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Rover Seeking Aug. 31 Start-Up on Phase 1A, Files for FERC OK

Energy Transfer Partners LP's (ETP) Rover Pipeline LLC asked FERC on Friday for authorization to begin service by Aug. 31 on Phase 1A.

In a filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Rover said it expects to wrap up work over the next few days on a series of additional requirements following a spill in April of roughly two million gallons of horizontal directional drilling (HDD) fluids near Ohio’s Tuscarawas River [CP15-93].

Rover asked to place the Cadiz Lateral, Supply Connector Line A and Mainline A into service, along with four meter stations. In the same filing, ETP's Panhandle Eastern Pipe Line Co. LP asked to place its interconnect with Rover into service.

"Panhandle and Rover respectfully request that the authorization to place the Panhandle-Rover Interconnect and the Phase 1A facilities in service be granted prior to Aug. 28 so that the applicants may make these facilities available to shippers on or before Aug. 31," the companies wrote. "This requested in-service schedule is necessary in order to permit Rover’s shippers to make the requisite contractual and operational arrangements to flow natural gas on the Rover Pipeline system for the month of September 2017."

Panhandle and Trunkline Gas Co. LLC a few days ago asked FERC for authorization to start up their respective Rover-related backhaul projects.

Phase 1A originally was scheduled to be online in July, but ETP/Rover had to push start-up to late summer because of regulatory complications interfering with an already tight schedule. Phase 1B was also originally supposed to start up in July but was held up by FERC's moratorium on HDD activities for the project, in place since May.

Earlier this summer, FERC said it wouldn't issue in-service authorization for Rover until residual issues from the Tuscarawas HDD spill had been addressed. Fulfilling FERC’s requirements, Rover said it has:

  • Nearly finished moving drilling mud and drill cuttings from two Ohio quarries to a disposal site approved by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), expected to be completed by Aug. 23;

  • Removed material from the Tuscarawas spill site and is awaiting approval from the Ohio EPA;

  • Filed a wetland restoration plan for the Tuscarawas site, approved by Ohio EPA on Aug. 11; and

  • Submitted water quality monitoring plans to Ohio EPA, approved Aug. 11.

Rover also noted it has filed a response to the independent engineering review of the Tuscarawas HDD prepared by J.D. Hair & Associates Inc.

Designed to transport 3.25 Bcf/d of Marcellus and Utica shale natural gas from Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia to markets in the Midwest, Gulf Coast and Canada, the 710-mile, $4.2 billion Rover is expected to have a substantial impact on the market. As news of regulatory snags has altered the outlook for the project's timeline, the impact on basis differentials has been felt at key Appalachian hubs like Dominion South.

Analysts have estimated that Rover's Phase 1A would add about 211 MMcf/d of capacity out of the basin, with Phase 1B bumping up total capacity on the project to 1.35 Bcf/d.

ETP executives said during a recent 2Q2017 conference call that Rover expects to complete Phase 2, including the remainder of the project's full designed capacity, by late November or early December, a slight delay from its original November 2017 target.

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