Phillips 66 has begun operations at its new 100,000 b/d natural gas liquids fractionator at the company's Sweeny Complex in Old Ocean, TX. Sweeny Fractionator One supplies purity ethane and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to the petrochemical industry and heating markets. It is supported by 250 miles of new pipelines and a multi-million bbl storage cavern complex. More capacity to provide LPG is to be added in the future, the company said. LPG produced at Sweeny Fractionator One is being delivered via pipeline to local petrochemical customers as well as to the market hub at Mont Belvieu, TX. Phillips 66 will have the capability to place the LPG into global markets upon completion of its 150,000 b/d Freeport LPG Export Terminal in the second half of 2016 (see Daily GPI, Nov. 5, 2013).
Buckeye Texas Partners LLC's 50,000 b/d condensate splitter facility has entered commercial service under a long-term take-or-pay tolling agreement. It is part of the first phase of an expansion at the South Texas facilities. A liquid petroleum gas (LPG) refrigerated storage facility was recently completed as well. In addition to the splitter capabilities, the facilities will offer five marine docks, more than 6 million bbl of petroleum storage capacity with rail and truck loading/unloading capability and three field gathering facilities with pipeline connectivity to the condensate splitters and docks. All aspects of this expansion are fully contracted under long-term agreements with Trafigura Trading LLC, Buckeye said (see Shale Daily, Sept. 3, 2014). "The completion of these splitting units further bolsters our South Texas assets as a leading export hub on the Gulf Coast, with the ability to aggregate, store, process and distribute many different petroleum products," said Buckeye CEO Clark Smith.
An opponent of Denver-based Inflection Energy LLC's plans to drill for natural gas in Lycoming County, PA, has lost her court battle to stop development, failing to post a nearly $6 million bond that a common pleas court judge had ordered for the case to advance. Laura Capel, a resident living near a proposed Inflection site, had filed an appeal with the court challenging a conditional use permit issued by Loyalsock Township to drill in a residential-agricultural zone. Like other drilling opponents across the state, Capel had argued that residential-agricultural districts are not suitable for industrial operations, although they blanket much of the state. The common pleas court last month ordered Capel to pay a $5.69 million bond, saying her appeal was frivolous (see Shale Daily, Nov. 20). Capel and her attorney did not pay the bond by last week's deadline. The outcome was another victory for Inflection, which recently faced a similar challenge in nearby Fairfield Township. A state appellate court upheld the company's conditional use permit for a residential-agricultural district in that case and overturned a lower court's ruling against it (see Shale Daily, Sept. 15).
An investigation by the Railroad Commission of Texas found no safety violations related to a June explosion and fire along a 42-inch section of Energy Transfer Partners LP's Rich Eagle Ford Mainline (REM) in DeWitt County, TX, about 86 miles southeast of San Antonio (see Daily GPI, June 15). "The metallurgical lab investigation concluded that the pipeline rupture on the REM 42-inch pipeline system was due to a bending overload that placed the bottom of the pipeline in tension, causing a fracture to initiate and propagate along the weld from the bottom to the top," the investigation report said. According to the report, about 134 MMcf of natural gas was released during the incident. Property damage (operator and private property) was estimated at about $500,000.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has denied a request for rehearing of its approval of non-free trade agreement (FTA) exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) by Freeport LNG Expansion LP (FLEX) and affiliates [11-161-LNG]. The Sierra Club had sought rehearing of DOE's Order 3357-B, which granted FLEX 0.4 Bcf/d of additional export authority to non-FTA countries from its Texas terminal, now under construction (see Daily GPI, Nov. 14, 2014). Among other things, Sierra Club had argued that the indirect and cumulative environmental impacts of LNG exports were not properly analyzed by DOE under the National Environmental Policy Act.
A list of 13 candidates has been narrowed to two in the running to develop a project to deliver liquefied natural gas to Interior Alaska (see Daily GPI, Oct. 14), the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority said. Proposals by Salix Inc.(Avista Corp.) and Spectrum LNG LLCare the finalists. A final decision is expected early next year. The Salix proposal does not include transport but can accommodate either rail or truck transport from Cook Inlet. Spectrum provided two alternatives to source gas, North Slope and Cook Inlet, but did not provide for transportation, leaving it to the utilities that would be receiving the gas. Trucking is possible from both locations and rail is possible from Cook Inlet.
A former landman who worked for ExxonMobil Corp.'s XTO Energy Inc. office in Fort Worth, TX, has been sentenced to 63 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $1 million in restitution for committing oil and gas mail fraud. Steven E. Fisackerly, 33, of Spring, TX, pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud, according to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. Fisackerly worked for XTO from September 2008 to March 2012. He admitted that beginning in January 2009 and ending about January 2011, he "devised and ran a scheme to defraud XTO" by altering agreements for land in Harrison County, WV, federal prosecutors said. Fisackerly used a fraudulent company to route nine checks that XTO issued for bogus transactions that together totaled more than $1 million. District Judge Terry Means ordered Fisackerly to report to prison on Jan. 4. An XTO spokeswoman said the company had "cooperated fully" in the investigation.