Chevron Corp. has launched the $20 million Appalachia Partnership Initiative to address education and workforce development in 27 counties across southwest Pennsylvania, northern West Virginia and eastern Ohio. Chevron partnered with the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, the Benedum Foundation and Rand Corp. to begin a long-term regional commitment to improve science, technology, engineering and math education and further develop a skilled workforce for the region.

The Lower Tertiary Trend in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico has yielded another discovery in Keathley Canyon (KC), the Guadalupe well, which was drilled in almost 4,000 feet of water to a depth of 30,173 feet. The prospect, in KC Block 10, is about 180 miles off the Louisiana coast. The initial well encountered “significant” oil pay in the Wilcox Sands, according to 42.5% stakeholder and operator Chevron Corp. Co-owners are BP Exploration & Production Inc. (42.5%) and Venari Resources LLC (15%). Drilling began in June. More tests are being conducted, with additional appraisal wells planned to determine the extent of the resource.

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. has introduced the Electromagnetic Acoustic Transducer (EMAT), a pipeline inspection robot, to upgrade maintenance and safety checks on a natural gas pipeline system in South San Francisco. The robot uses ultrasonic waves within the pipe to automatically detect weld defects. The new technology does not require excavation to test the inside of the pipe. The robot travels inside the pipeline to inspect the girth welds.

Freeport LNG Development LP and Port Freeport have begun to widen the Port Freeport harbor channel in Texas. The entrance and jetty sections of the Port Freeport ship channel will be widened from the existing 400 feet to 600 feet. The channel’s reach extends from the port’s sea buoy to the U.S. Coast Guard station in Surfside for about 6.1 miles. The work is to be completed in May. Freeport LNG owns and operates an existing liquefied natural gas (LNG) regasification terminal located near Freeport, TX, and is developing a gas liquefaction and LNG export project there (seeDaily GPI, Oct. 20).

Freeport LNG Development LP last week received a limited go-ahead from FERC to begin initial site preparation for its Liquefaction and Phase II Modification project. Excluded from the authorization were site preparation for a 26-inch diameter pipeline; construction of the project’s pretreatment plant power line and pipeline/utility line system; and ancillary areas for staging, storage and temporary work areas. Freeport filed its request to begin construction on Aug. 22. In July the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission authorized Freeport to site, construct and operate facilities to liquefy and export domestic natural gas from its existing liquefied natural gas import terminal near Freeport, TX (see Daily GPI, July 31).

FERC has approved PennEast Pipeline Co. LLC‘s request to initiate pre-filing review of its proposed 108-mile, 36-inch diameter natural gas pipeline to transport 1 Bcf/d of gas from Luzerne County in northeastern Pennsylvania to Transco‘s Trenton-Woodbury interconnection in New Jersey. The pipeline is projected to enter service in 2017 (see Shale Daily, Sept. 5). PennEast said it plans to complete pre-filing and file a formal application at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in third quarter 2015.

The Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC) is scheduled to hold two hearings on Nov. 6 in Harrisburg, PA. The first, at 1:30 p.m., is being held to discuss proposed changes to regulations on water withdrawals by unconventional oil and gas drillers. The second meeting, at 2:30 p.m., will address water withdrawal requests within the basin. Both meetings will be held in Room 8E-B, in the East Wing of the Capitol Building.

Dominion Midstream Partners LP, formed to own the Cove Point liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Maryland, raised $368 million in its debut on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday. The partnership issued 17.5 million common units at $21 each and said it has granted the underwriters an option to purchase an additional 2.6 million units with the expectation of raising more than $400 million (see Daily GPI, Oct. 9). Dominion Resources Inc., which spun off the master limited partnership would own a 68.5% interest in Dominion Midstream if the underwriters exercise their option. The partnership will also own Blue Racer Midstream LLC, Dominion Transmission and Dominion East Ohio Gas.