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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Columbia Sues WV Landowners for Delaying Mountaineer XPress Work

It’s one thing for a landowner (or Big Green supporter, sometimes one and the same) to oppose a pipeline project by protesting, asking politicians to get involved, writing to regulatory agencies, etc. We have a great American tradition of free speech. Go for it. But it’s quite another thing to “harass, intimidate and interfere” with work crews in an area by screaming at them and shooting your “large caliber gun” near where they’re working. 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. And yet, a single couple whose land the pipeline does NOT cross can delay the entire project with threats and intimidation and interference. That’s the charge Columbia has made in court. On April 30, Columbia sued a couple in Doddridge County who live near an active construction site for Mountaineer XPress, claiming their hostile actions toward workers have caused a delay for the entire project–and that’s costing Columbia big bucks. Columbia wants to ask a jury to extract some of that lost revenue from the hostile couple as compensation. Lesson: Your (hostile, threatening) actions have consequences, and may cost you money…
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Leach Xpress Pipeline Explodes in Marshall County, WV

Click image for larger version

This is not the kind of news we like to share–but it’s important. A newly installed pipeline–that went online in January–experienced an explosion and huge fireball, in Marshall County, WV. 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 (see Leach XPress Goes Online; FERC Approves Mountaineer & Gulf XPress). Leach XPress is part of the Columbia Gas Transmission system. From Leach, KY, the gas hitches a ride on TransCanada’s Rayne XPress pipeline to the South and Gulf Coast. A portion of Leach XPress, this brand new, “best-in-class” pipeline (so said TransCanada’s CEO in January), exploded and caught fire at 4:15 am yesterday in Moundsville (Marshall County), WV, sending flames hundreds of feet into the air. Fortunately no one was injured. Some nearby residents fled their homes. Most of the pipeline is now shut down, curtailing 1.3 Bcf/d (out of the 1.5 Bcf/d) of gas volumes “indefinitely.” Here’s what we know (and don’t know) about the accident…
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TransCanada Pipe Construction Crew Helps Locate Missing WV Boy

Little boy who went missing in WV

It’s every parent’s worst nightmare. Last Monday afternoon a three year-old boy wandered into the woods near his home in Jackson County, WV and got lost. The parents could not find him. WV State Police and several local fire departments aided in a search effort, canvasing the woods. TransCanada is building the Mountaineer XPress Pipeline project several miles from where the toddler went missing. Upon hearing of the missing boy, the people in charge of the project flew into action, delivering supplies and port-a-potties to the searchers. They also provided maps of the area made by TransCanada–maps which ended up being instrumental in finding the boy. Some 15 hours after he went missing, on Tuesday morning, he was found–safe and sound. Authorities credit TransCanada as being instrumental in the process. TransCanada’s people didn’t do it for accolades. They did it because it was the right thing to do–even though it delayed the project and cost the company money. This episode paints a far different picture of pipeline companies than you typically hear about, does it not? Pipeline companies are not the heartless, “damn the environment and everyone who lives in the path of the pipeline” meme antis feed to sycophantic “reporters” in mainstream media. Quite the opposite. These are people who care about the work they do, and how it impacts the people where they do it. They care about the communities in which they work–and live…
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TransCanada Asks FERC to Expand Capacity on New England Pipe

TransCanada is attempting to do what so far, no one else has been able to accomplish: Increase flows of Marcellus/Utica (and perhaps other basin) 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 pipeline as part of their plan. In fact there is no construction of any kind for phases I and II in what TransCanada is calling its Portland XPress Project (PXP). Phase I, which TransCanada filed on April 20, asked FERC for permission to begin flowing an extra 39.8 million cubic feet (MMcf) of natural gas from Pittsburg, NH, to Westbrook, ME, and to increase the flow from and to Canada. In Phase II, which was filed yesterday, TransCanada asked FERC for permission to flow an extra 11.3 MMcf from Westbrook, ME, to Dracut, MA. When the filing for Phase III comes along, they will ask to build a new compressor station, among other bits and bobs. New England and Atlantic Canada desperately need the gas, so there’s no reason why FERC would deny these reasonable requests. Perhaps TransCanada can succeed where Kinder Morgan’s TGP Northeast Energy Direct and Spectra Energy’s Access Northeast projects failed, and boldly go where no pipeline has gone before…
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Columbia Asks FERC to Approve OH/WV Buckeye XPress Pipe Project

Buckeye XPress Pipeline map – click for larger version

In January 2017, TransCanada’s Columbia Pipeline subsidiary launched an open season for the Buckeye XPress (BXP) pipeline project (see Columbia Pipeline Launches Open Season for New M-U Project). BXP will expand service along the Columbia Gas Transmission pipeline from Ohio (and PA and WV) to send even more Marcellus/Utica gas to the Gulf via the interconnection at Leach, Kentucky. Columbia launched a non-binding open season to gauge interest in the project, which will use looping and beefed up compressor stations to increase capacity another 700 million cubic feet (MMcf) per day along the existing pipeline Columbia pipeline system. The open season (time when shippers express interest and sign contracts) was a success. But these things take time. On March 26, a year and two full months after the open season, Columbia filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) seeking permission to build the project. The project includes building 66 miles of new pipeline to replace old pipeline in Ohio’s Vinton, Jackson, Gallia and Lawrence counties, as well as pipeline replacement in West Virginia’s Wayne County. Below is the lowdown on the BXP application…
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Maryland Antis Oppose 13th Pipeline Under Potomac as “Dangerous”

