Gas pipeline connections start on Transco expansion

Written By Renée Kiriluk-Hill/Hunterdon Democrat at

Steps have been completed as work proceeds on the Transco pipeline expansion project in Franklin and Union townships in Hunterdon County.

In this area Williams Co. has completed pre-construction surveys, cleared and graded land, trenched — moving topsoil to separate mounds in agricultural areas — strung pipe near the trench.

According to the company, once pipe sections are welded together they are “placed on temporary supports along the edge of the trench. All welds are then visually and radiographically inspected. Line pipe, normally mill-coated or yard-coated prior to stringing, requires a coating at the welded joints. Prior to the final inspection, the entire pipeline coating is electronically inspected to locate and repair any coating faults or voids” before the pipe is placed in the trench and backfilling begins.

That is followed by testing the pipeline and restoration of the work area.

The pipeline is intended to supply the New York-area market with natural gas from the Marcellus Shale, primarily in Pennsylvania


Major Pipeline Safety & Integrity Management Changes Announced in Canada

Canada’s National Energy Board announced tightened rules on federally regulated oil and natural gas pipelines this week. The changes come with a move to bolster pipeline safety and integrity management for the good of environment and citizens.

The strengthened regulations require companies to actively address safety, pipeline integrity, safety, environmental protection and emergency management.

The measures intend to make senior management at pipelines accountable and responsible for their projects. Responsibilities include creation of annual reports on pipeline integrity and safety that will be evaluated by the National Energy Board.

The board is mandating companies name specific points of contact that are accountable for ensuring protection of pipelines. The board hopes tasking senior management at pipeline companies with this responsibility will make a significant throughout every pipeline management company.

The National Energy Board stated the move has been a work in progress for several years. The board was also quick to point out the changes have not been motivated by any recent environmental or safety concerns.

A spokesperson with the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association said member companies will comply with the new requirements. However, further comment was declined.

Nathan Lemphers of the Pembina Institute said the changes are a marked positive change that will ensure real action in Canadian pipeline management. The old regulations failed to create corporate responsibility around pipeline environmental safety and integrity management.

MATCOR’s Insight That Works

MATCOR applauds this move by the National Energy Board. There are certainly concerns for ease of rule implementation. However, MATCOR has experienced significant long-term benefit through proactive environmental protection and sustainability measures. The move to enhance pipeline safety through government regulation may speed these measures and greatly improve Canadian peace of mind.


MATCOR is a leading provider of ISO 9001:2008-certified cathodic and anodic protection. Read more about cathodic protection equipment and systems for storage tanks. MATCOR is pleased to offer the latest analysis weekly on its blog, Cathodically Protected: Pipeline Corrosion Control Insights.

Plains Pipeline Company Expands Rail Network in $500 MM Deal – Update

Plains All American Pipeline said Monday it will build a 310-mile, 20-inch pipeline to move crude oil across West Texas.

The Cactus Pipeline is expected to begin service in the first quarter of 2015. It will move both sweet and sour crude from McCamey to Gardendale, according to the announcement.

Total investment is expected to be as much as $375 million.

The partnership said it has entered into a letter of intent with a third party regarding a long-term commitment for a majority of the pipeline’s capacity and is in discussions with other potential shippers for the remaining capacity.

Initial capacity will be approximately 200,000 barrels per day, although the company’s announcement said that could be increased as demand warrants.

Plains All American Pipeline is a publicly traded master limited partnership based in Houston, engaged in the transportation, storage, terminaling and marketing of crude oil and refined products, as well as the processing, transportation, fractionation, storage and marketing of natural gas liquids.

The company has been aggressively investing in new projects as part of its plan for growth.

In December it announced a $500 million deal with Houston-based U.S. Development Group to buy crude oil rail terminals in three of the nation’s most active shale plays: the Eagle Ford in South Texas, the Bakken in North Dakota, and the Niobrara in Colorado, along with an existing unloading terminal in St. James, La., and one under development in Bakersfield, Calif.

