million cubic feet per day. Which means Monroe and Belmont counties (OH) are now reconnected and flowing. As for the rest of the pipeline and its various metering stations, it’s all still shut down with no word on when it will be repaired and back online. There’s still no word on what caused the explosion in the first place…
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TransCanada Working to Restore Partial Service on Leach XPress Pipe

We told you last week that Columbia Gas Transmission’s Leach XPress Pipeline, which only came online in January, experienced an explosion and fire in Marshall County, WV (see Leach XPress Pipeline Explodes in Marshall County, WV). Most of the 1.5 billion cubic feet per day of Marcellus/Utica gas flowing through the pipeline is now stopped, which has caused shippers (drillers) to find alternatives, including Energy Transfer’s Rover, Tallgrass’ Rockies Express (REX), EQT’s Equitrans, and Enbridge’s Texas Eastern Transmission (Tetco) pipelines to flow gas out of the region (see Other Pipelines Pick Up Slack for Exploded Leach XPress). Although a fix for the exploded portion of Leach XPress is likely months away, TransCanada, the owner of Columbia and the Leach pipeline, is working on a plan to quickly restore part of the pipeline to service in southeastern Ohio–which would reconnect Monroe and Belmont counties to the pipeline…
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Other Pipelines Pick Up Slack for Exploded Leach XPress

Leach XPress fire

As we told you last week, Columbia Gas Transmission’s Leach XPress Pipeline, which only came online in January, experienced an explosion and fire in Marshall County, WV last Thursday (see Leach Xpress Pipeline Explodes in Marshall County, WV). It’s early days yet, but so far, no word on what may have caused the explosion and resulting fire. The problem is that most (if not all) of the 1.5 billion cubic feet per day of Marcellus/Utica gas flowing through the pipeline is now stopped. What do shippers do? They find alternatives. And so they have. A Reuters article reports that shippers have cut deals with Energy Transfer’s Rover, Tallgrass’ Rockies Express (REX), EQT’s Equitrans, and Enbridge’s Texas Eastern Transmission (Tetco) pipelines to flow their gas out of the region. Below is the article highlighting the alternate routes shippers are using, along a second article speculating (in the absence of any hard facts) about what may have caused the explosion…
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