Enbridge receives approval for Woodland Pipeline Extension Project

Enbridge Pipelines Woodland Inc., an affiliate of Enbridge Inc., has received approval from the Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board to construct the Woodland Pipeline Extension Project.

The project will involve construction of a 36 inch diameter line approximately 385 km from Enbridge’s Cheecham regional oil sands terminal to its mainline hub terminal at Edmonton, effectively twinning Enbridge’s existing Waupisoo Pipeline. The project is estimated to require an investment of approximately $1.0 to $1.4 billion for an initial capacity of 400,000 barrels per day (bpd), expandable to 800,000 bpd.

The new line is committed to accommodate anticipated growth in production from the Kearl oil sands project, and is required for expected needs from other projects already connected to Enbridge’s regional oil sands system, or expected to be connected.

The commercial terms are likely to parallel those of the base Woodland Pipeline. Enbridge has not yet received final commercial approval to initiate field construction from shippers, but anticipates it will do so in time to achieve a 2015 in-service date. Pre-construction development costs are being backstopped by shippers pending final commercial approval.

SOURCE: http://www.equities.com/news/headline-story?dt=2012-09-28&val=534513&cat=energy

Gas-products pipeline to advance Marcus Hook refinery’s rebirth

Sunoco announced Wednesday that its shuttered Marcus Hook refinery will be reborn as a facility to process Marcellus Shale natural-gas products, fueling new construction and new traffic through the Delaware River port.

Sunoco’s pipeline subsidiary, Sunoco Logistics Partners L.P., is moving forward with a plan to transport high-value propane and ethane by pipeline from western Pennsylvania to Marcus Hook, where the materials will be processed in a new plant and shipped by sea to domestic and export markets.

State officials hailed the project – which Sunoco calls Mariner East – as a big boost for Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale industry by connecting the areas producing natural gas in western Pennsylvania to markets linked to Philadelphia.

“I have long held that the Marcellus Shale is an important resource that over time would benefit the entire commonwealth,” Gov. Corbett said in a statement.

The pipeline project is the latest industrial venture built on confidence that the Marcellus Shale, where full-scale production began barely four years ago, represents a long-term, reliable energy supply.

Sunoco Logistics announced the Mariner East project in 2010 as a way to repurpose an existing, underused Sunoco pipeline that has historically moved refined products from east to west.

Sunoco Logistics and its partner, MarkWest Energy Partners L.P., conceived of reversing the flow of the pipeline to move the abundance of natural-gas liquids derived from the “wet” gas produced in western Pennsylvania. MarkWest, based in Denver, is a leading processor of natural-gas liquids.

The Mariner East project envisions moving ethane and propane from Marcus Hook by sea to petrochemical plants overseas or along the Gulf Coast that value the natural-gas liquids as a raw material for plastics.

Range Resources Corp., the Marcellus pioneer whose drilling operations are concentrated in liquids-rich parts of southwestern Pennsylvania, has signed a 15-year agreement as the anchor shipper. Range has committed to provide 40,000 barrels of the project’s 70,000-barrel-per-day capacity.

Range Resources, based in Fort Worth, Texas, has already lined up a customer for its ethane. It announced Wednesday that it has signed a separate 15-year agreement with affiliates of INEOS A.G., a Swiss petrochemical producer that will take delivery of the material at Sunoco’s Marcus Hook docks. INEOS has plants in Europe, the Americas, and Asia.

SOURCE: http://articles.philly.com/2012-09-26/business/34103609_1_ethane-sunoco-logistics-pipeline-project

Williams signs gas processing deal in Canada Oil Sands

(Reuters) – U.S. energy infrastructure company Williams (WMB.N) said on Wednesday it has signed a long-term gas processing agreement with a producer in the Canadian oil sands.

Under the deal, Williams will extract, transport, fractionate, own and market natural gas liquids (NGLs) and olefins from the producer’s upgrader near Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Williams said it expects to recover about 12,000 barrels per day (bpd) by mid-2015, growing to 15,000 bpd by 2018.

