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Briefs -- Elizabethtown Gas, MarkWest Energy, Western Energy Alliance, Alta Mesa

Elizabethtown Gas, a unit of AGL Resources, is seeking approval from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to spend more than $1.1 billion over a 10-year period to replace 630 miles of aging pipeline. The proposed Safety, Modernization and Reliability Tariff aims to remove all aging cast iron and steel pipelines by 2027. The program includes eliminating 630 miles of vintage cast iron, steel and copper service lines, and 240 regulator stations associated with the low-pressure distribution system. Excess flow valves would be installed on all new service lines, and natural gas meters would be moved to the outside of homes and businesses. Since 2004, Elizabethtown Gas has spent $550 million to replace more than 200 miles of aging infrastructure, mostly cast iron and bare steel pipeline. The utility serves about 281,000 residential, business and industrial gas customers in New Jersey. New Jersey regulators recently approved a scaled-back pipe replacement program for Public Service Electric and Gas Co. (see Daily GPISept. 16).  

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has fined MarkWest Energy Partners LP subsidiary MarkWest Liberty Midstream & Resources LLC more than $76,000 for water pollution violations that stemmed from its pipelines in multiple counties. MarkWest is one of the Appalachian Basin's largest natural gas processors and fractionators. The company signed a 75-page consent order to pay the fine and correct the violations on Sept. 2. The consent order references a variety of infractions that led to water pollution on five pipeline projects related to the company's processing facilities. They occurred in Ohio, Marshall, Doddridge and Wetzel counties between May 2013 and April 2015.

Denver-based Western Energy Alliance (WEA) is challenging energy industry critics to live a week without fossil fuels, Sept. 28 to Oct. 2. WEA said its weeklong challenge is aimed at critics of the industry who advocate policies that would essentially eliminate fossil fuel consumption to protect the U.S. environment. During the Fossil Fuel Free week, individuals are challenged to try to live without the benefits of fossil fuels. WEA is reacting to what it says is over-regulation by the Obama administration and anti-energy positions of environmental activists. For information, visit www.fffchallenge.com.

Alta Mesa Holdings LP is selling Eagle Ford Shale-focused Alta Mesa Eagle LLC to EnerVest Ltd. and affiliates for $125 million. Closing is expected to by the end of September with an effective date of July 1. As of the effective date, the reserves being sold were 7.8 million boe, with 31% classified as proved developed. The properties, primarily located in Karnes County, TX, are non-operated and consist of all of the remaining interests that Alta Mesa has in the area. In a separate transaction, Alta Mesa's Oklahoma Energy Acquisitions LLC (OEA) agreed with EnerVest Ltd. affiliates for OEA to have an option to purchase 1,700 net acres in Kingfisher County, OK, in the Sooner Trend Anadarko Canadian and Kingfisher (Stack) play by Dec. 31.

Dominion's proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, the application for which was recently filed at FERC (see Daily GPISept. 18), would bring bad karma to Yogaville in Buckingham, VA, according to a filing at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission by Swami Dayananda, director of Yogaville Environmental Solutions [PF15-6]. "Yogaville was placed specifically in this beautiful, peaceful rural area of Buckingham because it offered clean air, clean water and a setting conducive to meditation and other holistic health practices," the swami said. "Both the pipeline itself, as well as its compressor station, would negatively impact the ability for Yogaville to serve as a spiritual retreat center." The filing is but one of dozens in the Atlantic Coast and other pipeline project dockets pending at the Commission.

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