Enbridge – Work on pipeline to begin later this year in Michigan

A portion of a large-diameter interstate crude oil pipeline that runs through Oxford and Addison townships (Michigan) is due to be replaced later this year by Canadian-based energy distribution company, Enbridge Inc.

Enbridge, Inc. will begin work on Oxford and Addison’s portions of what is known as Line 6B at some point between June 1 and Dec. 31, according to Jack Manshum, a spokesman for the company.

“That’s the plan as of right now,” he said. “We’re in the process of developing the construction timeline.”

Line 6B is a 285-mile crude oil pipeline that begins in Indiana, crosses southeastern Michigan and ends in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada. It serves refineries in Michigan, Ohio and eastern Canada.

This year, Enbridge plans to replace approximately 50 miles of Line 6B with new 30-inch diameter pipeline (the same size as the existing one) from Ortonville to the St. Clair River in Marysville. The portion that runs through Oxford is approximately 6.5 miles in length, while Addison’s portion is approximately 6 miles long, according to Manshum.

This is part of a much larger construction project that spans approximately 210 miles across Michigan and Indiana.

The Michigan Public Service Commission approved Enbridge’s application for this phase of the pipeline project on Jan. 31

“We’ve haven’t formally announced the details yet as to when we’ll be in each county or in each area,” Manshum said. “We’re in the middle of outlining that entire plan. So, I don’t know exactly when we’ll be in Oakland County.”

The old underground pipeline will not be removed to make way for the new one. It will be left in place.

“It will run parallel and adjacent to the existing line that’s in place now using the same right-of-way,” Manshum said. “When the new line is tied in and activated, the old line will be deactivated.”

Deactivation will involve purging all the oil from the old line and cleaning it thoroughly to remove any remaining crude, he explained. The old line will then be “taken apart in small segments” and capped.

“Each chunk of that pipe will have caps on it and then it’s filled with nitrogen,” Manshum said. “We will monitor the pressure inside that line as long as the line exists. The reason you fill it with the nitrogen and you monitor the pressure is to help make sure it doesn’t have any internal corrosion.”

With regard to the line’s exterior, he said Enbridge will maintain the cathodic protection that’s already on it to ensure there’s no external corrosion either.

Enbridge can’t simply walk away from the old pipeline.

“It’s a federal requirement,” Manshum said. “You have to maintain it as if you were using it.”

Manshum explained that leaving the old pipeline in place is “pretty standard in the energy transportation industry.”

“To completely take that line out of service, then replace it with a new one” is not practical for Enbridge’s customers, which are oil refineries.

“(The pipeline) would be out of service for six to 12 months – there would be no product flowing through (it),” Manshum said. “(The refineries) don’t have enough storage capacity to go that long.”

Once the new line is up and running, why can’t Enbridge come back and remove the old one? “That’s more of an inconvenience for landowners,” Manshum said. “We’re already there during one construction season, digging up their property, creating the trench.”

If Enbridge returns for another construction season, the workers will “basically redig everything that we just put back into place the year prior.”

Manshum noted it would involve the “same amount of time and process” to remove the old pipeline as it did to install the new one.

“It’s much less disruptive to landowners for us to only be in there once, instead of having to come back,” he said.

SOURCE: http://www.clarkstonnews.com/Articles-News-i-2013-03-20-250883.113121-sub-Work-on-oil-line-to-begin-later-this-year.html

Bluegrass Natural Gas Pipeline – Moving Forward!

Oklahoma’s Williams (NYSE: WMB) and Houston’s Boardwalk Pipeline Partners (NYSE: BWP) have teamed up to develop a new major natural gas pipeline, named the Bluegrass Pipeline, which would cut through Kentucky and connect gas fields underneath Pennsylvania to refineries and export markets on the Gulf Coast.

That means resources from the Marcellus Shale will now be accessible by facilities in Texas and Louisiana, which can then export them around the world. Kentucky.com reports that the pipeline, once completed, would allow for the initial transport of some 200,000 barrels of natural gas liquids per day from the shale operations in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia over to the facilities along the Coast. This capacity would later be upgraded to 400,000 barrels per day, chiefly by the addition of liquids-pumping capacity.

The venture also means wholly new facilities, both along the pipeline’s route and in the South where it terminates, would be constructed and developed, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. Roughly 40 percent of the project proposal comprises new construction and development, and this is focused largely within the Marcellus region, though no exact locations have yet been decided upon.

An interconnect in Kentucky would connect to origin points of the pipeline located in Ohio and West Virginia. Also in Kentucky, an existing system will partially be reconfigured to allow for the transportation of natural-gas liquids, Kentucky.com reports. The final route the pipeline will follow has not been determined yet.

This project comes as the latest in a series of high-profile pipeline development efforts in and near the Marcellus Shale region, as companies try to exploit the lacking American pipeline infrastructure situation by building new networks that can handle the rush of shale-derived oil and natural gas (and related products), which the existing heavy crude pipelines cannot readily do.

