FERC on Friday authorized Rover Pipeline LLC to resume horizontal directional drilling (HDD) at two additional locations where work had been stopped following an April drilling fluids spill near the Tuscarawas River in Ohio.
In a letter Friday, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission staff said Rover has "developed and filed specific measures to address the recommendations" provided by J.D. Hair & Associates, the engineering firm brought in to review the Tuscarawas incident.
Based on a review of site-specific plans, FERC said Rover may resume HDDs at the Black Fork Mohican and Highway 42 crossings.
Momentum continues to build for the 713-mile, 3.25 Bcf/d Rover, which has seen its share of regulatory setbacks since beginning construction earlier this year. After issuing a moratorium in May that halted all new HDDs for the pipeline, FERC has reauthorized 15 since mid-September.
In May, FERC ordered a stop to work at all HDDs along Rover's Market, Supply Connector B and Mainline B segments, as well as the Clarington, Sherwood and Majorsville laterals.
Friday's order is welcome news for Appalachian producers looking to get more gas to market via Rover, which has been flowing over 1 Bcf/d after starting up over Labor Day weekend. Rover was able to up its current capacity after receiving authorization earlier this month to begin partial service at the Compressor Station 1 in Carroll County, OH.
Rover, scheduled to come online in phases until the end of 1Q2018, is designed to deliver Marcellus and Utica shale gas to markets in the Midwest, Gulf Coast and Canada.
Sponsor Energy Transfer Partners LP continues to work with FERC and J.D. Hair to secure approval for the remaining HDDs, according to spokeswoman Alexis Daniel. Daniel said Rover remains on track to complete Phase 1B, a section extending from Marion Township in Noble County, OH, to Cadiz Township in Harrison County, OH, by the end of the year. The full project, which would eventually interconnect with the Vector Pipeline in Michigan, is still expected to be online by the end of March, she said.
FERC on Friday said Rover still has to comply with several plans developed following the Tuscarawas incident, including to restore wetlands impacted by the spill. FERC's Office of Enforcement is also continuing to investigate the presence of diesel fuel in the drilling mud at the Tuscarawas site.