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Briefs -- Dominion, Plains All American, Poland LNG, HRG Group and Indigo Minerals, PA Legislation, Trans-Pecos/Comanche Trail Pipelines

Lawmakers in Montgomery County, NY, have asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to prepare a full environmental impact statement for Dominion's New Market pipeline expansion project, instead of the less stringent environmental assessment (EA) that is due from FERC on Tuesday (Oct. 20). The legislature said it was concerned that the project would result in emissions from the Brookman Corners compression station in Minden, NY. It also asked for a comprehensive safety analysis and an independent analysis of air dispersion at the site. The project has been in FERC's hopper since June 2014, when Dominion first sought approval (see Daily GPIJune 3, 2014). It would provide 112,000 Dth/d of firm transportation service, with more than 33,000 hp added to Dominion Transmission's existing system and improve access for National Grid subsidiaries Niagara Mohawk and Brooklyn Union. Dominion originally asked for FERC approval by April 2015 to allow the project to begin service in November 2016. Assuming the EA is issued Oct. 20, the 90-day Federal Authorization Decision Deadline for the project would be Jan. 18, 2016, according to FERC. 

California Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday signed three new laws on oil pipeline preventive and contingency planning requirements spurred by the Plains All American Pipeline spill west of Santa Barbara that contaminated beaches along a 100-mile strip of Southern California's coast in May (see Shale DailyJune 30). Two of the bills (SB 414 and 295) were authored by Santa Barbara Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson to mandate more effective responses to oil spills and requirements for annual oil pipeline inspections by the state fire marshal, replacing the past practice of doing the inspections every two or more years. A third measure (AB 864) requires pipeline operators of infrastructure in waters or that could impact waters to have oil spill contingency plans submitted to the state and approved. Brown called the effects from this year's Santa Barbara spill "devastating" to birds, mammals and marine life, and to the local fishing and recreation economy. 

The Swinoujscie LNG receiving terminal in Poland on the Baltic Sea is nearing completion, with cool-down cargoes scheduled to be delivered from Qatargas during mid-December, according to terminal operator Polskie LNG. According to a report by Bloomberg, Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz during recent ceremonies at the terminal promised that the facility would make the country independent of natural gas supplies from Russia beginning next year. However, the news agency reported that opposition party Law & Justice said that Kopacz was just trying to woo voters before elections scheduled for Oct. 25. "The prime minister is cutting a ribbon and the terminal's construction will continue; the terminal isn't open," said Beata Szydolo, opposition candidate for prime minister, as reported by Bloomberg.

HRG Group Inc. unit Compass Production Partners has agreed to sell its Holly, Waskom and Danville assets in East Texas and North Louisiana to Indigo Minerals LLC for $160 million in cash. The properties being sold include about 90,000 acres and produce about net 34 MMcfe/d, most of which is dry gas. The transaction is expected to close in the current fiscal quarter with an effective date of July 1, 2015. Proceeds are expected to be used to reduce borrowings outstanding under Compass' credit facility. "This transaction is reflective of the high quality nature of these assets and prospectivity of the Cotton Valley formation for horizontal exploitation," said HRG CEO Omar Asali. Indigo operates more than 750 wells and is a working interest owner in another 340-plus wells in East Texas and North and Central Louisiana. The company runs an active two- to four-rig development program and has drilled 100 Cotton Valley horizontal wells over the last four years, according to the company's website. Last year, EP Energy agreed to sell assets in the Ark-La-Tex Cotton Valley and South Louisiana Wilcox areas to Indigo Minerals for cash proceeds of $150 million (see Shale DailyMay 1, 2014).  

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has signed into law a bill that will limit liabilities for any oil and natural gas producer in that state uses treated coal mine water to drill and stimulate its wells. SB 875 passed the state Senate by a vote of 34-15 in June, and it was passed by a vote of 160-37 last month (see Shale DailyOct. 1). After the House signed it, Wolf's administration said he would support it. The legislation clarifies the legal liabilities associated with the use of treated mine water in oil and gas operations. It's aimed at reducing the use of fresh water for drilling and completion operations. Without the legislation, its sponsors have said, legal liabilities have been a deterrent to more producers using the treated water in their wells (see Shale DailyJune 5). 

The U.S. Department of State has given its thumbs-up to two proposed pipelines designed to carry natural gas from the United States into Mexico, according to filings at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. In separate letters, the agency said it had reviewed applications for the Trans-Pecos Pipeline and the Comanche Trail Pipeline with a focus on their foreign policy implications, and "has no objections to the issuance of the proposed presidential permit" in either case. As planned, Trans-Pecos would operate as an intrastate pipeline, according to developers Energy Transfer Partners LP and Mexico's Carso (see Daily GPIJuly 27). It would have capacity of 1.3 Bcf/d and have interconnects with other intrastate pipelines and processing plants at or near Waha, TX, and in the surrounding area. Interconnections with area interstate pipelines also are planned. Comanche, proposed by Comanche Trail Pipeline LLC, is planned as a 196-mile, 42-inch diameter intrastate pipeline that would originate in Pecos County, TX, and terminate at a proposed border crossing in El Paso County, TX (see Daily GPIAug. 4).

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