In fact, the situation is so complex that some Marcellus and Utica shale producers have had to slow down their operations as they wait for the pipeline network infrastructure to play catch-up. But natural gas prices have dropped even further, so developers are showing more interest in liquids derived from natural gas, like condensate, ethane, and other natural-gas liquids, Kentucky.com reports, which could be sold in numerous markets both domestic and international.

According to Williams, the present system is likely to be under too much pressure as soon as 2016, with the total volume of natural-gas liquids being produced in the Northeast projected to go over 1.2 million barrels per day by 2020.

Kentucky.com quotes Williams President and CEO, Alan Armstrong:

“We are designing Bluegrass Pipeline to provide these two world-class resource plays with access to one of the largest and most dynamic petrochemical markets in the world,” Armstrong said. “This will help producers in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia achieve an attractive value for their ethane and other liquids.”

The way Boardwalk and Williams envision this project is for the pipeline to deliver mixed natural-gas liquids from the shale zones in Ohio, W. Virginia, and Pennsylvania to numerous fractionation plants and storage centers. These have yet to be built, but they will be positioned along the pipeline’s route. They would subsequently link up with petrochem plants and end-product pipelines along the Texas and Louisiana coasts.

No costs have been cited yet, as those are part of the details still being worked out. The problem of moving the shale derivatives out of the Northeast and nearer to the refineries and other facilities is one of the U.S. shale sector’s biggest issues, and this project will undoubtedly do its part in alleviating the pressure.

Roughly 60 percent of existing pipeline can be used, according to Kentucky.com; this is mostly owned by Boardwalk, named the Texas Gas Pipeline. New construction would simply expand on this network. It would allow the project to possibly come online by or in the second half of 2015, while also keeping construction costs down.

Boardwalk has nearly 1,420 miles of natural gas pipeline networking through Western Kentucky and employs 315 out of its 1,200 employees within that state.

Prior to this development, Enterprise Products Partners LLP and Chesapeake Energy (NYSE: CHK) came up with a similar plan in 2011 to develop a pipeline that would transport ethane from the Marcellus Shale region, connecting it to refineries and facilities along the Gulf Coast. More such projects will need to be developed before the Appalachian shale bottleneck can see some real relief.

SOURCE: http://www.energyandcapital.com/articles/bluegrass-natural-gas-pipeline-approved/3192

Major expansion of natural gas pipeline

$44 million project would put 5.6-mile line through Bucks County, PA.

One of MATCOR’s key clients Texas Eastern Transmission LP, is seeking federal approval of a $5.3-million expansion of its pipeline and compressor station system to distribute Marcellus shale gas produced locally by Chevron and EQT.

A subsidiary of Spectra Energy Transmission, of Houston, Texas, Texas Eastern wants to gain Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approval in November this year and put the new pipelines into service by November 2014, according to a pre-application filing recently submitted to FERC.

The project involves installing a total of 33.6 miles of new pipeline in five counties in the state; upgrading four compressor stations in the state and other work at 41 company facilities between Pennsylvania and Mississippi.  MATCOR has the ability to provide its SPL Mixed Metal Oxide Linear Anode to cathodically protect this pipeline expansion.

“Texas Eastern’s (pipeline) runs from the Gulf of Mexico to Lambertville, N.J. This is an expansion of that system,” said Spectra spokeswoman Marylee Hanley.

Texas Eastern has agreements with Chevron and EQT to charge them for the work, which would provide both producers with the capacity to transport 300,000 additional Btu/d.

These two shippers are major producers in the Marcellus shale play need the project to ensure that pipeline capacity exists to transport their gas to markets as the production comes on line. The shippers have agreed to pay negotiated rates for the pipeline service, according to Texas Eastern’s FERC filing.

“We are an open access pipeline, which means we are required to provide service to our customers,” Hanley said.

The new pipelines would be installed adjacent to existing pipelines in existing rights of way, and all the compressor station work would be done on the stations’ existing property, she said.

Specifically, the project would transport 300,000 Btu/d of gas from western Pennsylvania to the eastern end of the system in Lambertville, N.J., and Staten Island, N.Y.; 50,000 Btu/d from western Pennsylvania to the Lebanon, Ohio, hub and 250,000 Btu/d of of gas from western Pennsylvania to markets in Mississippi and Louisiana.

In addition to providing access to markets for the producers, the project would promote commodity price competition and reduce price volatility by introducing new supply sources from the Appalachian production area, particularly the prolific Marcellus shale, to these market areas, Texas Eastern said. The project would also provide gas to developing markets in the Gulf Coast Region and improve the company’s transportation security, flexibility and reliability, according to the filing

SOURCE: http://www.elp.com/news/2013/03/10/texas-eastern-transmission-planning-pipeline-extension.html

Keystone XL Pipeline Passes Emissions Test

The proposed Keystone XL pipeline to bring heavy oil from Canada to the south of Nebraska has cleared an important hurdle, after an environmental impact statement concluded it would have only a marginal effect on greenhouse gas emissions.