The Tulsa, Oklahoma-based company did not name the Canadian oil sands producer in its press release and a spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

Propane recovered will be sold into the local market and would potentially be used as feedstock at Williams’ proposed propane dehydrogenation facility in Canada. The other products will be sold into the established markets where Williams sells existing NGLs and olefins produced in Canada.

Williams said it plans to build a new liquids extraction plant and supporting facilities at the oil sands producer’s upgrader. It also plans to extend its Boreal Pipeline to transport the NGL/olefins mixture to its expanded Redwater facility near Edmonton.

The total capital expenditure for the project is expected to be C$500 million to C$600 million, the company said.

SOURCE: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/26/us-williams-canada-idUSBRE88P0VS20120926

Calgary pipeline conference focuses on safety and research

Pipeline safety will be a hot topic at a conference in Calgary organizers say is the largest and most recognized of its kind in the world.

About 1,200 delegates from 40 nations have converged on the city for the ninth biennial International Pipeline Conference this week to share cutting-edge research and technology development.

Held every two years, the event, which kicked off Monday and ends Friday, will not however likely discuss specific projects like the controversial Keystone XL and Northern Gateway pipelines, said organizing committee co-chairman Ziad Saad.

“Most of the discussions in this conference are about technical advances and sharing learnings and sharing experiences so I suspect that’s going to be the focus,” he said.

Saad, vice-president safety and sustainability of the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association, said more than 350 technical papers will be presented and the event fe atures such key industry leaders as PetroChina Pipeline Company president Wei Yao, speaking Tuesday.

PetroChina has been a major player in Alberta’s energy sector, purchasing the remaining shares in its majority stake of Athabasa Oil Sands Corp. in a $680 million deal earlier this year.

“It’s very important to attract people from all the over the world and China is obviously a growing country that is expanding its infrastructure so it certainly fits within the mandate and goal of the conference to attract people from Asia and other areas to exchange knowledge and advance practices and enhance safety for pipelines everywhere,” Saad said.

About a third of the papers presented involve pipeline integrity and safety, which is seen as a priority.

“Certainly most recently in Canada with more focus on pipelines, there is an even further heightened awareness in the industry but that focus on safety has been there for an extended period of time,” Saad said.

Despite scrutiny of the industry by regulators over the years, he is not surprised there are not more papers touching on it.

“A third of the papers of the entire conference is quite a significant portion and I think it’s a testament to the fact that that’s always been front and centre for the industry … so it’s a very active area of research development and practice,” he said.

The conference, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel coincides with an exposition at the Telus Convention Centre.

SOURCE: http://www.calgarysun.com/2012/09/24/calgary-pipeline-conference-focuses-on-safety-and-research

Gov. Brown signs 3 bills tightening pipeline safety

Three bills that will tighten safety restrictions on natural gas pipelines as well as prioritize revenue for upgrades instead of executive compensation were signed into law Sunday by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Brown signed 34 pieces of legislation Sunday, including Assembly Bills 578, 861 and 1456, all sponsored by Assemblyman Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo.

Hill’s district includes the Crestmoor neighborhood in San Bruno, which was devastated when a PG&E natural gas pipeline exploded in September 2010. The blast and subsequent fire killed eight people and destroyed dozens of homes. Hill has made it a priority to increase regulations on utility companies to prevent another disaster.

AB 578 will require the California Public Utilities Commission, the agency that oversees and regulates utilities, to adopt the standards set forth by the National Transportation Safety Board. If the commission opts not to adopt the standards, it must submit reasons for the decision in writing.

Provisions under AB 861 would “ensure utilities don’t cut corners on safety and maintenance in order to convert ratepayer dollars into bonuses for executives,” according to Hill.

The assemblyman said company executives often receive big payouts even when there are pipelines that need to be replaced and standards that need to be upgraded.

With AB 1456, the CPUC will be required to adopt performance metrics for pipeline safety and will have the power to levy fines to those utilities that are found to be performing poorly.