MATCOR’s Insight That Works

The new pipeline is a strategic move for all parties involved. The Cactus Pipeline will run crude from the Permian to the Plains All American/Enterprise Products Partners Eagle Ford Joint Venture Pipeline, which serves the Three Rivers and Corpus Christi markets. The Three Rivers and Corpus Christi markets are booming with the current opportunities in the Eagle Ford Shale. That venture can also serve the Houston-area market through a connection to the Enterprise South Texas Crude Oil Pipeline, according to the Plains announcement.

The Cactus Pipeline is a long term investment. It is servicing a lucrative area that holds a large amount of promise both in economic and geological terms. However, the pipeline appears to be a complex project that will require expert coordination of pumps, valves, cathodic protection equipment and more.


MATCOR is a leading provider of ISO 9001:2008-certified turnkey cathodic protection systems. Read more industry news and analysis in their corrosion protection services magazine. MATCOR is pleased to offer the latest insights weekly on its blog.

Marcellus Shale Gas Impact Fee Proceeds Above $400M

HARRISBURG – Gov. Tom Corbett has announced that the Marcellus Shale Impact Fee, part of Act 13, signed into law in February of 2012, has brought in more than $400 million dollars in its first two years.

“Act 13 is a law that has helped bring Pennsylvania forward both economically and environmentally,” Corbett said. “In addition to enacting some of the most rigorous environmental standards in the nation, we’ve brought in more than $400 million for our communities directly impacted by unconventional drilling, along with other environmental efforts across the state.”

“As this industry grows, benefitting all Pennsylvanians with thousands of new jobs, lower energy prices, and increased energy independence, Act 13 has played a key part in our role making sure that it grows safely and responsibly,” Corbett said.

Collections for 2012 were due to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) by April 1.

Nearly $198 million is expected to come into the state from the 2012 collections. This is in addition to the $204 million collected during the first round of collections. The 2012 amounts were released yesterday.

The collections this year are slightly lower than last year due mainly to the lower price of natural gas.

Information on the amount of money expected for 2012, as well as the amount of money collected to date, can be found on the Act 13 page on the PUC’s website,


TransCanada ‘West-East’ Oil Pipeline Moves Forward

TransCanada Corp. has moved a major step forward on its plan to ship Western Canadian crude to the country’s eastern refineries and export facilities, so far facing few of the political hurdles that have dogged other pipeline projects aimed at moving crude out of Alberta.

The Calgary-based pipeline giant said Tuesday that it has launched a formal process to acquire shipping commitments from energy companies for the Energy East Pipeline, which could reach New Brunswick’s Irving Oil Ltd. refinery and port of Saint John.

TransCanada said it is confident in gaining such support, and will then file for regulatory review with the goal to begin shipments by late 2017.

“We’re committed,” said Jeff Matthews, Irving Oil’s director of business development. The proposed pipeline “increases our ability to compete in a tough industry by allowing our refinery access to a crude supply region in Western Canada that has not been accessible in the past,” he said.

The west-to-east project – unveiled just a year ago – is gaining considerable momentum at a time when other pipeline projects such as TransCanada’s Keystone XL and Enbridge Inc.’s Northern Gateway face uncertainty amid political friction and environmental concerns.

Energy East is expected to largely handle light oil, along with some heavy crude from the oil sands. As a result, projects such as the Keystone XL and Northern Gateway pipelines will still be needed to bring Alberta’s vast oil sands reserves to market.

The proposed Energy East Pipeline would carry as much as 850,000 barrels a day of western crude to eastern markets, with an option of either stopping in Quebec or extending it to Saint John. At its maximum, it would be 4,400 kilometres long, including the conversion of TransCanada’s underutilized natural gas line to a point near the Ontario-Quebec border, and new construction from there to Saint John.

The Saint John facility is Canada’s largest and most complex refinery. Mr. Matthews said oil producers are also interested in accessing Irving’s Canaport marine terminal for export.

