Motiva set to restart Port Arthur crude unit-sources

Motiva Enterprises plans to begin restarting a crude distillation unit at its 600,000 bpd Port Arthur, Texas, refinery next week after it was shut in June to repair massive corrosion from a chemical leak, sources familiar with the refinery said on Wednesday.

Motiva has wrapped up the repairs and is in the process of transferring control of the unit to operations staff this week, the sources said.

The company, a joint venture of Royal Dutch Shell and Saudi Aramco, was forced to shut the giant new 325,000-bpd crude distillation unit (CDU) at the refinery in June after discovering cracked piping on a massive scale in the cornerstone unit of a five-year, $10-billion expansion project.

Motiva plans to have the unit, VPS-5, in production by the end of December, the sources said.

Motiva had said repairs were expected to finish sometime between late November and early December, with VPS-5 back in production by the first quarter of 2013.

If VPS-5 remains in operation into the new year, Motiva also plans to take one of the old crude units and a coking unit down for planned overhauls about midway through the first quarter, the sources said.

A Motiva representative was not immediately available to discuss operations at the refinery.

Motiva has not disclosed the price tag for repairs, but analysts have estimated the cost at between $300 million and $1 billion.

The new CDU was the centerpiece of the expansion that pushed the plant’s overall capacity to 600,000 bpd, surpassing Exxon Mobil Corp’s 560,500-bpd Baytown, Texas, refinery as the country’s largest.

But an influx of a corrosive chemical, during what workers thought was a brief, routine shutdown of the newly built CDU, cracked and ruined thousands of feet of pipe and other critical parts.

After the extent of damage from a leak of caustic sodium hydroxide into VPS-5 was discovered, estimates of the length of time needed for repairs ranged from six months to a year. Sodium hydroxide is used in small amounts to prevent heavy, sour crude oil, which VPS-5 is made to refine, from fouling the unit.

Motiva and its co-owners moved quickly to assemble needed replacement piping and staff to undertake repairs, which affected the atmospheric distillation section of VPS-5.

SOURCE: http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/11/28/refinery-operations-motiva-portarthur-idUKL1E8MS88620121128

Pembina Pipeline Corporation Plans Capital Spend of $965 Million in 2013

Pembina Pipeline Corporation (“Pembina” or the “Company”) (TSX: PPL; NYSE: PBA) announced that its Board of Directors has approved a capital spending budget of approximately $965 million for 2013. This is approximately 75 percent higher than Pembina’s 2012 capital budget and represents the largest in the Company’s history.

“2013 will mark the third consecutive year that Pembina has increased its capital program, again setting a record for the size of our investment,” said Bob Michaleski, Chief Executive Officer. “This impressive capital spending plan is directly aligned with our goal of continuing to provide long-term value to our shareholders, with the vast majority of our 2013 investments being targeted towards fee-for-service projects. Our focus in the next year will be to progress our current suite of projects and bring in the next phase of Pembina’s growth opportunities while maintaining a strong balance sheet and increasing our cash flow per share.”

A substantial portion – $240 million, or about 25 percent – of the 2013 capital spend will be directed towards completing the construction of the Company’s Saturn and Resthaven enhanced liquids extraction facilities along with the associated pipelines. These projects will provide extraction of natural gas liquids (“NGL”) in the field for producers located in west central Alberta.

Pembina also plans to direct $210 million, or 22 percent of its 2013 capital budget towards the expansion of its crude oil, condensate and NGL pipelines. These expansion projects will allow Pembina to continue to meet the growing needs of producers, which has resulted from new technology being deployed and increased activity in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin.

Pembina’s 2013 capital spending plan reflects strong growth opportunities that expand on existing operations in each of its four businesses and is expected to continue to drive shareholder value in the coming years.

SOURCE: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/11/28/5016826/pembina-pipeline-corporation-plans.html 

President Obama Approves New Natural Gas Pipeline in Brooklyn and Queens

NEW YORK — A new natural gas pipeline is coming to Brooklyn and Queens, after President Barack Obama cleared the way for it to be built on Tuesday.

