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Briefs -- Texas Eastern Transmission | Hilcorp Alaska | Hilcorp Alaska | Drillinginfo | Yuhuang Chemical | Tennessee Gas Pipeline | Total Petrochemical

Staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will prepare an environmental assessment (EA) of the Pomelo Connector Pipeline Project and the South Texas Expansion Project, separate but related projects of Texas Eastern Transmission LP (Tetco) intended to support natural gas exports to Mexico. Comments on the projects [CP15-499] are due at the Commission by May 8. The 30-inch diameter Pomelo would run from Tetco's Petronila Station in Nueces County, TX, to its Valley Crossing interconnect near Agua Dulce. Valley Crossing Pipeline LLC, originally a unit of Spectra Energy since merged with Enbridge Inc., has proposed a Texas pipeline and U.S.-Mexico border crossing to serve power generation and other gas demand in Mexico as well as in Texas [CP17-19].

Hilcorp Alaska Monday morning completed emptying a natural gas pipeline in Alaska’s Cook Inlet that is suspected of having a leak. The pipeline is at the Steelhead Platform, which produces natural gas from the Grayling Gas Sand Formation in the Trading Bay Unit on the west side of Cook Inlet. During an investigation prompted by natural gas pipeline leak discovered earlier this year in the Cook Inlet, a metering discrepancy was discovered on the pipeline serving the Steelhead Platform, Hilcorp said in a statement. “As a precaution, we started emptying the A Pipeline of natural gas on Saturday, and that process was completed early Monday morning,” the company said. “The line now contains filtered seawater. “We have decided to leave the line filled with seawater until a later time when we are able to further investigate and address the meter discrepancy.” A crude oil pipeline leak also was recently discovered by Hilcorp in the Cook Inlet.

Hilcorp Alaska said Monday that dive crews were working to repair a leaking eight-inch diameter natural gas pipeline in the Middle Ground Shoal area of the Cook Inlet. The leak point, approximately two inches in length, was noted to be on the very bottom of the pipeline resting on a boulder embedded in the seafloor, Hilcorp said. Following completion of the initial repair, further inspection and work will be done to permanently repair the affected segment of pipe. The line will not be returned to service until permanent repairs have been completed, the line has been pressure tested, and regulators have approved a re-start, Hilcorp said.

Drillinginfo, a software-as-a-service, or SaaS analytics provider for the oil and gas industry, is allying with software platform provider MineralSoft to expand mineral rights management offerings. The joint venture would allow the Austin, TX-based companies to analyze for mineral owners in real time computer mapping, royalties, revenue, expense, volume data and investment performance. No financial details were disclosed. Drillinginfo in 2016 acquired GlobalView Software and its flagship product MarketView, which allows prices to be monitored while trading. It also in 2016 bought production forecasting assets from Ponderosa Energy, a division of Ponderosa Advisors LLC. In January Drillinginfo also launched a suite of oilfield services software to improve real-time interaction between rig and permit reports.

Yuhuang Chemical Inc. (YCI) has completed an $800 million funding agreement for its planned methanol project in St. James Parish, LA, which is being financed by the Bank of China and other Chinese banks. Construction has begun on the world-class methane-to-methanol facility, which is expected to produce 1.8 million metric tons/year of commercial-grade methanol. YCI’s funding agreement represents the largest Chinese-invested project in the U.S. Gulf Coast region and the first U.S. construction project financed entirely by Chinese banks. The project’s three planned phases may exceed $1.85 billion in investment.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has approved Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. LLC (TGP) to begin tree clearing for and construction of the Connecticut Expansion Project, approved in 2016 [CP14-529]. The project would extend the existing pipeline in New York and Connecticut while adding four miles of underground pipeline in Massachusetts. Nearly two miles of the expansion is to be constructed in Otis State Forest, adjacent to TGP's two existing underground gas pipelines. The forest is protected as conservation land under Article 97 of the Massachusetts Constitution. The Kinder Morgan Inc. pipeline recently settled with Massachusetts authorities allowing the project to proceed.

Total Petrochemical, a joint venture of South Korea’s Hanwha Group and France’s Total SA, plans to expand the Desean refining/petrochemicals integrated facility in South Korea to increase ethylene production capacity by 30% to 1.4 million tons/year. Daesan, one of Total’s six world-class integrated platforms and a strategic asset for Hanwha, includes a condensate splitter, steam cracker and polymers, styrene and aromatics units. “The extension will significantly increase the site’s flexibility, enabling it to process competitively priced propane feedstock, which is abundantly available, notably due to the shale gas revolution in the United States,” the company said. The expansion, expected to be completed by mid-2019, would add ethylene production for local demand and supply the nearby fast-growing Chinese market, a significant importer. 

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