Sunoco Spending $200M to Expand Marcus Hook NGL Refinery

Marcus Hook refinery complex

On Monday Energy Transfer, parent company of Sunoco Logistics Partners, announced a $200 million expansion of its Marcus Hook refinery located in Delaware County, PA, just outside Philadelphia. The upgrades include building a new warehouse and adding more propane and butane “chillers” (to keep the gases cold). The two-year project will employ some 1,200 union workers.
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Huge Sinkhole Forms Near ME2 Pipe in Delaware County, PA

Credit: Philadelphia Inquirer (click for larger version)

Our lead story yesterday was the rumor there has been another sinkhole open up in Delaware County, PA near an existing (old) pipeline temporarily being used as part of the Mariner East 2 (ME2) NGL pipeline system (see PUC Investigates ME2 Bypass Pipe in Delaware Co. for New Sinkhole). Indeed there was. Officials report a 12 foot by 12 foot sinkhole in the right-of-way for several Sunoco-owned pipelines. The good news is that no bare pipe was exposed, the hole has already been filled, and ethane/propane continue to flow through ME2.
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PUC Investigates ME2 Bypass Pipe in Delaware Co. for New Sinkhole

Credit: Philadelphia Inquirer (click for larger version)

The Mariner East 1 (ME1) natural gas liquids pipeline that flows ethane and propane came back online Monday (see Mariner East 1 NGL Pipe Restarts Today After Shutdown Since Jan.). It had been out of service for more than three months because a sinkhole exposed a few feet of bare pipe near Philadelphia. Good thing ME1 is back, because yesterday the Pennsylvania Public Service Utility (PUC) announced an investigation into a potential new sinkhole near a section of pipeline used for the Mariner East 2 pipeline in Delaware County.
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Living with ME2 Pipeline Construction in Your Back Yard

We spotted a story about landowners in the Philadelphia suburbs who currently have to live with construction of the Mariner East 2 pipelines (plural, there are two of them, ME2 and ME2X), literally happening in their back yards. While we are strong supporters of the ME2 project, we are not unsympathetic to landowners and the hassles they have to endure while it’s being built.
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PA AG Shapiro Colludes w/Delaware County DA to Investigate ME Pipe

Ever notice how predators like to hunt in packs? First the Chester County, PA District Attorney launched an ethically questionable “investigation” into “crimes” that may have been committed by building the Mariner East pipelines through his county (see Chester County DA Goes Rogue, Targets ME2 Pipe w/Criminal Probe). The Chester DA recently impaneled a grand jury to hear fake allegations against Energy Transfer and Sunoco Logistics Partners (see Politically Motivated Investigation of ME Pipe Convenes Grand Jury).
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Delaware County Asks to Join Lawsuit Against Mariner East Pipes

In November seven anti-pipeline residents of Chester and Delaware counties (Philadelphia suburbs) filed a lawsuit against the Mariner East pipeline projects–1, 2 and 2X–alleging the pipelines are unsafe. It didn’t take long for others to jump on the litigation bandwagon:
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Delayed ME2 Pipeline Cost PA a $675M Plastics Plant + 1K Lost Jobs

Braskem USA, headquartered in Philadelphia had a decision to make in 2016: Locate a new polypropylene plant in their own backyard, at the Marcus Hook refinery site on the outskirts of Philly–or locate it in Texas. They picked Texas because not enough NGLs (propane) were flowing to Marcus Hook due to delays (caused by Big Green lawsuits) in the Mariner East 2 pipeline.
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East Coast Dominates LPG Exports via Philly’s Marcus Hook

According to RBN Energy, “U.S. production of natural gas liquids is projected to increase by 17% this year, and by another 10% in 2020.” NGLs cover a variety of hydrocarbons. Two NGLs, propane and butane, are further classified as LPG–or liquefied petroleum gas. Of the four “smaller” LPG export facilities here in the U.S., two-thirds of all exported LPGs last year came from one–Energy Transfer’s Marcus Hook refinery near Philadelphia.
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PA Enviro Hearing Board Rejects Air Permit for Marcus Hook

Marcus Hook complex (credit: Wikipedia)

Score a minor victory for the odious Philadelphia Clean Air Council in their fight to block any/all fossil fuel projects any/everywhere. They’ve convinced the PA Environmental Hearing Board to question a previously issued air quality permit for the Marcus Hook refinery in Delaware County, near Philadelphia.
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Too Funny! Angry “Reporters” Call Mariner East 2 “Frankenpipe”

