Tag Archives: marcellus

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

Millennium Pipeline clears safety check

Millennium Pipeline has been given the go-ahead to return to full service, company officials said, after a natural gas leak led to a government investigation that uncovered missing weld inspection records. While the records weren’t located, new weld inspections were conducted to verify the integrity of four “suspect” welds that raised the ire of federal officials for inadequate paperwork.

“Our integrity confirmations revealed that no additional anomalies were found, no weld defects of any kind were found. Our digs didn’t reveal anything out of the ordinary or unusual to be of concern.”

State and federal officials launched an investigation into the pipeline after a weld, located near the Broome-Tioga county border, sprung a leak on Jan. 11. The leak released an estimated 1.3 million cubic of feet of natural gas — enough to heat an average home in the Northeast for 18 years — before repairs were completed five days later.

The results of that investigation were released in a U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration document in July, which pointed to the three other welds in a 93-mile section of the Millennium system that were considered “suspect” because of missing inspection documents.

Between the leak and the recordkeeping deficiencies, the July PHMSA document expressed concerns about the integrity of the pipeline as a whole.

“Similar defects may also develop leaks and potentially lead to a rupture of the pipeline,” the federal document said.

Following the report, Millennium reduced pressure on the pipeline — which can reach a maximum of 1,200 pounds per square inch, but is normally lower — by 20 percent until the integrity of the welds could be verified.

On Sept. 21, Millennium and PHMSA reached a consent agreement, in which they agreed to conduct new testing to allay concerns about the welds by Dec. 31.

The consent agreement document identifies the “suspect” welds with approximate locations that would place all four in either western Tioga or eastern Broome counties.

Gibbon said the work was completed recently, and Millennium was given the green light to return to normal pressure in mid-October.

An estimated $500,000 to $600,000 in “pig testing” — a process in which camera equipment is shuttled through the pipeline to collect data from the inside — in addition to nine investigative digs provided information that was missing in the records.

The welds turned out to be OK, according to Gibbon.

“There were different places along the pipeline where they asked if we would please go through and get a visual to make sure that everything is okay, and it was” she said. “We submitted our findings back to PHMSA … and we’ve returned to normal pressures.”

‘Not a perfect system’
Richard Kuprewicz, a Bellingham, Wash.-based pipeline safety expert, said situations such as this are “not unusual.”

Pipeline operators are not required to conduct an X-ray inspection of every weld on a pipeline, even though it’s the best way to ensure the integrity of a weld.

On top of that, government agencies don’t typically look over the shoulder of pipeline operators during construction to make sure every single weld has an inspection record.

“Everyone thinks, especially during the construction, that there’s safety inspectors looking at this every step of the way,” he said. “They can’t be checking every weld or every record. There’s only a certain number of people.”

Case in point: Although the Millennium Pipeline gained government approval prior to going online in December 2008, PHMSA became aware of recordkeeping deficiencies only after the January leak.

“It’s not like it’s your car being built and there are quality controls,” Kuprewicz said. “It’s not a perfect system.”

Gibbon said Millennium takes “full responsibility” for the missing records, and has both revised its recordkeeping system and launched its own internal investigation.

“Even though we have modernized our system going forward, we’re going back and doing a very careful examination of where something could have slipped through the cracks,” she said.

PHMSA did not respond on Monday to questions about the agency’s records on inspection policies.

SOURCE: http://www.pressconnects.com/article/20111031/NEWS01/110310371/Millennium-Pipeline-clears-safety-check?odyssey=nav%7Chead