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Briefs -- Union Gas, BP, Freeport LNG, American Midstream

BP plc's $20.8 million settlement with federal officials for its role in the fatal 2010 Macondo well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico was approved Monday. U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier of the Eastern District of Louisiana, who is overseeing the multi-district litigation, approved the settlement announced last fall with the Department of Justice (DOJ) (see Daily GPIOct. 5, 2015). The settlement is the largest in history by the DOJ with a single entity. Under terms of the agreement, BP will spend $5.5 billion to settle civil claims against it under the U.S. Clean Water Act. It also agreed to spend $7.1 billion for environmental restoration and $700 million to compensate for unknown damages to natural resources along the Gulf Coast. In addition, BP is paying $4.9 million to Gulf Coast states impacted by the massive oil spill and $1 billion is to be allocated to local communities in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.

Union Gas is holding a binding open season for peak storage service at its Dawn Hub storage facility to become available April, 1, 2017, or April 1, 2018. Bids for up to 2 Bcf will be accepted for peak service with a term of two to 10 years. Bids for additional firm injections/withdrawals will be accepted from customers with existing service or those wishing quantities exceeding those of the open season. The storage facility is in southwestern Ontario and provides direct access to North America's major supply basins, including the Utica and Marcellus shales. The open season closes at 2 p.m. EDT on April 20. For information visit www.uniongas.com/openseason.

Freeport LNG Development LP and affiliates received a favorable FERC environmental assessment (EA) for the Capacity Uprate Project to increase liquefied natural gas (LNG) production capacity at the export terminal under development in Brazoria County, TX (see Daily GPIMarch 3). The project is currently authorized to produce 1.8 Bcf/d (657 Bcf/year); Freeport is seeking to increase that to 2.14 Bcf/d (782 Bcf/year) [CP15-518]. "The increase in maximum LNG production capacity would be accomplished with no additional construction of new facilities or the modification of the previously authorized facilities," Federal Energy Regulatory Commission staff said. "No new facilities are proposed; the increase is based solely on revised equipment availability information and a revised design feed gas composition case."

American Midstream Partners LP has begun operations at its East Texas rail facility, allowing for receipt and delivery of natural gas liquids (NGL) and condensate by rail to the Longview, TX, processing plant, located in the heart of the Cotton Valley Shale play in Gregg County, TX. The terminal, served by the Union Pacific railway via the Gladewater Station, includes more than 8,900 feet of lead track with the current capacity for more than 50 general purpose or pressure railcars. The facility has capability for the receipt and delivery of up to 4,500 b/d of on-spec and off-spec NGLs, including purity products and condensate, with similar capabilities for rail-to-truck transloading. Future plans include additional receipt and delivery capabilities and sufficient track on the 400-acre site for unit trains. The East Texas rail facility is adjacent to American Midstream's Longview operations, which include two cryogenic processing plants, a fractionation unit, a stabilization unit, product storage tanks, NGL sales pipelines, and a two-bay, semi-automated truck rack equipped to receive on-spec and off-spec NGLs and condensate. The facility is also near several crude oil and refined products terminals.     

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