The state department study argued that production in the oil sands of Alberta would increase even if the pipeline were not built because companies could make more use of rail transport to reach US refineries.

It also suggested that building Keystone XL would create more than 42,100 jobs across the US for one to two years, although once in operation it would support just 35 permanent jobs.

The conclusions make it more likely that President Barack Obama’s administration will approve the controversial project, which has become a battleground for the oil industry and environmental campaigners.

Formally, the state department has responsibility for deciding on the pipeline, because it crosses the border from Canada.

The pipeline would carry diluted bitumen from the oil sands – also known as the tar sands – which create higher levels of greenhouse gas emissions than many other forms of oil production.

Alison Redford, premier of Alberta, praised the study as “extensive, exacting and comprehensive”.

TransCanada, the company behind the project, addressed earlier concerns about leaks from the pipeline by re-routing it away from the environmentally sensitive Sand Hills area of Nebraska.

The new route is 875 miles long, and could carry up to 830,000 barrels of diluted bitumen per day to Steele City, Nebraska, where it will connect with a southern section already under construction. The aim is to connect to refineries on the Gulf of Mexico coast that are configured to use heavy oil including Canadian production.

The pipeline could also take some production from the fast-growing Bakken shale of North Dakota, the heart of the new US oil boom.

The state department study suggests that the oil sands of Alberta will be developed whether or not Keystone XL is built.

It argues: “Approval or denial of any one crude oil transport project, including the proposed project [Keystone XL], remains unlikely to significantly impact the rate of extraction in the oil sands, or the continued demand for heavy crude oil at refineries in the US.”

Blocking Keystone XL would cut output from the oil sands by only 0.4-0.6 per cent by 2030, the study said. Even if all new pipeline capacity were restricted, oil sands production would drop just 2-4 per cent.

The study argues that other transport routes, particularly rail, would be capable of “providing the capacity needed to transport all incremental Western Canadian and Bakken crude oil production to markets if there were no additional pipeline projects approved”.

The state department will now take comments about the study, before a final decision from the administration on whether the pipeline is in the US national interest.

SOURCE: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/9763476c-82b3-11e2-8404-00144feabdc0.html

Proposed Columbia Gas Pipeline – Philadelphia Area

In recent headlines from the Marcellus Shale natural gas boom, a major interstate pipeline company wants to expand its transmission network in the Philadelphia area to deliver more gas to customers.

Columbia Gas Transmission Group (A MATCOR client) submitted plans Monday with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) outlining a public campaign for its $210 million project.

The East Side Expansion Project, so named because it adds capacity to the eastern part of Columbia’s 16-state system, includes installing a 20-inch-diameter pipeline on a 7.5-mile route in Gloucester County and a 26-inch-diameter pipeline for 8.9 miles in Chester County.

“We are responding to a demand for increasing capacity of natural gas from our customers,” said Brendan C. Neal, community relations and stakeholder outreach manager for the transmission company, a subsidiary of NiSource Inc.

The new and larger pipes with greater capacity, which would be buried alongside existing Columbia pipelines, will require the company to acquire additional right-of-way from adjoining property owners. But the project is less likely to create public apprehension than a pipeline crossing virgin countryside.

“Since they’re running along an existing line, it does limit some of the concerns,” said Lyman Barnes, administrator of Logan Township, Gloucester County.

The work would expand capacity on a part of Columbia’s pipeline that runs from New York state to Virginia through Southeastern Pennsylvania. The existing line connects to the Millenium Pipeline near Port Jervis, N.Y., and transports Marcellus gas southward to Downingtown, where an eastward extension goes under the Delaware River into South Jersey.

The new line would expand supply options for the West Deptford Energy Station, a 738-megawatt gas-fired power plant being built in Gloucester County by LS Power Group. That plant, scheduled to go into service next year, would consume up to 80 million cubic feet of gas a day.

Columbia will increase capacity on its existing pipeline mostly by adding more horsepower to compressor stations in Milford and Easton, Pa., which will push greater volumes of gas though the pipes. Those station expansions are likely to attract the attention of environmental activists, who have objected to air emissions from other such projects.

Pipeline infrastructure designed to deliver natural gas from traditional production areas in the Gulf Coast states is being reconfigured to accommodate new Appalachian shale production.

The project would require FERC approval. The papers filed on Monday with the federal agency were a request to initiate a “prefiling,” which would include public meetings in April before the company formally files its application with the commission in August. Columbia anticipates FERC would authorize construction by June 2014.

SOURCE: http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20130228_Major_interstate_pipeline_firm_wants_to_expand_its_network_in_Phila__area.html