NGI The Weekly Gas Market Report

Briefs -- Gulf South Pipeline Co., Westmoreland Generating, Marathon Petroleum Corp., MPLX LP, MarkWest Energy Partners LP, Basic Energy, Lake Charles LNG, Vermont Gas Systems

Staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will prepare an environmental assessment (EA) for Gulf South Pipeline Co.'s proposed St. Charles Parish Expansion Project in Louisiana, according to documents filed at the Commission Wednesday [CP16-478]. Gulf South has proposed construction of a new 5,000 hp compressor station near Montz, LA, about 900 feet of new 16-inch diameter pipeline connecting the new compressor station to Gulf South's existing Index 270-94 Lateral in St. Charles Parish, and auxiliary facilities. The completed project would provide 133,333 Dth/d to serve Entergy Louisiana LLC's proposed natural gas-fired power plant facility near Montz. Assuming regulatory approvals, Gulf South plans to begin construction in the Fall of 2017 and place the facilities in service by Sept. 1, 2018. The Commission will accept comments on the project through Sept. 23. 

Omaha-based Tenaska was joined by more than 75 state, local and executive officials on Wednesday for a groundbreaking ceremony at its 925 MW natural gas-fired power plant in Westmoreland County, PA. Construction of the Westmoreland Generating Station started earlier this year and it's expected to be complete in late 2018. Tenaska announced in April that it had secured the $780 million in financing needed for the project (see Daily GPIApril 20). The facility is one of dozens of natural gas-fired power plants that have broke ground, been approved or proposed in the state (seeDaily GPIMay 16). It will provide enough electricity to power 925,000 homes in the PJM Interconnection market. Tenaska Pennsylvania Partners LLC, which is comprised of Tenaska andDiamond Generating Corp. affiliates, owns the project. 

Marathon Petroleum Corp. (MPC) announced Wednesday that John Mollenkopf, COO for MarkWest operations following the merger between MPC's midstream limited partnership, MPLX LP, and MarkWest Energy Partners LP, has decided to retire after a 33-year career in the energy industry (see Shale DailyJuly 13, 2015May 13, 2015). "John's impact on MarkWest will be recognized long after he retires, particularly in the influential leadership role he played in growing the company's operations and facilities, which have provided best-in-class service to our customers for over a decade," MPC CEO Gary Heminger said in a statement. Gregory Floerke, the current chief commercial officer (CCO) for MarkWest Assets, will assume Mollenkopf's post and report to MPLX President Donald Templin (see Shale DailyApril 9, 2014). Randy Nickerson, who currently serves as MPC's executive vice president for corporate strategy, will be appointed CCO for MarkWest Assets and also report to Templin. Nickerson will continue in his role to develop overall strategy around midstream assets as they relate to MarkWest, MPLX and MPC. Both Floerke and Nickerson will maintain offices in Denver. The changes will take effect on Oct. 1.

Fort Worth, TX-based Basic Energy Services Inc., which provides well site services across the U.S. onshore, said it has received a formal notice of noncompliance regarding its share price and market capitalization with the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Basic's share price has fallen below $1.00/share, and the NYSE prohibits a company's average global market capitalization over a consecutive 30 trading-day period from being less than $50 million at the same time its stockholders' equity is less than $50 million. Basic was given 10 days from Aug. 19 to notify the NYSE about its intentions to "cure the deficiencies" after which it would submit a business plan that demonstrates compliance with the standard within 18 months following the NYSE notice. The NYSE may accept the plan, at which time Basic would be subject to ongoing quarterly monitoring for compliance with the plan, or the NYSE may not, and Basic would be subject to suspension and delisting proceedings.

Lake Charles LNG Export Co. LLC and Lake Charles Exports LLC have applied to the U.S. Department of Energy for authorization to export from the planned Lake Charles LNG terminal in Louisiana up to 121 Bcf/year to countries with and without free trade agreements with the United States. The companies are currently authorized to export 730 Bcf/year from the terminal. The additional authorization sought is intended to align the total authorized export volume with the planned production capacity of the terminal as approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (see Daily GPIDec. 17, 2015).

Vermont Gas Systems should reduce its rates 5.68%, rather than the 3.3% decrease the utility had requested, according to testimony submitted to Vermont's Public Service Board (PSB) by the state's Department of Public Service [docket 7970]. Vermont Gas had hoped the less stringent rate decrease would help it pay for construction of a 41-mile natural gas pipeline extension in the western part of the state. The estimated cost of the project has increased significantly since it was approved two years ago. According to the PSB, when the Addison Natural Gas Project (ANGP) project was first proposed in 2013 it had an $86 million price tag (see Daily GPI, Dec. 26, 2013); by early 2016 the estimate had increased to $153.6 million (see Daily GPIJan. 13); in a recent filing, Vermont Gas again raised the expected cost, this time to $165.6 million.    Vermont Gas's ANGP plans call for a 12-inch diameter, 41-mile pipeline that would extend the utility's natural gas pipeline system from Colchester in Chittenden County to Middlebury in Addison County. A PSB decision on the rate case is due in spring 2017.

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