Rover files official application on $4.2bn pipeline into Midwest markets

Rover Pipeline LLC applied Feb. 23 at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for various approvals, including of a certificate of public convenience and necessity authorizing Rover to construct, own, and operate a new interstate natural gas pipeline system with a total system capacity of 3.25 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/day) of natural gas.

The project includes: approximately 711 miles of 24-inch, 30-inch, 36-inch and 42-inch diameter “Supply Laterals” and “Mainlines” extending from the Marcellus and Utica shale supply areas in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio to a point of interconnection with the Vector Pipeline LP system in Livingston County, Michigan; ten new compressor stations (six on the Supply Laterals; and four on the Mainlines); nineteen metering and regulating facilities; and other ancillary facilities.

Rover asked that the commission issue a final order approving the authorizations requested herein by no later than November 2015. Granting the requested authorizations by November 2015 will allow Rover to place in service certain Supply Laterals and Mainlines A and B to a new market interconnection hub known as the “Midwest Hub” in Defiance County, Ohio, by December 2016 to meet the natural gas production schedules and delivery obligations of Rover’s producer-shippers in accordance with executed precedent agreements. Rover’s contractual commitments further require that it construct and place in service by June 2017 the remaining Supply Laterals and the Market Segment facilities commencing at the Midwest Hub and running to the pipeline terminus at an interconnect with Vector.

From the Midwest Hub, the Rover Pipeline is designed with a single 42-inch pipeline— the Market Segment—with the capacity to transport up to 1.3 Bcf/day of natural gas to a proposed interconnection with the Vector system in Livingston County, Michigan. Rover has executed a joint precedent agreement with Vector and its interconnected affiliated pipeline, Vector Pipeline Limited Partnership (“Vector Canada”), for up to 950,000 Dth/day of firm transportation capacity in order that Rover may provide transportation service to those producer-shippers in its Market Zone North requesting deliveries in Michigan under Rover’s Rate Schedules FTS and ITS, as well as deliveries to the Union Gas Dawn Hub in Ontario, Canada (“Dawn Hub”).

Additionally, Rover has contracted with Panhandle to deliver additional volumes to the U.S./Canada International Boundary at the Union Ojibway interconnect for further redelivery to the Dawn Hub via the Union Gas Limited system. Rover is also installing an interconnect in the Supply Zone that will be capable of making deliveries into the CGT system in Doddridge County, West Virginia, to allow for service to markets in the Gulf Coast, Southeast and East Coast.

In a pre-filing request, Rover had initially indicated to FERC its intent to build, among other facilities, a 42-inch pipeline from the Midwest Hub to the Dawn Hub. However, on Jan. 27, Rover executed a precedent agreement with Vector and Vector Canada for firm transportation service of up to 950,000 Dth/day for deliveries in Michigan and at the Dawn Hub. Rover entered into this transportation arrangement with Vector and Vector Canada for several reasons. First, it enables Rover to avoid construction of approximately 110 pipeline miles in Michigan and approximately 14 pipeline miles in Canada, and the associated impacts to the regions’ environmental resources, residences, and private property. Second, Rover’s transportation of a portion of its shippers’ gas on the Vector system maximizes the use of available and existing pipeline capacity, and enables Rover to take advantage of Vector’s existing connections with local distribution companies, vast Michigan storage facilities, and other end users in Michigan and Chicago, as well as Vector Canada’s interconnection with the Dawn Hub. Finally, along with providing producer-shippers enhanced market outlets, Rover’s use of capacity on Vector and Vector Canada will provide these regions with enhanced access to the abundant supply of natural gas originating from the Marcellus and Utica shale supply areas.

Vector’s Michigan and Vector Canada’s Ontario delivery points are as follows: Bluewater Gas Storage (Lenox, Michigan); Consumers Energy (Hartland, Michigan); Consumers Energy (Ray, Michigan); DTE Gas Co. (Belle River Mills, Michigan); DTE Gas (Milford Junction, Michigan); Jackson, Michigan (550 MW); DTE Gas (Belle River Mills, Michigan); DTE Gas (Milford Junction, Michigan); Jackson, Michigan (550 MW); Washington 10 (Romeo, Michigan); Greenfield Energy Centre, Ontario (1,010 MW); Union (Dawn, Ontario); Union (Courtright, Ontario); and Enbridge Gas Distribution (Sombra, Ontario).

The application said: “The Rover Pipeline represents an approximately $4.22 billion capital investment in much-needed U.S. energy infrastructure that: (1) responds to market demand for additional firm take-away capacity from the Marcellus and Utica shale supply areas, as evidenced by the significant long-term 15 and 20-year contractual commitments to the Project by producer-shippers; (2) supports overall development of domestic natural gas resources, thereby ensuring domestic energy supplies can grow to meet energy and related national security needs in the United States; and (3) enhances the reliability of the interstate natural gas pipeline grid in a geographic region that serves as a critical junction between sources of natural gas production from the Marcellus and Utica shale supply areas and market demand in the Midwest, Michigan, Gulf Coast, Canadian, and U.S. Northeast markets.”

Rover is jointly owned by ET Rover Pipeline LLC, AE-Midco Rover LLC and AE-Midco Rover II LLC. Rover currently does not own any pipeline facilities, nor is it currently engaged in any natural gas transportation operations. 

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.