The pipeline will run beneath Jacob Riis Park in the Rockaways and under Jamaica Bay to Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, bringing in more natural gas to serve the city’s growing demand, officials said.

The project required federal legislation — and the president’s signature — because it affects the parkland in the Gateway National Recreation Area, which includes Floyd Bennett Field.

Officials expect the project, which does not yet have a timeline, to generate nearly 300 construction jobs and $265 million in construction activity, a key boon for the local economy following Hurricane Sandy, said U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm, who sponsored the legislation that made the pipeline possible.

“This is welcomed news as we seek to rebuild our local economy and our communities,” Grimm said in a statement.

The pipeline will branch off from an existing line that moves natural gas from New Jersey to Long Island, and it will end in a new meter station at Floyd Bennett Field, officials said. The gas pipeline that currently serves that area was built about 50 years ago and is too small to carry all the natural gas the city needs, officials said.

Grimm and other proponents of the plan have promised that the pipeline will not infringe on populated or environmentally fragile areas, but the pipeline has attracted some opposition from local residents and environmental groups, according to reports.

Still, the pipeline’s supporters include the National Park Service, the Regional Plan Association and Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

“Given the destruction of Hurricane Sandy, this law could not come at a more critical time for New York City,” Bloomberg said in a statement. “This pipeline will help us build a stable, clean-energy future for New Yorkers and will ensure the reliability of the city’s future energy needs.”

SOURCE: http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20121127/new-york-city/president-obama-approves-new-natural-gas-pipeline-brooklyn-queens#ixzz2DWpWpAx4

New Pipeline carrying Marcellus Shale gas

The impact of the Marcellus Shale natural gas boom is about to reach a corner of South Jersey.

Surveyors have started several months of work in Gloucester County as part of a planned major pipeline expansion project to carry gas from northern Pennsylvania to the country’s Northeast and Mid-Atlantic markets.

Dubbed the East Side Expansion project, it is expected to cost $210 million and it had not yet received approval of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Most of the work would be on right-of-way owned by Columbia Gas Transmission L.L.C., a subsidiary of Houston’s NiSource Gas Transmission & Storage, said Chevalier Mayes, a NiSource spokeswoman.

Construction would begin in early 2015 and end in the fall of that year, the company said.

In Gloucester County, Woolwich Township Administrator Jane DiBella said the pipeline would run along the Columbia Gas right-of-way parallel to Center Square Road, which extends from Logan Township into Swedesboro.

The Gloucester County leg is just a small segment of a project covering four states. The main line is to run from Milford, in Pennsylvania’s Pike County, to Loudoun County, Va.

The Gloucester branch would connect to the main north-south pipeline in Chester County and cross the Delaware River to bring gas to Columbia Gas’ existing redistribution facility in West Deptford, according to a map accompanying a solicitation of bids for the pipeline project.

 A planned Nov. 5 presentation by Columbia Gas officials to the Woolwich Township Committee was canceled because the company was involved in recovery operations related to Hurricane Sandy, DiBella said. The public session is expected to be rescheduled.

SOURCE: http://articles.philly.com/2012-11-17/news/35157753_1_pipeline-columbia-gas-transmission-llc-marcellus-shale

Enbridge gets nod for Alberta pipeline

CALGARY, Alberta, Nov. 26 (UPI) — Canadian pipeline company Enbridge announced it reached an agreement with shippers for the expansion of an oil pipeline in Alberta province.

Enbridge said it agreed to terms for a $1.8 billion expansion to its pipeline system between Edmonton and Hardisty, Alberta. The expansion envisions a 2015 capacity target of 800,000 barrels per day.

The company said the new line agreements would fall within its competitive toll agreement and include a 25 cent surcharge on shipments.

“The agreement with shippers on terms for the expansion continues our collaborative relationship, ensuring that we provide the facilities and services they need to maximize the value of their crude oil,” Stephen Wuori, president of liquid pipelines for Enbridge, said in a statement.

