The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which had been expected to vote through to the full Senate Colette D. Honorable's nomination to become a commissioner at theFederal Energy Regulatory Commission, was forced to delay the vote Wednesday morning when too few members to constitute a quorum attended a hearing. Honorable's nomination received bipartisan support during a hearing of the committee earlier in December, and members said they hoped to complete the process before the current congressional session ends (see Daily GPIDec. 4). But the committee fell two members short of a quorum and adjourned without voting on the nomination. Outgoing chairman Mary Landrieu (D-LA) said she still hoped to push Honorable's nomination through with an ad hoc, off the floor vote. It was the final scheduled committee meeting for Landrieu, who lost her reelection bid to Republican Bill Cassidy in a runoff Nov. 6 (see Daily GPI, Nov. 5).

Kinder Morgan Inc.'s (KMI) Kinder Morgan Texas Pipeline, Kinder Morgan Tejas Pipeline and Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. (TGP) have entered into 15-year firm transportation agreements and a multi-year storage agreement with Cheniere Energy Inc. through its subsidiary Corpus Christi Liquefaction LLC. KMI agreed to provide 550,000 Dth/d of firm natural gas transportation service, as well as 3 Bcf of storage capacity, to serve the liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility being developed near Corpus Christi, TX. The project is being designed and permitted for up to three trains, with aggregate design production capacity of 13.5 million metric tons/year of LNG. The natural gas transportation service can be increased to 800,000 Dth/d upon the completion of certain conditions in the Kinder Morgan Texas Pipeline agreement. KMI plans to expand its Texas intrastate pipeline system in South Texas to provide 250,000 Dth/d of firm transportation and 100% of the storage services, and expand its TGP Pipeline to provide 300,000 Dth/d of firm transportation from various Zone 1 receipt points near its Station 87 Pool in Portland, TN. The construction of the facilities necessary to support these services would be coordinated with the startup of the LNG export facility, which is expected in 2018-2019. KMI expects to invest $187 million for the project.

Venture Global LNG LLC said it will invest about $4.25 billion to construct its liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal proposed for the Calcasieu Ship Channel in Cameron Parish, LA. Construction is expected to begin at the 203-acre Venture Global site in the third quarter of 2016, and the terminal could enter service in late 2019. With a planned export capacity of 10 million metric tons when fully developed, the facility would accommodate oceangoing vessels with capacity of up to 185,000 cubic meters of LNG. Venture Global received free trade agreement export authorization from the U.S. Department of Energy in 2013 (see Daily GPIOct. 22, 2013).

EagleClaw Midstream Services LLC has acquired natural gas gathering and processing assets in Reeves County, TX, including more than 50 miles of gathering pipeline, a Joule-Thomson (JT) processing plant with capacity of 15 MMcf/d, a 60 MMcf/d cryogenic processing plant and seven 1,700 hp compressors. The assets form EagleClaw's East Toyah gathering and processing system, which serves producers targeting stacked pay zones in the liquids-rich Delaware Basin, including the Upper and Middle Wolfcamp, Bone Spring and Avalon Shale formations. The cryogenic processing plant is expected to enter service in the second half of 2015. The East Toyah site is large enough to accommodate multiple expansions of processing capacity. EagleClaw also recently commissioned its Northwest Toyah gathering and processing system. Also located in Reeves County and serving production from the Delaware Basin, the North Toyah system includes more than 30 miles of pipeline and a 15 MMcf/d refrigerated JT plant. EagleClaw's two anchor customers are Silverback Exploration LLC and Elevation Resources LLC.

The Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) staff has been directed to explore the potential need for increased emphasis on well inspections in highly populated urban areas throughout the state. "In current times, we are looking at a state in which drilling does not necessarily occur in less populated, rural areas, as it once did years ago," said RRC Chairman Christi Craddick said. "Because of both production and population growth across this state, our communities are more commonly touched by the development of oil and gas. We have heard the concerns expressed by those living in urban areas where drilling is occurring. Perhaps most notably, residents of Barnett Shale town Denton recently voted to ban hydraulic fracturing, a ban the RRC opposes (see Shale DailyDec. 5;Nov. 5). Texans living in the midst of shale drilling have also complained of earthquakes, thought to be related to drilling waste injection wells (see Shale DailyOct. 28June 18).

The Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) has adopted rule amendments designed to reduce natural gas rate case legal expenses that can be passed onto natural gas customers. Rule amendments do not change cities' original jurisdiction over gas rate cases within city limits, but they align the appellate process with rules already outlined in the Texas Administrative Code when a city and natural gas distribution utility company cannot reach an agreement on rates at the city level and therefore file an appeal at the RRC. The streamlining is intended to reduce rate case expenses that can be passed onto gas utility customers (see Daily GPISept. 26). The changes are slated to take effect Sept. 1.

Kinder Morgan Inc.'s (KMI) Texas intrastate pipelines business has struck a 20-year firm transportation services agreement with SK E&S LNG LLC, a unit of SK E&S Co. Ltd. KMI is to invest more than $150 million to provide more than 320,000 Dth/d of gas transportation services to support SK LNG's Train III liquefied natural gas (LNG) export capacity at Quintana Island, TX (see Daily GPISept. 10, 2013). This train is part of Freeport LNG Development's Freeport LNG export facility, which in total will liquefy up to 13.2 million tonnes per annum once fully operational (see Daily GPINov. 25). KMI will construct and operate about 40 miles of pipeline extending from the Kinder Morgan Tejas mainline to an interconnection with Freeport LNG's pipeline in Stratton Ridge, TX. KMI will also add compression on its existing Kinder Morgan Texas and Kinder Morgan Tejas pipeline systems to provide these services upon the startup of Train III, which is expected to occur in the third quarter of 2019. The agreement provides for the required expansion of the KMI intrastate system by more than 1 Bcf/d and will provide additional capacity to the Freeport and Chocolate Bayou areas in Texas, the company said.

Third Point LLC will provide development capital for Texas LNG Brownsville LLC's liquefied natural gas (LNG) export project planned for the Port of Brownsville shipping channel in Brownsville, TX, Texas LNG said. Third Point, a New York-based investment fund with approximately $17 billion in assets under management, will take an equity interest in the project and join the board of Texas LNG. "Third Point's investment in Texas LNG greatly derisks the project for all stakeholders, including feed gas suppliers, LNG offtakers, and future strategic investors," said Texas LNG CEO Vivek Chandra. Texas LNG and Samsung Engineering Co. Ltd. have initiated a 12-month front-end engineering and design phase of the project. The project has received free trade agreement export authorization from the U.S. Department of Energy (see Daily GPIJune 12).