Hill is scheduled to host a news conference announcing the signing of the legislation at the CPUC building in San Francisco at 10 a.m. today.
SOURCE: http://www.sfexaminer.com/local/2012/09/gov-brown-signs-3-bills-tightening-pipeline-safety#ixzz27OeOPwBq

Gov. Corbett: Marcellus betters society

PHILADELPHIA — Gov. Tom Corbett on Thursday placed high hopes on the development of the Marcellus Shale to help him achieve his goals for Pennsylvania.

“I’m convinced that we’re beginning a new industrial revolution for the U.S. and especially for Pennsylvania,” he said at the Marcellus Shale Coalition’s annual Shale Gas Insight Conference in Philadelphia.

By the end of his tenure, which he hopes will be in six years, the governor envisions having accomplished three things.

“I want the state on sound financial footing,” he said. “I want the state to be able to say that every Pennsylvanian who wants a job has a job. And I want every person in this state trained and educated for the jobs of the 21st century.”

The gas industry’s economic contribution to the state is furthering those goals, he said.

“The Marcellus boom isn’t simply about advancing business. It’s about advancing society,” Corbett said.

In fact, during recent travels to Germany and France, the governor touted the region’s cheap energy and strategic location for foreign businesses looking to locate in the U.S.

Corbett said the anti-severance tax crowd was vindicated last week when the state received its first round of impact fee payments that neared $200 million.

“We got that right,” he said. “That’s the difference between throwing together a quick fix and planning for real progress.”

A severance tax would have brought in half of that, he said. Last week, the Pennsylvania Budget & Policy Centerdisagreed.

As convention center security kept watch over the planned anti-fracking protests outside of the building, Corbett also fired some shots at those who oppose natural gas extraction.

“We are advancing even in the face or unreasoning opposition,” he said. “Opponents agree that we can land a rover on Mars, but can’t bring themselves to think that we can safely drill a mile into our own soil.”

The governor also credited shale development with saving one of the three Philadelphia refineries that were on the chopping block at this time last year.

On Sept. 19, Philadelphia Energy Solutions announced its plans to process shale gas at the former Sunoco refinery.

Corbett said he can easily see a time when all three refineries will be turning Marcellus gas into liquid fuels and chemical feedstocks.

The governor apologized to the crowd for missing last year’s conference because of flooding in southeastern Pennsylvania and thanked participants for creating jobs in the state. As he walked out to music resembling the theme from Star Wars, Corbett received a partial standing ovation.

SOURCE: http://www.bizjournals.com/pittsburgh/blog/energy/2012/09/corbett-marcellus-betters-society.html?page=all

First deep-shale well drilled in Erie, Crawford

COCHRANTON — Gas wells are a familiar sight here in the rolling farmland of southern Crawford County.

East Fairfield Township Supervisor Bob O’Brien can see a half dozen of them from his kitchen window on Franklin Pike.

But the latest well isn’t like all the others.

Lippert 1H, located at 6321 Pettis Road, was drilled this summer into the Utica Shale to a depth of 7,236 feet, before crews drilled nearly another mile horizontally.

That makes it the first deep shale well drilled in this corner of Pennsylvania, said Gary Clark, spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection.

A DEP drilling map shows a heavy band of drilling activity that extends from southwestern Pennsylvania, across the center of the state to northeastern Pennsylvania.

Gas exploration companies continue to drill so-called shallow wells throughout the state.

But until now, the Utica and Marcellus formations were largely untapped in the uppermost corner of northwestern Pennsylvania and a broad swath that included more than 20 counties in the southeastern part of the state.

That changed this summer, at least in Crawford County, when rigs and crews working for Texas-based Range Resources arrived in this rural township of about 850 people.

Range Resources, which developed some of the state’s first successful wells into the Marcellus Shale, drilled the Crawford County well in July.

The entrance to the well site is blocked by no-trespassing signs and by a security building, staffed by a guard.

Horizontal drilling is making it possible to reach the reserves under hundreds of acres from one location.

