NGI The Weekly Gas Market Report

Briefs -- George H. W. Bush | Alaska Quake | New Mexico Lease Sale | New Brunswick Gas | Mariner East | Philadelphia Gas Works

Federal offices will be closed Wednesday in observance of a national day of mourning for President George H. W. Bush, the 41st president of the United States, who died Friday. He was 94. Bush began his career in West Texas as an oilfield equipment salesman for Dresser Industries, a subsidiary of Brown Brothers Harriman & Co., where his father, Prescott Bush, had served on the board of directors for 22 years. Bush founded and worked as a wildcatter for the Bush-Overbey Oil Development Co. in 1951. He later formed the Zapata Petroleum Corp., which was active in the Permian Basin. Bush was named president of subsidiary Zapata Offshore Co. in 1954. He continued to serve as president of the company until 1964 and was chairman until 1966, when he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives as the first Republican to represent Houston. Bush served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, chairman of the Republican National Committee and director of the Central Intelligence Agency before joining the ticket with Ronald Reagan in 1980 to win election as vice president. He was elected president in 1988 and served one term. Intercontinental Exchange Inc. said ICE Futures U.S. will observe a moment of silence to honor Bush on Wednesday.

Alyeska Pipeline Service Co., operator of the Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS), said the system suffered no damage from Friday's 7.0-magnitude earthquake and was restarted after a seven-hour shutdown. "After a methodical and extensive system-wide status check confirmed that it was operationally safe to restart, TAPS was brought back online," Alyeska tweeted Friday. "Surveillance and system assessment efforts on TAPS will remain heightened in the hours and days ahead."

The November oil and gas lease sale held by the New Mexico State Land Office established an all-time record for revenue, reaching $43.2 million. The previous monthly record was $30.03 million set in July 2017. Katy TX-based Percheron Energy was the high bidder in sealed bids, obtaining 1,999.31 acres in Lea, Chaves and McKinley counties. All but one tract was sold, with one tract receiving no bids and a second tract withdrawn. Nine bidders combined for the total proceeds, with an average per-acre price of $5,431.88. Thirty-two bidders from eight states participated.

Ownership of New Brunswick's natural gas distribution franchise is changing hands in a C$331 million (US$265 million) sale announced Tuesday by Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. The buyer -- Liberty Utilities (Canada) LP, a subsidiary of Oakville, ON-based Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp. -- added that a C$5 million (US$4 million) service expansion program will begin after the deal's scheduled close in first-half 2019. Under Enbridge ownership the franchise, New Brunswick Gas, arranged for imports from the eastern United States for its 12,000 customers in 12 communities to replace Nova Scotia offshore wells that are depleted and shutting down. Enbridge retains a 78% ownership interest in the import route, Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline. The Calgary gas and oil transportation conglomerate described the New Brunswick deal as part of continuing asset sales triggered by its C$37 billion (US$28 billion) takeover of Houston-based Spectra Energy in 2016.   

Sunoco Pipeline LP, intervenors and the residents asking the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) to halt operations and construction on the Mariner East (ME) pipeline system have until Dec. 7 to file final briefs. Residents in southeast Pennsylvania -- where construction spills, water issues and sinkholes have raised local ire and slowed down the ME 2 and 2X projects -- filed an emergency petition and formal complaint on Nov. 19 to stop operations. They argued that Sunoco’s public awareness program fails to adequately inform communities about how to deal with a major leak or rupture. Hearings on the petition concluded last week, and an administrative law judge is expected to make a decision on Dec. 11, a PUC spokesman said. If the judge rules in favor of the residents, ME 1 operations and construction on other projects would be stopped until the full commission reviews the ruling at a meeting on Dec. 20.

The Philadelphia Gas Commission has approved Philadelphia Gas Works’ (PGW) proposal to expand its liquefied natural gas (LNG) assets. The commission voted 3-1 in favor of an agreement between PGW and an entity established by Pennsylvania-based Liberty Energy Trust GP LLC. The deal calls for a new LNG plant and truck loading facility to be built at the site of PGW’s Passyunk Plant in South Philadelphia. The Liberty Energy affiliate would cover the costs of building the facility. PGW would then lease and operate the plant, selling the LNG production to regional customers, including Liberty’s affiliate. The new plant would be capable of producing 120,000 gallons/day of LNG. Construction could begin in November 2019 and last up to two years at an estimated cost of $60 million. The Philadelphia City Council must now approve the plan.

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