FERC has started to prepare its environmental impact statement (EIS) for Energy Transfer Partners LP's (ETP) Rover Pipeline by gathering input from the public and other interested stakeholders in a series of public meetings in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania, where the project will be built.
Known as the scoping process, 10 public meetings have been set through Dec. 11 that will help the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission prepare its EIS for the project. ETP announced the 800-mile pipeline in June to deliver Marcellus and Utica shale natural gas to markets in the Midwest, Great Lakes and Gulf Coast (see Shale Daily,June 26). Last month, shippers filled the line's 3.25 Bcf/d capacity with binding commitments for 15-20 year contracts (see Shale Daily,Oct. 31).
ETP made its pre-filing application in June, but its formal application for the pipeline isn't expected until January. The National Environmental Policy Act requires FERC to conduct the EIS, which includes public hearings to address any concerns. In its hearing notice, FERC said the line will use 24- to 42- inch diameter pipe and require 10 new compressor stations to be built in all three states.
When it announced the project, ETP said it is expected to cost $3.8-4.4 billion and deliver gas from processing plants and interconnections in northwestern West Virginia, western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio to the Midwest Hub near Defiance, OH, as well as to multiple delivery points in Michigan and to those near Sarnia, ON. It would also connect to ETP's Panhandle Eastern Pipe Line, allowing shippers access to Gulf Coast markets.
FERC estimates that construction and project facilities will disturb about 12,147 acres of land in those areas. The public comment period ends on Dec. 18. Eclipse Resources Corp., Antero Resources Corp., Range Resources Corp. and American Energy-Utica LLC have all signed up to ship on the pipeline.
In unrelated news, another recently announced project to serve producers in the Appalachian Basin -- the Mountain Valley Pipeline, a project of EQT Corp. and NextEra Energy Inc. -- has started similar hearings.
According to local news media reports, nearly 300 people turned out at a high school auditorium in Pearisburg, VA, to hear from company officials about the project. That meeting was reportedly charged at times, with one attendee asking how the company representatives could sleep at night. The 300-mile pipeline would connect Marcellus and Utica shale gas to markets in the Southeast, with its primary delivery point at Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Co.'s Zone 5 compressor station 165 in Pittsylvania County, VA.
The meeting, according to reports, focused mainly on the pipeline's environmental impact, property values and safety, among other things.
Mountain Valley is expected to provide 2 Bcf/d of capacity and be in service by late 2018. The Rover's service from Appalachian supply regions to the Midwest and Gulf Coast markets is expected to begin in late 2016, while service to other markets, including Michigan, would begin by mid-2017.