Anti fossil fuel nutters have been on a holy mission to stop a 3.5-mile, 8″ pipeline from being installed under the Potomac River since last summer (see Mountaineer Pipeline Under Potomac Latest Focus of Anti Movement). To hear them talk, you’d think this is the first time a pipeline has been drilled under the Potomac River–that drilling and installing a pipeline under the Potomac will result in an environmental holocaust. However, TransCanada, via its Columbia Pipeline subsidiary, has already built and operates 12 other pipelines that go under the Potomac River–just in the State of Maryland! Yet the president of the Washington County (MD) Board of County Commissioners, Terry Baker, says “the dangers are high” and “real” if this, the 13th pipeline, gets installed. Why, Mr. Baker, are the dangers “high” and “real” now–but they weren’t high and real the 12 other times a pipeline was installed under the river?…
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TransCanada Spending $1.9B to Bring More Canadian Gas to Northeast

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). Last week 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 the Marcellus/Utica…
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Antis Pressure Maryland Gov. Hogan to Reject Pipeline Under Potomac

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan

In April 2017, MDN brought you the news that Columbia Pipeline (now owned by TransCanada) had filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to build a 3.5 mile, 8-inch pipeline that will carry natural gas from Pennsylvania to connect the Mountaineer Gas system in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia with the Columbia Gas Pipeline in Pennsylvania (see New 3.5 Mile Pipeline Project to Drill Under the Potomac River). That tiny section of pipeline is part of the larger Eastern Panhandle Expansion project–a project to deliver natural gas via local distribution channels (local utility Mountaineer Gas) to a new industrial facility in Berkeley County, WV, and to provide gas to other local businesses and residents in the Tri-State area. Anti fossil fuel nutters have been on a rampage to stop the pipeline from going under the Potomac since last summer (see Mountaineer Pipeline Under Potomac Latest Focus of Anti Movement). To hear them talk, you’d think this is the first time a pipeline has been drilled under the Potomac River. However, TransCanada, via its Columbia Pipeline subsidiary, has already built and operates 12 other pipelines that go under the Potomac River–just in the State of Maryland! Have you ever heard a peep about those pipelines and an environmental holocaust they’ve created? No. Why? Because putting a pipeline under a river is no big deal. It doesn’t harm the environment. Yet that’s what antis are claiming and will claim in a protest march today, aimed at pressuring the weak-willed Republican Governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan, into blocking this tiny, 3.5 mile project…
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Mountaineer Xpress Pipe Breaks Ground in WV on $100M Compressor

Earlier this week TransCanada (i.e. Columbia Pipeline) broke ground for a new $100 million compressor station that will flow gas through the Mountaineer XPress Pipeline. MDN previously told you that at the end of December the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a final approval for Mountaineer (see Leach XPress Goes Online; FERC Approves Mountaineer & Gulf XPress). The $2 billion Mountaineer XPress will build ~170 miles of new pipeline to 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. On Tuesday, even though the temps were frigid and the snow was flying, Calhoun County commissioners along with reps from TransCanada broke ground on an important new compressor station being built to flow gas through Mountaineer XPress. Calhoun has not seen any shale drilling, although neighboring Ritchie County (to the north) and Gilmer County (to the east) have. Mountaineer XPress and this compressor station are helping Calhoun participate economically in the shale miracle, which Calhoun’s commissioners expressed thanks for…
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Old Hippies Turn Out at WV DEP Hearing to Oppose Mountaineer Pipe

In April 2017, MDN brought you the news that Columbia Pipeline (now owned by TransCanada) had filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to build a 3.5 mile, 8-inch pipeline that will carry natural gas from Pennsylvania to connect the Mountaineer Gas system in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia with the Columbia Gas Pipeline in Pennsylvania (see New 3.5 Mile Pipeline Project to Drill Under the Potomac River). That small section of pipeline is hotly opposed and part of the larger Eastern Panhandle Expansion project–a project to deliver natural gas via local distribution channels (local utility Mountaineer Gas) to a new industrial facility in Berkeley County, WV, and to provide gas to other local businesses and residents in the Tri-State area. There are three phases to the Eastern Panhandle Expansion project: Phase One runs a 22.5-mile, 10-inch-diameter steel pipeline from Morgan County to Martinsburg; Phase Two includes a loop to Charles Town; and Phase Three will build a four mile segment of pipeline into Martinsburg. The WV Dept. of Environmental Protection held a hearing on Phase One on Tuesday, at the Berkeley Springs High School. All of the people who spoke at the hearing, some 33 of the 80 people present, spoke against the project. If you look at a picture of the crowd, you’d swear you were at a ZZ Top look-alike convention. That is, a bunch of old hippies. Here’s a report on the Tuesday hearing…
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Leach XPress Goes Online; FERC Approves Mountaineer & Gulf XPress

