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Briefs -- Cheniere Midstream Holdings Inc. | Comanche Trail Pipeline LLC | Federal Energy Regulatory Commission | PA Royalty Legislation | Azure Midstream Partners | Clean Energy Future

FERC staff will prepare an environmental impact statement for Cheniere Midstream Holdings Inc.'s proposed Midcontinent Supply Header Interstate Pipeline (MIDSHIP) project and is seeking public comment on the project [PF17-3]. It would carry 1.4 Bcf/d of natural gas to connect production out of the Anadarko Basin -- namely the STACK (Sooner Trend of the Anadarko Basin, mostly in Canadian and Kingfisher counties) and SCOOP (South Central Oklahoma Oil Province) -- to markets in the Gulf Coast. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will accept public comment through Feb. 27 and has scheduled public scoping sessions in Durant, OK, Feb. 13; Ardmore, OK, Feb. 14; Elmore City, OK, Feb. 15; and El Reno, OK, Feb. 16. Cheniere pre-filed MIDSHIP with FERC in October.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has approved a request from Comanche Trail Pipeline LLC to commence service of its San Elizario Crossing project in El Paso County, TX [CP15-503]. FERC granted a request for a presidential permit and authorization to site, construct and operate the 1.1 Bcf/d project, which would export natural gas to Mexico via the proposed intrastate Comanche Trail Pipeline, in May 2016. Plans for the project included construction of a 42-inch diameter pipeline, measuring about 1,086 feet in length, under the Rio Grande near the City of San Elizario, TX. The pipeline would have a maximum design export capacity of approximately 1.1 Bcf/d, and would transport natural gas to a new delivery interconnection near the City of San Isidro, in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. The principal use of the proposed border-crossing pipeline would be to transport exported domestic natural gas for use as fuel in electric generation plants and industrial facilities in Mexico, according to Comanche Trail.

Visitors from five states wishing to enter Federal Energy Regulatory Commission headquarters in Washington, DC, won't be able to use their driver's licenses to access the building and other FERC facilities, effective immediately, the agency said Monday. Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana and Washington are noncompliant with the Real ID Act, passed by Congress in 2005, which "set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver's licenses," FERC said. Visitors to FERC can still use other Real ID Act-compliant forms of identification, including U.S. passports, U.S. passport cards, DHS trusted traveler cards, U.S. military IDs, and permanent resident cards. 

The Pennsylvania Senate energy committee has reported out two bills that would better protect oil and natural gas royalty interest owners. SB 138 would allow landowners to inspect the records of gas companies to verify proper payments, and SB 139 would prohibit a gas company from "retaliating" in response to landowner questions about the accuracy of those payments. The bills will now be heard by the full Senate. Similar versions failed last year after they stalled in the state House of Representatives. Pennsylvania lawmakers have tried but failed for years to pass legislation that would better protect landowners, who have, among other things, raised concerns about post-production costs being deducted from their royalties.

Dallas-based Azure Midstream Partners LP, affiliates and certain subsidiaries filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas. The company said it anticipates filing a motion to approve procedures for a sale of all or substantially all of its assets, as well as a Chapter 11 plan and accompanying statement shortly. The company said it has reached an agreement on the process with lenders. Day-to-day operations are expected to continue until a sale. The company has assets in Louisiana and Texas, including in the Haynesville Shale and Cotton Valley. "...Chapter 11 reorganization is the only solution that maximizes going concern value for all stakeholders," said CEO Chip Berthelot. "We will continue to operate the company and proceed through this process in a way that best preserves asset value for everyone with an interest." These bankruptcy filings do not involve Azure's parent company, Azure Midstream Energy.

Boston-based Clean Energy Future LLC, an independent power producer developing multiple natural gas-fired power plants in Ohio, is spearheading a new campaign to thwart regulated utilities’ efforts to restructure power markets. Clean Energy launched a website to raise awareness. American Electric Power Co. (AEP) and FirstEnergy Corp. have voiced their dissatisfaction with the competitive generation market in the state; both recently sold competitive generation assets in the region. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission blocked power purchase agreements approved by Ohio regulators that would have guaranteed cost recovery for power produced by both companies at uneconomic coal and nuclear plants in the state. Clean Energy's campaign comes at a time when private developers are stepping up to build dozens of gas-fired power plants in the Appalachian Basin. 

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