FERC has approved Sunoco Pipeline LP’s request to provide priority service on its Mariner East (ME) pipelines for prospective shippers that want to commit to previously contracted capacity that was canceled after part of the system failed to come online by its scheduled in-service date due to regulatory issues.
While ME 1 started moving product in 2014, ME 2 entered partial service late last year after about two years of delays. Part of that line and a third one, ME 2X, are still under construction. Transportation service agreements signed under ME 2’s 2017 open season allowed shippers to terminate their commitments if the pipeline failed to entered service on schedule.
According to filings with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, one unspecified shipper canceled its agreement, freeing up 30,000 b/d of natural gas liquids (NGL) on the 275,000 b/d ME 2, which is now only moving about 145,000 b/d using an old refined products line was tapped to bypass areas still impacted by regulatory issues.
Sunoco launched another open season last year for that capacity and has indicated that there is interest in committed capacity on the system. FERC cleared the way this month when it approved the company’s petition requesting priority service, a new tariff and rate structure and terms of transportation.
Sunoco said in filings that if it does receive sufficient financial support in the latest open season, it would initially provide 10,000 b/d of committed capacity and eventually 30,000 b/d.
ME 1 only recently came back online in April after a sinkhole formed near it in January in southeast Pennsylvania. It faced similar problems last year. The rest of the system has also been plagued by other regulatory and legal delays. Full service is expected to start soon on ME 2, Sunoco indicated in FERC filings, while service on ME 2X isn’t expected to start until later this year.
The system moves NGLs from processing facilities in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia to the Marcus Hook Industrial Complex near Philadelphia.