Enbridge aims to build the twin Northern Gateway pipeline from oil sands operations in Alberta to ports along Canada’s west coast. Critics of tar sands oil, the type of crude found in Alberta, say there are concerns about the environmental consequences associated with pipeline developments.

Enbridge said the Edmonton to Hardisty line should begin construction by 2014 once it gets full support from the government.

SOURCE: http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Energy-Resources/2012/11/26/Enbridge-gets-nod-for-Alberta-pipeline/UPI-47511353934923/#ixzz2DLctvybr

Piedmont Natural Gas Announces Investment in Constitution Pipeline Project

Piedmont Natural Gas today announced its equity investment in Constitution Pipeline Company, LLC, a natural gas pipeline project slated to transport natural gas supplies from the prolific Marcellus supply region in northern Pennsylvania to major northeastern markets. The project is scheduled to be in service by March 2015. Piedmont Natural Gas, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Piedmont Constitution Pipeline Company, LLC, joins Williams Partners L.P.  and Cabot Oil and Gas Corporation  as a 24 percent equity participant in the joint venture, and will invest an estimated $180 million in the new project.

Thomas E. Skains, Piedmont’s Chairman, President, and CEO commented on the Company’s involvement, “Piedmont’s equity participation in the Constitution Pipeline project aligns very well with our strategic focus on expanding our investments in complementary energy-related businesses as a means of enhancing shareholder value.”  Skains continued, “We are excited about making an investment in strategic pipeline infrastructure in the Marcellus supply basin that will transport clean, low cost natural gas supplies to premium East Coast markets and provide substantial benefits for both natural gas producers and consumers.  We are equally excited to be joining such strong joint venture partners as Williams Partners and Cabot Oil and Gas, as both are outstanding companies and widely respected in our industry.”

An affiliate of Williams Partners will construct, operate, and maintain the new 30-inch, 121-mile long transmission pipeline that is being designed with sufficient capacity to transport 650,000 dekatherms of natural gas per day (a quantity of natural gas that can serve approximately 3 million homes) from established Marcellus production areas in Susquehanna County of northern Pennsylvania.   The pipeline will connect with the Iroquois Gas Transmission and Tennessee Gas Pipeline systems in Schoharie County, New York and is already fully contracted with long-term commitments from established natural gas producers currently operating in Pennsylvania; Piedmont will not be a customer of Constitution Pipeline.  Williams Partners will maintain a 51 percent ownership share, Cabot Oil and Gas a 25 percent share, and Piedmont Natural Gas, through its wholly owned subsidiary, a 24 percent share in the pipeline venture.

“Williams Partners enjoys a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship with Piedmont as a customer on our Transco pipeline system and as a joint venture partner in existing pipeline and storage infrastructure projects in North Carolina. We are delighted to expand that relationship with Piedmont as a new partner in the Constitution Pipeline,” said Alan Armstrong, chief executive officer of Williams Partners.  “Constitution is a key component of the Susquehanna Supply Hub that Williams Partners is expanding to connect Marcellus Shale producers like Cabot and Southwestern Energy with the highest-value markets.

“The Constitution Pipeline is a great example of the kind of leadership and investment –from energy-infrastructure providers like Williams Partners, utilities like Piedmont and producers like Cabot – that we believe is key to building the foundation our nation needs to realize the full benefits of the new abundance of long-lived, clean-burning natural gas supplies in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale and elsewhere in North America.”

The Constitution Pipeline project was first announced in February 2012 by Williams Partners and Cabot Oil and Gas. Construction of the new pipeline is expected to begin in April 2014 with an in-service date of March 2015. Constitution Pipeline is currently in the pre-filing process with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the federal agency charged with the regulation of interstate pipelines.  Constitution Pipeline plans to file a formal certificate application with the FERC in the spring of 2013.  More information about the Constitution Pipeline project can be found at www.constitutionpipeline.com.

Read More: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/11/13/4981407/piedmont-natural-gas-announces.html

Natural Gas to Be Most-Used Fuel in U.S. by 2030, IEA Says

Natural gas will overtake oil as the most-used fuel in the U.S. by 2030 as the country’s supplies balloon, the International Energy Agency said.