SOURCE: http://www.goerie.com/article/20120919/NEWS02/309189889/First-deep-shale-well-drilled-in-Erie-Crawford

Canada’s infrastructure in need of $171.8 billion in repairs

Canada’s leaky municipal infrastructure faces an increasingly grim future unless the federal government sinks an estimated $171.8 billion into repairing or replacing aging roads and water systems, a new report says.

With the Conservatives’ infrastructure funding plan set to expire in 2014, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ first-ever national infrastructure report card called for a commitment from Ottawa to support cash-strapped municipalities, many of which are home to decaying, “at-risk” infrastructure.

The report, a sweeping examination of 123 municipalities that was released Tuesday, paints a bleak portrait of Canada’s roads and wastewater systems. More than half of municipal roads received a grade of “fair” to “very poor” for displaying general physical decline, significant signs of corrosion or “widespread signs of advanced deterioration.”

“(The report) affirms that we know that there is infrastructure that is not meeting a certain standard across the country,” FCM president Karen Leibovici said in an interview. “We need to tackle that . . . to ensure that the infrastructure we have throughout this country is able to meet needs.”

Shabby roads have made headlines in recent months after massive concrete blocks shattered on Montreal’s Ville-Marie Expressway and pieces of Toronto’s Gardiner Expressway rained down on bustling Lakeshore Blvd. Last Tuesday, an Ottawa motorist drove into a sinkhole caused by a collapsed culvert pipe on Highway 174.

Leibovici stressed that it remains incumbent upon the federal government to narrow the so-called infrastructure deficit by providing top-down funding beyond 2014.

Since it was hatched in 2007, the Conservatives’ “Building Canada” plan has provided about $2 billion annually in infrastructure funding to municipalities. Ottawa’s gas tax fund funnels $2 billion into cities for public works projects and this year’s budget promised future cash for public works projects.

Still, NDP Transport and Infrastructure critic Olivia Chow called the current situation “simply unacceptable.”

“Bridges dropping concrete and highway sinkholes swallowing cars are not freak accidents but symptomatic of the crumbling infrastructure across Canada,” she said in a statement. “The Harper Conservatives have neglected Canada’s roads, water and transit systems and Canadians are paying the price.”

Government officials are in talks with local and provincial leaders and private sector interests about crafting a funding plan to kick in when the current one expires, said Geneviève Sicard, press secretary for Infrastructure Minister Denis Lebel.

The report card, which does not contain recommendations, also highlighted widespread decrepitude in wastewater infrastructure, with roughly 40 per cent of pumping stations and storage tanks experiencing varying degrees of decline.

New federal wastewater regulations will likely improve several hundred water systems across the country, but those come with a hefty $20 billion price tag that municipalities will have to cover over the next two decades.

Guy Félio, a Carleton University civil engineer and lead author on the study, said the report card should send a clear message to the federal government “we’re in a position to control our destiny from an infrastructure perspective and for that we need to manage it properly.”

Municipalities leave federal stimulus money on table

Ninety-nine “shovel-ready” municipal projects that planned to take advantage of $4 billion in federal stimulus money were forced to forgo grants after missing a federal government-mandated completion deadline last year.

In 2009, the Conservatives had offered 3,913 projects money from its Infrastructure Stimulus Fund, intending to steamroll a lagging economy. The deadline for those projects — including more than 500 projects, such as road and bridge revitalizations, in Toronto — was extended to Oct. 31, 2011, from March 31, 2011.

While Ottawa said it would cover “its share of all eligible costs” up to the extended deadline, Infrastructure Canada remains tight-lipped on the amount of money municipalities left on the table.

“Infrastructure Canada cannot provide the total amount of funding that these projects may have to forgo, given that all projects are not yet complete and the final financial reconciliation has not been completed,” a ministry spokesperson Caroline Grondin said.

SOURCE: http://www.londoncommunitynews.com/2012/09/canadas-infrastructure-in-need-of-171-8-billion-in-repairs/

Gateway pipeline hearings resume: First Nations get chance to question Enbridge

EDMONTON – Lawyers for an aboriginal group fighting the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline have raised more questions about who could end up with ownership stakes.

