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Rest of Rover Mainline B Gets FERC OK, but Laterals Still on Hold

Partially granting urgent requests submitted by Rover Pipeline LLC over the past week, FERC on Thursday authorized full service on the 3.25 Bcf/d, 713-mile project’s Mainline B, along with its Supply Connector B.

The order paves the way for higher throughput on the highly anticipated Appalachian takeaway expansion, although Federal Energy Regulatory Commission staff said Thursday that they are still evaluating authorizations for a pair of completed supply laterals.

Thursday’s order covers “the remaining sections of Mainline B between Compressor Station 1 and Compressor Station 2 and from Compressor Station 3 to the Defiance Compressor Station,” FERC’s Rich McGuire, director for the Division of Gas, Environment and Engineering, wrote.

In filings Wednesday and last week, Rover Pipeline LLC had urged FERC to issue in-service authorizations for several remaining sections of the project by Thursday, including for the Burgettstown and Majorsville laterals, along with the Supply Connector B and the rest of Mainline B.

Genscape Inc. analyst Colette Breshears told clients Thursday that the facilities identified in Rover’s recent requests would add 0.85 Bcf/d of incremental capacity to raise the project’s overall throughput capacity to 2.85 Bcf/d.

“Genscape’s infrastructure team has noted that the new facilities and contracts should increase Rover system flows above the recent average of 1.6 Bcf/d, though they do not anticipate the entirety of the system’s capacity to be fully utilized immediately,” Breshears said.

As of Thursday, Rover was flowing just over 1.6 Bcf/d from eastern Ohio to interconnects with the ANR and Panhandle Eastern pipelines in Defiance, OH, according to NGI’s daily Rover Tracker.

In an earlier note, Breshears said “continued earth movement/slips along the Burgettstown, Majorsville, Sherwood and TCO laterals may impact FERC’s approval of those lines, which will impact the addition of supply paths to Rover,” according to Breshears.

Earlier this year, FERC took issue with Rover’s failure to complete restoration work on time at its Mainline compressor stations 1 and 2.

McGuire said the latest authorizations were based on “ongoing inspections, reports by the Commission’s third-party compliance monitors, my staff’s determination that rehabilitation and restoration of the affected areas are generally proceeding satisfactorily and Rover’s commitment to promptly finalize restoration of these facilities.

“At this time, final restoration is over 90% complete on both the Supply Connector B and Mainline B and Rover estimates that full restoration will be complete by July 24.”

Management for Rover sponsor Energy Transfer Partners LP had said during a first quarter earnings call that it planned to bring the remainder of the project into service by Friday (June 1).

Rover, designed to transport Marcellus and Utica shale gas east-to-west to reach markets in the Midwest, Gulf Coast and Canada, headlines a slew of Northeast pipeline expansions expected to come online over the next few years. Anticipated supply growth from producers drilling to fulfill commitments on these expansions has been cited by analysts as a factor in recent long-term bearish forecasts for natural gas prices.

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