Tag Archives: PA

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

PVR’s Wyoming Pipeline Comes Online

PVR Partners, L.P. ( PVR ) announced the completion of construction activities of its latest natural gas trunk line in the north-central province of Pennsylvania. The midstream project, Wyoming Pipeline, also came online commercially. The pipeline system was initially constructed by Chief Gathering LLC until it got acquired by PVR Partners in May 2012.

The pipeline is 30 miles in length and spans across the northern Wyoming County southward to connect with the Transco interstate pipeline system in Luzerne County. The 750 million cubic feet per day (“MMcfd”) capacity system will provide midstream services to the producers operationally active in the Marcellus Shale play. The program was bankrolled by funds that were added in the financing agreement during the purchase of Chief Gathering.

Presently, the partnership has secured contracts for reliable and efficient services on the Wyoming Pipeline from five independent producers and expects more agreements to come on the table. These agreements are wholly fee based and are insulated from any direct commodity price risks. For 2012, the initial firm transportation volume contracted by the producers totaled 255 MMcfd.

We believe the acquisition of Chief Gathering LLC is a strategic fit and will be a profitable addition to the partnership’s asset portfolio. The timely execution of this cost-effective project will enable the partnership to carry out its high-quality programs in the Marcellus play smoothly and also contribute positively to its future business plans in the region.

The partnership faced constraints in supplying volumes from its Susquehanna/Wyoming gathering facility to the Tennessee Gas Pipeline 300 Line which impacted PVR Partners’ operations. However, the partnership expects the Wyoming Pipeline-Transco Pipeline connectivity will lead to increase in volumes on the Susquehanna/Wyoming gathering facility by more than 20%.

The ongoing developments at the Susquehanna/Wyoming gathering unit will enable supply volumes to Wyoming Pipeline to further expand with the linking of additional wells thereby increasing productivity.

Although natural gas prices are currently on a downhill, we anticipate with rising demand for electricity in the U.S., gas prices will improve steadily, which could add to the partnership’s near term top-line. Nonetheless, unexpected infrastructure outages and pipeline accidents are risks that could pose serious challenges to the partnership’s operations.

We remind investors that the partnership had divested its Crossroads natural gas gathering system and processing plant for roughly $63 million to DCP Midstream Partners, LP ( DPM ), in mid-June 2012, to focus on the development of its core midstream business in the Marcellus shale and Texas plays.

The Zacks Consensus Estimates for the third quarter and full year 2012 for PVR Partners are pegged at 9 cents per unit and 54 cents per unit, respectively. One of its competitors is Missouri-based Arch Coal Inc. ( ACI ).

The partnership owns and operates a string of natural gas midstream pipeline systems and processing plants and is also involved in the management of coal as well as natural gas properties. PVR Partners’ current market capitalization stands at $2.21 billion.

SOURCE: http://community.nasdaq.com/News/2012-10/pvrs-wyoming-pipeline-comes-online-analyst-blog.aspx?storyid=178825#ixzz28XP80bvO

Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission plans to expand oversight rules on natural gas pipelines

State regulators are moving toward stricter oversight of natural gas pipelines, though officials say that effort began before the Allentown explosion that killed five people one year yesterday.

“We’ve been really taking a close look, partly because of some of the tragic incidents, but also because of the expansion of Marcellus Shale in the state,” said Jennifer Kocher, spokeswoman for thePennsylvania Public Utility Commission.

The PUC is currently accepting public comment on a proposal that would require natural gas utilities to annually submit pipeline replacement and performance plans.

If the new rules — proposed on Nov. 10 — take effect, utilities with intrastate operating revenues of more than $40 million would have to file plans this spring or summer with final approval scheduled for late 2012 or early 2013.

The plans basically require utilities to submit replacement time frames for aging pipes as well as updates on damage prevention and corrosion control efforts.

The PUC said it is also enhancing “frost patrol” reviews — winter surveys that gas utilities conduct to assess how safely pipes can endure freezing temperatures — to demand more frequent and detailed updates.

The state said it regularly reviews safety protocols, though it acknowledged the Feb. 9, 2011, explosion added urgency.

The explosion, which leveled an entire block of homes on North 13th Street, is believed to have resulted from a break in a UGI Utilities natural gas main.

The PUC said a surge in natural gas drilling relating to Marcellus Shale as well as a need to bring state standards in better compliance with evolving federal regulations influenced the changes.

Reading-based UGI said it supports the state revisions. The company said it began upgrading procedures before the blast, though it admitted making further improvements, such as conducting more comprehensive leak surveys, after the explosion.

That coincides with the company’s accelerated timeframe for replacing cast-iron pipe with high-density plastic or coated steel, UGI spokesman Joseph Swope said. 

“We have been aggressive,” Swope said. “We have accelerated those plans.”

Other nearby utilities said the explosion prompted a review of safety protocols, though none said they changed policy directly because of the Allentown blast.

PECO Gas spokesman Ben Armstrong said the company, which serves Bucks, Montgomery, and other counties, spends about $80 million a year to maintain its natural gas system.

Armstrong said PECO conducts walking surveys on all transmission pipelines every two months, leak inspections every six months, and annual inspection of valves, among other reviews.

“None of the procedures were revised directly because to the incidents in Allentown or Philadelphia,” Armstrong said, referring to another explosion last year that killed a Philadelphia Gas Works employee. “We have a vigorous maintenance and inspection system in place.”

Elizabethtown Gas, a subsidiary of AGL Resources serving Warren and Hunterdon counties, said system upgrades are ongoing irrespective of the blast.

