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Rover phase one flows likely delayed again

9 Aug 2017, 4.13 pm GMT

Rover phase one flows likely delayed again

Houston, 9 August (Argus) — Full phase 1 flows on Energy Transfer Partners' (ETP) 3.25 Bcf/d (92mn m³/d) Rover gas pipeline will likely be delayed for the second time stemming from continued regulatory delays following an April drilling fluid spill.

The developer last month pushed the Rover phase 1 start from July to "late summer," but executives today said ETP has not yet received permission from the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to drill under Captina creek in Ohio, potentially stymieing that plan.

ETP has now split phase 1 into two parts. While it expects phase 1A from Cadiz to Defiance, Ohio, will be completed next week, phase 1B from Seneca to Cadiz will take an additional 40 days after FERC gives it the go-ahead to drill under the creek, potentially pushing into the fall season.

The developer is also still under a FERC-ordered halt on all horizontal directional drilling following a 2mn USG fluid spill during its use of that kind of drilling under the Tuscarora river. In the meantime, ETP is continuing to construct other parts of the pipeline that do not require horizontal directional drilling, executives said.

ETP has been working closely with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency toward resolving the fluid spill issues, chief operating officer Matt Ramsey said. The company has been "fully compliant" with an order from the state agency, and expects to have cleanup done by mid-August, he added.

Ramsey said the company is "very confident" that it will complete phase 1A and 1B this year.

The project is scheduled to begin full flows in November, but the company today said phase 2 would begin flows by either "the end of November or early December," with full commercial service not beginning until January 2018.

The line has experienced delays and regulatory setbacks during construction as a result of fluid spills, soil erosion, the unauthorized destruction of historic property and public opposition.

Most recently, two members of Congress filed with FERC requesting an expanded investigation on reports of seven industrial spills from Rover construction. ETP last week said those allegations are "not substantiated by the facts," and that an expanded investigation would be unprecedented.

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