You know you’ve hit a nerve when so-called reporters (propagandists) at a Philadelphia-area newspaper drop all pretense of being objective in their reporting and begin calling a pipeline project made-up names–like calling Mariner East 2 “Frankenpipe.” Talk about petulant and childish!
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PA Residents More Likely to Die Falling on Stairs than by Pipeline

Well this wasn’t supposed to happen. The Delaware County (PA) Council hired a company in July of this year at a cost of $115,000 to conduct an independent risk assessment study of both the Mariner East 2 (ME2) and Adelphia Gateway pipeline projects (both running through Delaware County), to assess just how much risk each pipeline poses to residents in the county, a heavily populated Philadelphia suburb. A group of antis paid $50,000 to Quest Consultants for the same thing. The antis released their “report” in October (see Sham “Risk Assessment” of ME2 Pipeline Released by Philly Antis). Perhaps the antis sensed that the forthcoming independent report wouldn’t paint the same wild, nightmare scenario their fake report paints. And right they were. The Council’s study, paid for with taxpayer money and just released, finds residents of Delaware County stand a far better chance of dying from falling down a flight of stairs, a house fire, or a car accident than they do from an explosion from either ME2 or Adelphia.
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Desperation: 7 Philly Antis Ask PA PUC to Stop ME1, Block ME2

Seven antis from Greater Philadelphia, with money and lawyers from Big Green groups backing them, on Monday asked the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission to shut down Mariner East 1 pipeline (which has operating for more than a year), and to block the startup of Mariner East 2 pipeline. The chutzpah of these people is breathtaking. To put it in perspective, Chester and Delaware Counties, which is where the seven antis hail from, has a combined population of 1,083,989 people (as of 2017). Seven people represents .0006% of the population. Meaning 99.999% of the population either don’t care, or are not against these pipeline projects. Both ME1 and ME2 carry natural gas liquids (NGLs)–meaning ethane and propane–from the western side of PA across the state to Delaware County and the Marcus Hook refinery. From the very beginning there have been a committed few (with the help of Big Green) fighting the ME2 project every inch of the way. They’ve thrown everything they have at it–multiple lawsuits, pleas to regulatory agencies, legislative hearings, illegal protests–you name it, they’ve done it. This latest action appears to be a last gasp, “Hail Mary” attempt at convincing a regulatory agency to stop both pipelines. Which isn’t going to happen.
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2nd PA Toilet Paper Plant Converting from Coal to Gas-Fired Elec

In early 2013, the Proctor & Gamble manufacturing plant in Wyoming County (northeastern PA) began generating 100% of its own energy needs thanks to the Marcellus Shale beneath plant property (see PA P&G Plant: 100% Energy Self-Sufficient from Marcellus Gas). The plant, which manufactures Pampers and Luvs diapers and Charmin toilet tissue, uses a LOT of electricity and natural gas. They built their own gas-fired electric plant and began generating all of their own electricity–enough electricity to power 40,000 homes! Fast forward to today. P&G competitor Kimberly Clark has just announced that it too will build a gas-fired electric plant, in Delaware County (near Philadelphia), to power its plant that manufactures Scott 1000 toilet paper. What is it about toilet paper and gas? Kimberly Clark is getting a $6 million grant from PA toward the $150 million project. Make way for another new major customer for PA’s Marcellus fracked gas…
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PA Supreme Court Victory for ME2 Pipeline re Two Zoning Cases

Two different townships in the Philadelphia area, amped-up by and using money from Big Green groups like THE Delaware Riverkeeper (aka Maya van Rossum), tried to stop Sunoco Logistics Partners’ Mariner East 2 (ME2) pipeline project by claiming it violated local zoning ordinances. The construction of ME2 is governed by the PA state Public Utility Commission and the state Dept. of Environmental Protection. It is not a federal (i.e. FERC) project. Because it is a state-oversight project, the issue of primacy (whose rules and regulations govern) resides at the state level and not at the local level. Two local townships–one in Chester County the other in Delware County–argued in separate cases before PA Commonwealth Court that local zoning regulations for siting the pipeline should still apply. Commonwealth Court, in a pair of decisions earlier this year, ruled against that view (see PA Town Loses Appeal to Block ME2 Pipe with Local Zoning Ordinance and PA Appeals Court Rules ME2 Pipe NOT Under Local Zoning). Using Big Green money, both towns appealed their cases to the PA Supreme Court. On Tuesday, the Supremes declined to hear either case, meaning the Commonwealth Court ruling stands and this issue is now, finally, done. Antis’ attempts to stop the ME2 project by using local zoning ordinances is a closed door…
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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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