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Rover pipeline setbacks continue to build

06 Jul 2017 19:46 (+01:00 GMT)
Rover pipeline setbacks continue to build

Houston, 6 July (Argus) — Developers of the 3.25 Bcf/d (92mn m³/d) Rover natural gas pipeline face growing public opposition and construction setbacks while installing the mainline in Ohio

The $4.2bn line would transport Marcellus and Utica shale gas to a natural gas hub in western Ohio for eventual delivery into Michigan and Canada. Rover crews in April spilled 2mn USG of drilling fluids while drilling under the Tuscarawas river in Ohio. The presence of diesel in those fluids prompted the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to halt new construction while it investigated. But project developer Energy Transfer Partners has been allowed to continue construction at 22 other locations.

Environmental groups including The Sierra Club protested the resumption of construction at the sites in a joint filing to FERC last week. The groups said Rover has shown "an outrageous lack of concern for state environmental laws," and that allowing drilling at multiple sites before the alleged fluid spill violations are settled would "reward Rover and thwart protective measures in the public interest."

A group of landowners near the construction sites today filed a complaint with FERC about improper drainage and flooding related to the project, which in some cases has damaged private property. The group requested that either FERC enforce the terms of its certificate and require Rover to comply, or issue an order for the construction to stop.

The project has faced some construction setbacks as well. In Wayne County, Ohio, a sinkhole appeared during horizontal directional drilling for the project, leading crews to change the drilling method being used. Pipe also became lodged during horizontal directional drilling in Tuscarawas County, Ohio, necessitating a drilling method change there. The developer said additional workspaces will be needed.

FERC approved the drilling method and workspace variances this week, but said it does not authorize excavation or pipeline installation within the additional space.

Rover is scheduled to begin service in November, but the halt on new construction might delay the project. The pipeline was originally expected to begin partial flows this month.

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