So-called unconventional gas, extracted from sources including shale rock and coal beds, will account for almost half of the increase in global output of the fuel by 2035, the Paris- based adviser to 28 industrialized nations said today in its World Energy Outlook. U.S. production will rise 23 percent and supply most of the growth along with China and Australia.

A boom in supplies of natural gas trapped in shale has reduced prices to a 10-year low of $1.902 a million cubic meters in April on the New York Mercantile Exchange. U.S. producers including Cheniere Energy Inc. (LNG)have proposed liquefied natural gas export terminals to meet demand in Asia.

“The place that’s going to be cheapest for gas exports is the U.S. and Canada,” Thierry Bros, an analyst at Societe Generale SA in Paris, said today by phone.

The U.S. will begin exporting around 2018, Fatih Birol, the IEA’s chief economist, said today at a press conference in London. Its external shipments will reach 19 billion cubic meters in 2020, compared with imports in 2010 of 76 billion cubic meters, the agency estimated in the report. North American exports will be 35 billion cubic meters, it said.

U.S. production will rise to 800 billion cubic meters in 2035 from an estimated 650 billion this year, the IEA said.

“The U.S. Department of Energy is waiting to review the results of a price impact study before dealing with the pending export applications,” the IEA said.

U.S. Exports

The agency assumes 93 percent of the U.S. gas remains available to meet domestic demand, with prices reaching $5.50 per million British thermal units by 2020. Front-month gas was at $3.52 per million Btu in New York today.

Diversifying sources of supply, can “accelerate movement toward more diversified trade flows, putting pressure on conventional gas suppliers and on traditional oil-linked pricing mechanisms for gas,” the IEA said.

Asia will ultimately seek lower prices for LNG, which is currently linked to oil in some sales contracts, and that pressure will be felt by the end of the decade, the IEA said.

The margin achievable by U.S. exporters to Japan in 2020 will shrink to $4.30 per million Btu, from $6.10 per million Btu in 2011, according to the report.

Global gas consumption may rise 19 percent by 2017 from 2010 levels as demand surges in Asia and the U.S. while Europe’s usage drops 1.6 percent, the agency said in June. China’s gas consumption will more than quadruple from last year’s level by 2035, boosted by regulatory reforms and policy support, the IEA said. Demand will also rise in India and the Middle East while growth in Japan is limited by higher prices and a focus on renewable sources and energy efficiency.

SOURCE: http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-11-12/natural-gas-to-become-largest-fuel-in-u-dot-s-dot-by-2030-iea-says

New gas pipeline being built in central NY

A 44-mile-long, $280 million natural gas pipeline under construction in central New York will carry natural gas from northern Pennsylvania to East Coast markets.

Construction began late last month on New York’s section of the Bluestone Pipeline that will carry natural gas produced in northern Pennsylvania to the Millennium Pipeline, which will take it to energy markets on the East Coast.

“We hope to be complete and have gas flowing by the end of the year,” said Mike Armiak, a spokesman for the pipeline.

Bluestone Gas Corporation of New York Inc., a subsidiary of Detroit-based DTE Energy, filed preliminary paperwork in July 2011 outlining plans for a nine-mile portion of the pipeline, 20 inches in diameter, in eastern Broome.

On Sept. 21, the state Public Service Commission issued a certificate that gave the company the green light for the project. Construction began Oct 20.

The pipeline will snake through Susquehanna County, Pa., before it crosses into New York in the Town of Sanford. Plans indicate it will run through 9.2 miles of rural land before reaching the Millennium Pipeline, a massive energy artery that cuts through the Southern Tier on its way from Corning to Ramapo, N.Y.

“It’s a way to get more benefits from the Millennium Pipeline by having this interconnect with Bluestone,” Armiak said, noting that union labor is being used when available. “What it means is there’ll be diversification of supply.”

The natural gas will come from wells located within a 30,000-acre footprint in Susquehanna County controlled by Houston-based Southwestern Energy Services Company, which signed an agreement with DTE Energy earlier this year.

