FERC staff said it would prepare an environmental assessment (EA) for Millennium Pipeline Co.‘s proposed Eastern System Upgrade project [PF16-3]. Millennium plans to construct and operate about 7.8 miles of 30- and 36-inch diameter pipeline loop in Orange County, NY to transport natural gas from the existing Corning Compressor Station to an existing interconnect with Algonquin Gas Transmission in Ramapo, NY. Millennium would also build a compressor station in Sullivan County, NY, install additional compression at the Hancock Compressor Station in Delaware County, NY, and modify the Westtown Meter Station in Orange County and at the Ramapo Meter Station in Rockland County, NY. The project is designed to transport about 200,000 Dth/d of additional natural gas service. FERC is accepting comments through June 10.

An affiliate of New York-based Blue Wolf Capital Partners LLC is joining forces with K2 Energy Capital LLC to pursue investments in the energy services arena. K2 founder Kevin W. Kuykendall co-founded the Enron North America Principal Investments Group and went on to form American Capital Ltd.‘s energy group. “Ongoing weak commodity prices have caused severe distress across significant swaths of the energy sector,” Kuykendall said. “For seasoned investors with committed capital and access to both restructuring and operating expertise, a broad range of opportunities exists to invest in energy-related companies at attractive valuations and expand those companies significantly as the energy sector begins to recover.” Blue Wolf specializes in middle market company investments, while Dallas-based K2 targets transactions in the energy services sector, including oilfield services, utility services and equipment manufacturing.

Tallgrass Energy Partners LP now holds a 75% stake in Rockies Express Pipeline LLC after completing a $440 million purchase to buy a 25% stake from Sempra U.S. Gas & Power (see Daily GPI, March 30). Tallgrass, which operates the 1,712-mile natural gas pipeline, bought Kinder Morgan Inc.‘s stake in 2012 (see Daily GPI, Nov. 14, 2012). A ConocoPhillips unit has the remaining 25% interest. NGI‘s Rockies Express Zone 3 Tracker is updated daily.

The third of four liquefied natural gas (LNG)-ready U.S. Jones Act tankers was christened earlier this month at New Orleans by Jacksonville, FL-based Crowley Maritime Corp. Louisiana, a 50,000 dead-weight-ton, 330,000-bbl capacity ship, joins Crowley’s sister LNG-ready vessels, Texas and Ohio, as the first tankers ever to receive the American Bureau of Shipping’s LNG-Ready Level 1 approval. As such, privately held Crowley, one of the largest independent U.S operators of petroleum barges and tankers, has the option of converting to LNG propulsion all three of the ships in the future. The new ships have advanced technologies providing fuel efficiency, flexible cargo capability and the meet latest regulatory requirements, a Crowley spokesperson said. The Philly Shipyard’s unit, PSI, built all three of the tankers. Separately, Crowley is involved in the development of the first of two new cargo ships destined for Mediterranean trade and outfitted with LNG engines (see Daily GPI, April 1).

Staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has prepared a favorable Environmental Assessment (EA) of Millennium Pipeline Co.’s proposed Valley Lateral Project [CP16-17]. Millennium seeks to build and operate new natural gas facilities including 7.9 miles of 16-inch diameter pipeline extending from the company’s existing mainline to CPV Valley LLC‘s Valley Energy Center in Orange County, NY. The project would provide transportation capacity for 130 MMcf/d to serve the 650 MW gas-powered facility. FERC staff concluded that the project, with appropriate mitigating measures, would not adversely affect the environment, according to the EA. FERC will take comments on the EA through June 8.