Tag Archives: Construction

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

$520 million Marcellus Lateral pipeline project in doubt

A $520 million pipeline project thought to have the potential to support 2,500 Ohio construction jobs might be dead.

The Ohio Power Siting Board, the body that regulates major utility projects in Ohio, rejected the application for the Marcellus Lateral Pipeline more than a year ago. Kinder Morgan, a pipeline developer, owner and operator out of Houston, has made no official moves on the project since it submitted that application in November 2010.

The 16-inch pipeline was to snake 240 miles under Ohio, from the border with the West Virginia panhandle to a connection with larger pipeline just west of Toledo. It was designed to carry natural gas liquids from the Marcellus Shale formation, a layer of rock rich in oil and gas that sits underneath much of western Pennsylvania, West Virginia and the border counties of Ohio.

Its path would have crossed 15 Ohio counties, including Muskingum, Coshocton, Knox, Morrow, Marion, Crawford and Sandusky.

This past spring, the Bowling Green Sentinel-Tribune and Mount Vernon News quoted a Kinder Morgan spokesman as saying the project still was a go and to expect construction by the end of 2011. The company would first need to get approval from the siting board, which it has not sought, a board spokesman said.

When asked to comment about the project’s status, Kinder Morgan spokeswoman Emily Mir wrote: “We continue to evaluate a number of projects in the Marcellus area but do not have any definite information at this time on the lateral project other than as part of our re-evaluation we are withdrawing our application for the project.”

She declined to answer further questions.

Dale Arnold, director of energy policy for the Ohio Farm Bureau, had been conducting educational meetings with bureau members on pipeline issues in advance of the Marcellus Lateral Project.

He said the wording of Kinder Morgan’s statement suggests it is moving on to something else. Arnold said he has seen alternative energy projects (also governed by the siting board) pulled in the same manner.

“From my experience on work with wind and solar projects, when a company withdraws an application, they are looking at something entirely different,” he said.

The state is “still considering the application active, but just delayed,” said Matt Butler, spokesman for the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, which oversees the siting board.

As of Friday, Kinder Morgan had made no filing to withdraw its application, which would close the case.

The application was deemed incomplete in 2011 because it failed to include ecological data and enough detail on an alternative route.

Butler said the commission last heard from Kinder Morgan in the fall of 2011. The company relayed it was evaluating options at that point, he said.

Local leaders in the path of the pipeline are curious about Kinder Morgan’s plans.

Jenny Vermillion, a commissioner from Sandusky County, said her office had tried contacting the company in December, but had no success.

Jim Porter and Steve Douglass, commissioners in Muskingum and Guernsey counties, respectively, say they haven’t heard anything new about the project.

“They have not talked to us for a year of maybe longer,” Douglass said.

Douglass said Kinder Morgan had almost daily contact with Guernsey’s county engineer when the Rockies Express Pipeline, a multi-billion dollar interstate pipeline that was built in Ohio in 2009, was in construction.

The pipeline plan was announced by Kinder Morgan in April 2010. At that time, the timeline called for construction to begin in July 2011 and finish one year later.

In a year-end report to investors, filed a month after its application was submitted to the power siting board, Kinder Morgan talked of the need to “continue to pursue commercial agreements with shippers.”

The company, according to an October 2010 investor presentation, was seeking commitments from producers that they would use the lateral. Combined, Kinder Morgan was waiting for a promise of at least 25 million barrels per day for 10 years before it moved forward.

Richard Kinder, chairman and CEO of the company, told analysts during a conference call earlier this month about no fewer than five projects — costing more than half a billion dollars — slated to improve the company’s liquid products transportation. No mention was made of the Marcellus Lateral.

Its biggest investment this year is likely to be the expected closing of a $38 billion deal to buy rival El Paso. El Paso operates a gas pipeline near Glouster that was the source of an explosion that destroyed three homes and a barn and damaged a second barn in November.