The pipeline will have a capacity to pump 275 million cubic feet of natural gas per day — roughly enough to provide heat to 3,800 homes for a year — following DTE Energy’s planned $280 million investment in the system over 2012 and 2013, according to the company’s most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

SOURCE: http://www.pressconnects.com/article/20121105/NEWS01/311050070/-1/?nclick_check=1

Williams Partners gets FERC approval for pipeline

Williams Partners LP said Wednesday that it received federal approval for a $341 million expansion of the Transco natural gas pipeline, which should expand capacity in the Northeast by this time next year.

Williams said the project will expand the Transco Leidy Line and Transco mainline in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, to transport natural gas to the Northeast. It will add 12 miles of new pipe, mostly along existing pipeline routes, and a compressor facility in Essex County, N.J.

Construction of the compressor station begins this month, with pipeline construction starting in the spring. The new line should be in service by November 2013, the company said.

The project needed approval of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

SOURCE: http://www.businessweek.com/ap/2012-11-07/williams-partners-gets-ferc-approval-for-pipeline

Alberta to include public in safety review of its energy pipeline network

EDMONTON – Alberta plans to broaden a safety review of its vast energy pipeline network to include input from the public.

The province’s energy regulator hired a company in September to conduct a technical review of pipeline safety, spill response plans and the security of pipelines that cross water.

Energy Minister Ken Hughes says after that report is complete at the end of the year, the government will ask Albertans for their views on pipeline safety.

“We do want to engage everybody who has something constructive to contribute to this so there will be wider consultations in the new year,” Hughes told The Canadian Press in an interview.

The Alberta government asked for the technical safety review last summer following three pipeline-related spills.

In one of those spills, is a pipeline that leaked about 475,000 litres of oil into the Red Deer River, a major drinking water source for central Alberta.

Since July, more than 50 environmental, conservation, land rights, unions First Nations and other groups have been calling on Alberta to include the public in its pipeline safety review.

Greenpeace spokesman Mike Hudema praised the government’s decision to open up the review process to the public, but said its success will depend on its willingness to share information and to really listen to people’s concerns.

“I’m glad that the public is finally getting a chance to have their say,” Hudema said Thursday.

“Of course, it remains to be seen as to how much of a say they will have, how much their feedback will be incorporated in the actual decisions, or whether this is really just a public relations exercise.”

The Energy Resources Conservation Board hired Group 10 Engineering Ltd. of Calgary to conduct the technical review.

The company is to hand in a report to the board by the end of the month. The ERCB is to then submit the report, including its own conclusions, to Hughes by the end of the year.

Group 10 officials say under the terms of the contract, the company is strictly focusing on reviewing pipeline regulations, policies and best technical practices around the world. Consulting with the public is not part of its job.

“For this process to be effective, we have to be very guarded in how we engage people because it could turn out to be a mud-slinging, political, publicized nightmare. So we have to be cautious,” Group 10 director Daryl Foley said from Calgary.

Alberta is criss-crossed by a network of more than 400,000 kilometres of provincially regulated oil and natural gas pipelines, many of them up to 40 or 50 years old.

Hughes said the report will be made public in the new year and its findings will be the subject of the public consultations. He gave no timeline on when more details of the public review will be released or when it will start.

The final goal will be to determine whether or not the pipeline industry is performing to the best world standards and to come up with science-based solutions to fix any problems if it isn’t, Hughes added.

He also said the government will not allow the public consultation to delay the review process, which it hopes will reassure people in the province and around the world.

“Pipeline safety is important, not just to Albertans with respect to how pipelines perform. Pipeline safety and performance is also an important element of our social licence to operate as viewed by other Canadians and people living outside of Canada.”

“We all, as Albertans, have a concern that the pipeline industry is performing at its highest level possible. That expectation is set, not just by people who are technicians, but also by ordinary people like you and me who want to have input into policy process.”

Hughes said the government hasn’t decided how it will consult with the public, or whether the process will include public meetings or hearings.

SOURCE: http://thetyee.ca/CanadianPress/2012/11/01/Alta-Pipeline-Safety-Review-20623047/