Hana Boye, who represents the Haisla band which claims much of the pipeline’s route as its traditional territory, queried Enbridge (TSX:ENB) officials on who put up money for 10 $10-million option agreements that could guarantee their holders space in the pipeline and a share of its ownership.

“If we don’t know who these investors are, we’re not able to determine if they’re financially viable, if they’re market-force driven or if it’s in the interest of Canadians,” she said.

Lawyers for environmental groups had already raised questions at hearings earlier this month about the possibility of Chinese interests buying control of the project.

On Monday, Enbridge vice-president John Fisher said most of the purchasers have been identified. Those who aren’t are covered by a confidentiality agreement, he said.

Under further questioning, Fisher conceded that the Chinese state-owned oil company Sinopec owns one of the $10-million units.

Boye then asked if the purchasers of the other units would be able to sell them and whether Enbridge would have any influence on who would be able to buy them.

“It would be a private transaction between those two parties,” Fisher said. “It could happen.”

Boye pointed out that Chinese energy firms are buying Canadian companies who have purchased option units. The China National Offshore Oil Corp. has purchased a share of MEG Energy, which is an option owner. As well, Chinese interests are also trying to buy Nexen (TSX:NXY), which owns another one of the 10 options.

The testimony came as hearings on Enbridge’s controversial pipeline resumed in Edmonton. It was the first chance for First Nations representatives to cross-examine company officials about the proposed $6-billion line.

Haida and Haisla officials have made statements voicing concerns about the project at earlier hearing sessions.

The pipeline would carry bitumen from Alberta’s oilsands to the B.C. coast where it would be loaded onto tankers headed for Asia.

People living along the route and on the B.C. coast fear the impact of possible spills, but supporters of the pipeline argue it’s needed to expand Canada’s export options.

The latest round of hearings in Edmonton are to last all week.

SOURCE: http://www.firstperspective.ca/news/1859-gateway-pipeline-hearings-resume-first-nations-get-chance-to-question-enbridge

Summit deal would expand local gas pipeline holdings

Summit Midstream Partners, LLC, is seeking to vastly expand its local (Colorado) and overall natural gas pipeline holdings with a proposed $207 million acquisition.

Summit announced Friday that it has agreed to spend that amount to acquire ETC Canyon Pipeline, LLC, which gathers and processes natural gas in the Piceance and Uinta basins in Colorado and Utah.

Summit has reached the agreement with La Grange Acquisition, L.P., a subsidiary of Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. The purchase would entail more than 1,600 miles of pipeline, 44,000 horsepower of compression facilities, processing facilities with a total capacity of 97 million cubic feet of gas per day, and two natural gas liquids injection stations.

The deal is subject to regulatory approvals and other closing conditions, and is expected to be consummated in the fourth quarter of this year.

Last year, in its initial expansion to the Rockies, Summit agreed to spend $590 million to buy part of the Piceance Basin distribution systems of Encana USA. The deal consisted of 260 miles of pipeline and 90,000 horsepower of compression facilities in the Rifle-Parachute area. The facilities transport 500 million cubic feet of gas per day.

Summit is based in Dallas and has offices in Denver, Atlanta and Houston. It also has holdings in the Fort Worth Basin, which includes the Barnett Shale formation in Texas.

The company was formed in 2009 by members of its management and funds controlled by Energy Capital Partners II, LP, a private equity firm. That firm sold an interest in Summit to GE Energy Financial Services last year.

Last month, Summit filed for an initial public stock offering of about $301.9 million to support its growth. Summit said in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing that its holdings as of June 30 included about 385 miles of pipeline and 147,600 horsepower of compression, and its systems gathered an average of about 909 million cubic feet of natural gas per day during the first half of the year.

SOURCE: http://www.gjsentinel.com/breaking/articles/summit-deal-would-expand-local-gas-pipeline-holdings/