With support from a wide range of politicians, Energy East now faces the acid test of commercial viability as producers weigh competing projects and the appeal of various markets.

While Alberta producers have been keen to reach the huge refining hub on the U.S. Gulf Coast, or access fast-growing markets through Asia, the Eastern Canadian market appears to be their most problem-free alternative, at least in the short term. But there is limited capacity to process oil sands bitumen at refineries in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada.

Keystone XL, which would carry bitumen to the Texas Gulf Coast, has encountered lengthy delays from the Obama administration in the face of fierce criticism from environmentalists. The company says it remains confident of eventual approval, but the political risk remains high.

At the same time, Northern Gateway – which aims to transport oil sands crude to Kitimat, B.C., for export to Asia – has run into a wall of opposition from First Nations, the environmental community and the B.C. New Democrats, who may well win government in the upcoming provincial election.

The eastern pipeline proposal has won broad endorsement from the federal government, the New Democratic Party opposition, and New Brunswick Premier David Alward. Quebec Premier Pauline Marois has been consulted on the project and has given support in principle.

IHS Inc. analyst Jackie Forrest said the industry would face 1-million barrels per day of pipeline over-capacity if all the proposed projects were completed on schedule in the 2015 to 2018 time period.

“However, producers are looking for market options – so it is possible we would see a future scenario with excess pipeline capacity,” Ms. Forrest said. “And since we expect oil sands to grow beyond 2020, this extra capacity would be needed in the early part of the next decade.”


Expansion of Anadarko’s Natural Gas Plant – Eagle Ford Shale


MATCOR has learned that Anadarko is close to completing its new $100 million natural gas processing plant in Texas.

The Cathodically Protected Brasada plant will process natural gas produced from the company’s Eagle Ford shale wells.  Components like methane, ethane, propane and butane will be separated before they they are transported through the cathodically protected pipeline for further processing.

Anadarko’s plant is designed to process 200 million cubic feet of gas per day but can expand to process up to 400 MMcf/d.  This could lead to capacity expansion if Anadarko undertakes processing of third party gas at some point.

Although the Eagle Ford Shale region has a lot of potential for company’s such as MATCOR it cannot be optmized until the supporting midstream infrastructure comprising of gathering systems, pipeline and processing plants are developed to move oil and gas to to market.

Anadarko’s Eagle Ford Operations

Anadarko explores for shale oil and gas in a gross area of 400,000 acres in the Dimmit, LaSalle, Maverick and Webb Counties in the Eagle Ford region. Its current resources are estimated at over 600 million barrels of oil equivalent (MMBOE), 65% of which is estimated to be liquids. In 2012, the company achieved a gross processed production record of approximately 152,600 BOE per day. With its higher-margin oil and natural gas/condensate, the Eagle Ford shale region is among the most capital-efficient shale plays in Anadarko’s U.S. onshore portfolio.

Anadarko currently operates approximately 380 miles of oil and natural gas pipelines throughout the southwest Texas region, with additional gathering facilities that support more than 50% of its Eagle Ford shale production. In March 2012, Anadarko and Western Gas Partners began construction of the Brasada gas processing plant. The Brasada plant and the construction of an additional 200 miles of gathering lines will enhance the value of Anadarko’s Eagle Ford assets.

The Brasada Plant

All of Anadarko’s Eagle Ford acreage is located to the west of the Brasada plant, and a pipeline network will bring natural gas into the facility as well as move it off site to market. The pipeline will enable the company to eliminate its dependence on trucks. This will speed up transportation of its gas as there are too many trucks on the road in the region which causes a slowdown in the overall movement.

The Brasada plant also will also reduce flaring of methane in the field because Anadarko will be able to move it directly to market through pipelines. Flaring of methane is a common industry practice in cases where transportation is not viable.

From the plant, natural gas liquids will travel further through a pipeline to a plant in Yoakum and to fractionation facilities in Mont Belvieu, east of Houston. Gas also will go south to Corpus Christi, where it can be used in refining or fed into the existing network of interstate pipelines