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Ohio EPA calls for Rover drilling halt: Update

27 Nov 2017 20:34 GMT
Ohio EPA calls for Rover drilling halt: Update

Adds comments from Energy Transfer Partners.

Houston, 27 November (Argus) — The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week requested that Energy Transfer Partners halt drilling activity for the 3.25 Bcf/d (92mn m³/d) Rover natural gas pipeline project following a spill.

The agency said that on or before 16 November the company's construction activity caused 200 USG of bentonite-based drilling fluid to be released into a tributary of the Mohican river in Ashland County. This was the project's fifth violation since the developer received permission from the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to resume drilling at certain locations in the state.

Energy Transfer Partners today told Argus that it disagrees with the information in the agency's letter, saying it contains "mostly misstatements of our horizontal directional drilling operations." The company today responded to the agency saying it is in compliance with FERC and the state of Ohio on its drilling plans.

The Ohio EPA sent a letter to the project's developers last week, requesting a halt in drilling and requesting that the company review its contingency plan and ensure readiness to respond to future inadvertent spills.

Rover had been under federal orders prohibiting the company from continuing horizontal drilling at new Ohio locations following a spill of 2mn USG of drilling fluid near the Tuscarawas river in May. Earlier this month FERC approved the company to resume drilling at all but two locations: under the Sandusky and Tuscarawas rivers.

The Ohio EPA said the project is also in violation of a July order to file for a construction storm water permit. The agency has referred the case to the Ohio Attorney General.

Rover 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.

Energy Transfer Partners said it has completed 25 of the 49 horizontal directional drills for the project, and currently has 16 in process. The project has begun partial service from Cadiz to Defiance, Ohio, and is scheduled to begin full flows at the end of March 2018.