Spokesman Duane Bourne said Elizabethtown is completing a $108 million improvement plan approved by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities that would replace 70 miles of aging cast-iron pipe across its New Jersey service area. Work began in 2009.

SOURCE: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/breaking-news/index.ssf/2012/02/pennsylvania_public_utility_co.html

NJ Residents raise questions about Tennessee Gas installing a new, 30-inch gas pipeline over 128 miles

Concerns over the well being of miles of hiking trails in High Point State Park slated to be traversed by the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co.’s natural gas pipeline expansion project competed with worries over explosions and mudslides from residents at last week’s public hearing in Montague.

Tennessee Gas is installing a new, 30-inch gas pipeline over 128 miles in seven looping segments in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The public hearing held Wednesday was regarding permits to begin the five-mile section of the project that will traverse High Point State Park.

Vernon residents passed out photos detailing recent damage from rainstorms and mudslides that hit the municipality and washed sediment from pipeline work into residential neighborhoods.

Vernon Mayor Victor Marotta said Tennessee Gas crews were quick to respond and fix the muddy mess.

However, the quick response to the Vernon issue did little to quell concerns from hiking trail advocates, who fear such land disturbance will be a death-knell for the park’s premier pathways.

Chris Ingry, from the New York/New Jersey Trail Conference, raised concerns over the closing of federally protected trails such as the Appalachian Trail for the pipeline construction, and the long-lasting effect the expansion project will have on trails.

“I know (Tennessee Gas) is going to make a lot of money off of this project, and we know there is going to be a lot of damage to the trails,” Ingry said. “There are people who can fix the damage, but we are going to need money. People don’t go to our state parks to see scars like this.”

Judeth Yeany, the chief lawyer for the state Department of Environmental Protection’s Legal Services and Stewardship Division, said the state will get between $7 million and $8 million for the lease of more than 30 acres in three state parks affected by the pipeline project. This revenue will be funneled into the general budget of the state park system’s operational accounts, Yeany said.

“We don’t need the High Point State Park to generate revenue that will just be sent to Trenton,” resident James Guimes said.

The proposed lease agreement will require Tennessee Gas to purchase 120 acres that will be added to state Green Acres rolls as a replacement for the land taken from the state parks. However, the additional acres are not required to be adjacent to High Point State Park.

Mike Helbing, from the Metro Trails Crew division of New York/New Jersey Trail Conference, said the list of trails identified by the Tennessee Gas report left out a number of pristine hiking paths, including the Highlands Trail, that are under federal protection through the National Trail System Act.

“There are sections of these trails that have incredible pieces of archeological history,” Helbing said. “Why are these trails conveniently left off the list?”

Dan Gredvig, the manager for the Right of Way and Permitting division of El Paso Corp., the parent company of Tennessee Gas, said the initial list of trails is a “work in progress,” and the input from the speakers at the meeting will be reviewed by the company.

“What do the trails have to gain from this project?” Helbing said. “Is the company going to offer grant money to repair the damage?”

The phase of the pipeline project that will run through High Point State Park will clear trees from a five-mile long, 125- foot wide swath of land. Michael Cee, of Vernon, asked what the company will do with the tons of lumber that will be generated by the clear-cutting.

“There are two possibilities for the use of the lumber,” Gredvig said. “Most of the lumber will be appraised at market value, and the state will receive compensation for it. Also, some of the trees will be chipped and hauled off the site so it will not impede on the work space for our crews.”

Gredvig told Cee that the possibility of cutting the lumber and making it available for residents as firewood would impact the work space of pipeline crews and would not be feasible.

Sandyston resident Debbie Brick raised safety concerns of a possible explosion of the pipeline.

“Has your company ever had any pipeline explosions in the past?” Brick said.

Gredvig said Tennessee Gas has had incidents where portions of the company’s pipelines, which run from the oil fields near Houston up into New Jersey, experience leaks and explosions.

“To answer the question, yes,” Gredvig said. “We monitor and maintain all of our pipelines 24 hours a day. We are trying to use all of the safety methods and requirements specified by the federal regulations to ensure the pipeline is operating as best as it can.”

Beverly Budz, vice chairman of the Vernon Township Environmental Commission, raised concerns over the impact the pipeline work will have on the state park as well as current issues rising out of the ongoing pipeline work that is cutting through Vernon.

“I have walked the pipeline work sites that were only supposed to use a minimum of 30 feet to install the pipe, but I measured 200 feet at parts,” Budz said. “They use the word minimal a lot. But we are talking about the loss of trees and damage to our wetlands. How do you put a price on this?”

Budz passed out recent photos of the mudslide that washed sediment from the pipeline work site onto residential roadways in condominium developments at the Great Gorge Resort in Vernon during recent heavy rain storms.

Marotta said the mudslide did not affect any municipal roads and was confined to the resort area. He said crews from the Tennessee Gas immediately responded to the incident and were able to clear the debris from the roads once the storms relented.

“We were hit with an absolute downpour and I think (Tennessee Gas work crews) got caught in a situation,” Marotta said. “It happened and it was repaired. From what I have seen, the people working on the pipeline are doing a professional job. They take every precaution to ensure safety. I have spoken to many of the local merchants who are very happy to have the crews in Vernon. The guys working on the pipeline spend a lot of money here.”

According to a Rutgers University study on the economic impact of the pipeline expansion project, the construction of the pipeline will bring 695 jobs into New Jersey for the three years the project is expected to run. The state will see an additional $63 million in revenue through increased retail sales and tax revenues the project brings with it.

SOURCE: http://www.njherald.com/story/news/081911Pipeline-web