In mid-December MDN told you that the Leach XPress project–some ~160 miles of new natural gas pipeline and compression facilities in southeastern Ohio and West Virginia’s northern panhandle which will flow 1.5 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of gas all the way to Leach, Kentucky (hence the name)–would go online January 1st (see Leach XPress Starting Up Jan 1 – Marc/Utica Gas Heading to the Gulf!). And indeed it did! TransCanada, the owner of the project, announced Leach XPress is now online and flowing Marcellus/Utica gas to Kentucky. And from Kentucky, the gas flows south–some it all the way to the Gulf Coast via the Rayne pipeline. TransCanada also announced that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has just issued final approvals for two more Columbia Pipeline-related projects: Mountaineer XPress and Gulf Xpress. Both projects will carry significant volumes of Marcellus/Utica gas to new markets. Mountaineer XPress will build 170 miles of new pipeline to 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. Gulf XPress consists of building seven new midpoint compressor stations along the existing Columbia pipeline system in Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi, with the aim of moving an additional 875 million cubic feet (MMcf) of Marcellus/Utica gas per day southward, to the Gulf Coast region. Here’s the details, along with a copy of the FERC approval, for these two important projects…
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Leach XPress Starting Up Jan 1 – Marc/Utica Gas Heading to the Gulf!

Last week Columbia Pipeline Group (now part of TransCanada) filed a request with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to begin service on their Leach XPress pipeline. This is BIG and important news. In August 2014, MDN told you that Columbia Pipeline Group decided to move forward with investing $1.75 billion dollars for two new projects: Leach XPress and Rayne XPress (see Columbia Gas: $1.75B for 2 Projects to Send Marcellus Gas to Gulf). The Leach XPress project involves building ~160 miles of natural gas pipeline and compression facilities in southeastern Ohio and West Virginia’s northern panhandle, flowing 1.5 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of gas all the way to Leach, Kentucky (hence the name). Rayne XPress works hand in glove with Leach. There is an existing natgas pipeline from Leach, KY all the way to the Louisiana Gulf Coast, called Rayne. The pipeline is named for the location it flows to: Rayne, Louisiana. The Rayne Xpress project beefs up the Rayne pipeline with new compressor stations to add an additional 1 Bcf per day of capacity–Marcellus and Utica Shale gas capacity that will flow to the Gulf Coast. Rayne went online in early November (see FERC Clears 1 Bcf/d Rayne Xpress Pipe to Begin Service). When Leach goes online Jan. 1, 2018 (yes, we expect FERC will approve it), Marcellus/Utica gas will begin flowing along the combined pipelines all the way to the Gulf. That’s big news!…
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TransCanada Says FERC Approval for Mountaineer XPress May Slip

In July 2017, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a favorable final environmental impact statement (EIS) for both the Mountaineer XPress and Gulf XPress projects (see FERC Issues Favorable Final EIS for Mountaineer/Gulf XPress Pipes). Both projects are part of Columbia Pipeline Group (now owned by TransCanada), expansions of the Columbia Pipeline system. A favorable EIS means it’s a foregone conclusion that FERC will issue a certificate for the project to proceed–at some point. Mountaineer XPress includes 165 miles of new pipeline with approximately 2.7 billion cubic feet (Bcf) per day of transportation capacity from existing and future points of receipt along or near the Columbia pipeline system–most of it located in West Virginia. Gulf XPress consists of constructing seven new midpoint compressor stations along the existing Columbia pipeline system in Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi, with the aim of moving an additional 875 million cubic feet (MMcf) of Marcellus/Utica gas per day southward, to the Gulf Coast region. So far FERC has not given these two important Marcellus/Utica projects the final go-ahead. During TransCanada’s annual investor day webcast yesterday, Stan Chapman, president of TransCanada’s US natural gas pipelines business told investors (and the public) that although they had hoped for FERC approval by the end of this year, it’s now likely the approval will “slip into January”…
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FERC Approves WB Xpress Pipeline Across WV, VA

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on Friday granted final approval for Columbia’s WB Xpress pipeline project. In Jan. 2016, Columbia Pipeline Group (now owned by TransCanada) filed a full, official application with FERC for the $850 million WB XPress Project (see Columbia Pipeline Files to Build $850M WB XPress Project in WV/VA). WB XPress consists of two new compressor stations, 26 miles of pipeline replacement located along existing corridors (11.6 miles of it in Monongahela National Forest), and 2.9 miles of new pipeline in Virginia and West Virginia. The WB XPress Project will expand capacity of the Columbia Gas Transmission pipeline system in the region by 1.3 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d), linking Marcellus gas supplies to new markets. FERC issued a favorable environmental assessment for the project in March of this year (see FERC Gives Columbia WB XPress Enviro Thumbs Up). In September, the U.S. Forest Service gave their blessing (see WB XPress Pipeline Gets Important USDA Approval for Natl Forest). And now the fat lady has sung: FERC has issued a final approval for the project, meaning the next step is for construction to begin…
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