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Briefs -- PennEast, Bear Paw, Bear Head LNG, CPChem, Nebraska Legislature, Schlumberger/Cameron, Peregrine Midstream, Texas Fraud Case

Bear Paw Pipeline Corp. Inc. has registered an environmental assessment with Nova Scotia Environment for a proposed 39-mile natural gas pipeline from Goldboro, NS, to the proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility, Bear Head LNG, in Point Tupper in Richmond County, NS (see Daily GPIMarch 29). The pipeline would connect the facility with the North American gas pipeline network. A comment period on the EA runs through April 29. Bear Paw filed an application with the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board in late 2015 to obtain a permit for the pipeline, and public hearings are to begin May 9. Bear Paw is a unit of Australia-based Liquefied Natural Gas Ltd., which is also developing Magnolia LNG LLC in Louisiana (see Daily GPINov. 13, 2015).

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission staff plans to issue a final environmental impact statement (EIS) for the proposed PennEast Pipeline project on Dec. 16, allowing for a 90-day deadline for coordinating agencies of March 16, 2017. The project is to include 119 miles of pipeline and laterals including 115 miles of new pipeline from Luzerne County, PA, to Mercer County, NJ and three laterals, two in Pennsylvania and one in New Jersey. A compressor station and eight meter and regulator stations would also be constructed. PennEast Pipeline Co. LLC is a joint venture of AGL Resources Inc. unit Red Oak Enterprise Holdings Inc. (20%); New Jersey Resources' NJR Pipeline Co. (20%); South Jersey Industries' SJI Midstream LLC (20%); UGI Energy Services LLC's UGI PennEast LLC (20%); PSEG Power LLC (10%); and Spectra Energy Partners LP (10%). The partnership is managed by UGI Energy Services (see Daily GPIMarch 22).

Bear Head LNG Corp. Inc.has agreed to purchase additional land from Nova Scotia Business Inc. for its proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility on the Strait of Canso in Richmond County, Nova Scotia. "It enables us to increase the capacity of the LNG facility from a nominal eight million tonnes per annum (mtpa) up to 12 mtpa in 2024, as per our approval from the National Energy Board," said Bear Head President Maurice Brand. Bear Head is to acquire an additional 72 acres of land directly adjacent to its existing 255-acre site on the Strait of Canso. Bear Head has approval from the U.S. Department of Energy to export U.S.-sourced natural gas nations with and without free trade agreements with the United States (see Daily GPIFeb. 8). Canada's National Energy Board has granted Bear Head approval to export up to 12 mtpa. Bear Head said it has all the initial federal, provincial, and municipal regulatory approvals required to begin project construction.

Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. LP(CPChem) has reached a final investment decision to expand the low viscosity polyalphaolefins capacity at its Cedar Bayou plant in Baytown, TX, by 10,000 metric tons per year, or about 20%. The expansion will allow the company to meet the increasing demand for high-performance lubricants in automotive and industrial applications, as demand for higher energy efficiency and high-quality basestocks continues to grow. Feedstock for the project will be provided through the recent 100,000 metric tons per year expansion of normal alpha olefins capacity at Cedar Bayou.

Nebraska's unicameral legislature passed a bill (LB-1082) Thursday aimed at controlling oil/natural gas drilling waste, particularly the kind associated with hydraulic fracturing (fracking). The bill passed on a 48-0 vote. Its sponsor, Sen. Ken Schilz, said that the bill enhances disclosure and public notice regulations on wells used in fracking, requiring commercial injection well operators to sample and analyze injected wastewater at least once each year and provide the resulting data to the state's Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (OGCC), which regulates Nebraska's modest oil and gas production. The bill also requires the certification and monitoring of vehicles used to transport wastewater and the periodic evaluation of operators' ability to pay the costs of shutting down wells, and public notice through the OGCC of injection well permit applications.

Schlumberger Ltd. and Cameron International Corp. expect to complete their merger on Friday (April 1), after the Chinese Ministry of Commerce cleared their proposed tie-up. It was the last major hurdle remaining. The $14.8 billion merger would bring together complementary technology portfolios that the partners have said would create the industry's first "complete" drilling and production system (see Daily GPI, Aug. 25, 2015).

Peregrine Midstream Partners LLC and affiliates Peregrine Rocky Mountains LLC, Ryckman Creek Resources Holding Co. LLC and Ryckman Creek Resources LLC have received final bankruptcy court approval on a $35 million debtor-in-possession loan to provide liquidity and working capital to the business while it continues to reorganize under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code (see Daily GPIFeb. 5). The companies also said they entered a plan support agreement with certain holders of secured loans to restructure balance sheets and eliminate more than $160 million from the balance sheet. "This significant milestone in our reorganization provides a clear path for us to emerge from Chapter 11 as quickly as possible," said CEO Rob Foss. The companies have a 53 Bcf gas storage facility that serves the Opal Hub in Wyoming. It was closed following a fire in 2013 but recently reopened (see Daily GPI, Jan. 8).

Promoters of a bogus oil/natural gas investment scheme were found liable on all counts by a U.S. District Court in Texas. Judge Ed Kinkeade granted summary judgment for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on all claims against promoters Leon Ali Parvizian and his two Dallas-based companies, Arcturus Corp. and Aschere Energy LLC. The court also found for the SEC on its claims against Alfredo Gonzalez and AMG Energy LLC, also of Dallas, and Florida-based Robert Balunas and R. Thomas & Co. LLC, who sold the investments, according to the SEC. The agency alleged in charges filed in December 2013 that the defendants raised nearly $22 million from at least 380 investors nationwide through illegal securities sales. In its 50-page summary judgment order, the court found that Parvizian and his companies committed securities fraud by offering and selling interests in a drilling project in which they had no rights to participate or share profits. The court also found that all defendants had illegally offered and sold unregistered securities and that Parvizian, Gonzalez, AMG Energy, Balunas, and R. Thomas & Co. acted as unregistered broker-dealers. The court rejected defense arguments that the investments were exempt from the federal securities laws because they were structured as "joint ventures." The court instead found that the investors had little real power and were inexperienced in the oil and gas industry, leaving them dependent on Parvizian and his companies to control the ventures. This dependency made the joint venture interests "investment contracts," which are subject to securities laws.

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