SOURCE: http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/article/BA/20120128/NEWS01/201280305/-520-million-natural-gas-pipeline-project-doubt?odyssey=nav%7Chead

Waterville council considers $80 million natural gas line

Officials proposing to build an $80 million natural gas pipeline through central Maine got both support and questions at a City Council meeting earlier this week.

Mark Isaacson and Anthony Buxton, partners in Kennebec Valley Gas Co., are seeking a tax increment financing agreement with Waterville and 11 other communities on the proposed line, which would extend from Richmond to Madison and include 12 miles of line in the city.

Natural gas, they said, is less costly, cleaner and more efficient than oil.

City Manager Michael Roy said the city’s TIF Advisory Committee reviewed the project and voted to support it.

Councilor Karen Rancourt-Thomas, D-Ward 7, said she liked the idea that natural gas is less costly than oil and ultimately, would help companies maintain jobs.

“That’s what we have to look at in this situation,” she said.

Chris McMorrow, who owns rental properties, said heating buildings is costly and the introduction of natural gas would be welcome.

“So, I’m real excited as a landlord who buys a lot of energy,” he said.

But mayoral candidate Karen Heck cautioned councilors to seriously consider Isaacson and Buxton’s proposal, as well as a plan by Madison to build a pipeline.

She said she is concerned about where the gas comes from, how it is extracted and who extracts it.

Isaacson said a “host of companies” extract the gas and it is all mixed in the pipeline.

“We don’t have control over where the gas comes from,” he said.

Mayor Dana Sennett, who is running for re-election in November, said Wednesday that he thought the presentation Tuesday was informative.

“I think having a natural gas pipeline within the city’s limits and accessible to the city’s businesses and residential community is a long term asset as far as reducing energy costs,” he said.

Andrew Roy, who is running for mayor against Heck and Sennett, said he wants to learn more about the proposal before deciding if it is good for Waterville.

“There’s no way you can predict the price of it, 20 years down the road — 30 years down the road,” he said.

Madison is not asking communities along the pipeline route for tax breaks. Besides Waterville, Richmond, and Madison, they include Gardiner, Farmingdale, Hallowell, Augusta, Sidney, Oakland, Fairfield, Norridgewock and Skowhegan.

Isaacson said his company, which was formed last year, completed a preliminary design for the pipeline this year and received conditional certification in August from the Maine Public Utilities Commission, which allows the company to form as a public utility.

The company has completed a feasibility study but has not yet secured all funding needed for the project. Agreements with key users, identified as Huhtamaki, Sappi and Madison Paper Industries, are critical to the project.

The tax increment financing districts would require municipalities to give back a percentage of local property taxes to the developer to help finance the pipeline. TIF districts also act as a tax shelter for towns, so increased property values in the designated areas do not result in increased tax commitments.

Isaacson said the company hopes to get TIF agreements this year, secure financing in 2012 and build the pipeline in 2013.

Councilor John O’Donnell, D-Ward 5, asked what happens if the key users such as Madison Paper and Sappi do not come on board.

“Those commitments are essential for financing of the project,” Isaacson said.

O’Donnell asked what the advantages are over Madison’s plan.

Isaacson said Madison does not propose to provide residential or distribution service, at least in the beginning.

“I think their status as a public utility is unclear and their schedule is clearly behind ours,” he said.

Resident Scott McAdoo asked who would be responsible if a gas explosion occurred.

Buxton said gas pipelines are regulated by the local, state and federal government, and the standards are very rigorous.

“I would point out that we tend to hear about a natural gas accident when it happens, but it is extremely rare,” Buxton said.

He said Maine is about the only state in the nation without a natural gas infrastructure.

Council Chairman Charles Stubbert, D-Ward 1, said the city used to have a gas company and most people used gas. To his knowledge, there was never an explosion, he said.

SOURCE: http://www.kjonline.com/news/council-considers-natural-gas-line_2011-10-19.html