FERC seeks comment on enviro review for Rover and related gas pipeline projects

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Feb. 19 put out for comment, until April 11, a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Rover Pipeline Project, Panhandle Backhaul Project and Trunkline Backhaul Project proposed by Rover Pipeline LLC, Panhandle Eastern Pipe Line Co. LP and Trunkline Gas Co. LLC, respectively.

Rover, Panhandle, and Trunkline request authorization to construct and operate certain interstate natural gas pipeline facilities in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Indiana, Illinois, Tennessee, and Mississippi to deliver up to 3.25 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of natural gas supply from the Marcellus and Utica Shale producers in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio through interconnections with existing pipeline infrastructure in Ohio and Michigan to supply interstate natural gas pipelines and storage facilities as well as markets in the Gulf Coast, Midwest, and Canadian regions.

The draft EIS addresses the potential environmental effects of the construction and operation of the following facilities in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Indiana, Illinois, Tennessee, and Mississippi:

  • 510.7 miles of new 24- to 42-inch-diameter natural gas pipeline and appurtenant facilities that include 10 new compressor stations, 19 new meter stations, 5 new tie-ins, 78 mainline valves, and 11 pig launcher and receiver facilities;
  • modifications by Panhandle at four existing compressor stations, one interconnection, and three valve sites; and
  • modifications by Trunkline at four existing compressor stations and one meter station. 

Rover’s proposal (the Rover Pipeline Project, referred to as the Rover Project) would involve construction and operation of new 24-, 30-, 36-, and 42-inch-diameter natural gas pipeline in 510.7 miles of right-of-way and associated equipment and facilities in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, and Michigan. Rover also proposes to construct and operate 10 new compressor stations, 19 new meter stations, (11 of which would be located within the new compressor stations), 5 tie-ins, 77 mainline valves, and 11 pig launchers/receivers.

Panhandle’s proposal (the Panhandle Backhaul Project, referred to as the Panhandle Project) would involve modification of piping at four existing compressor stations as well as modifications at three valve site locations. All proposed modifications would be to existing infrastructure to allow for bi-directional flow of natural gas through the Panhandle system as well as to establish the Panhandle-Rover Interconnect near Defiance, Ohio. The Panhandle Project would not involve construction of new pipeline or other associated facilities.

Trunkline’s proposal (the Trunkline Backhaul Project, referred to as the Trunkline Project) would involve modifications of existing piping at the Johnsonville, Joppa, Dyersburg, and Independence Compressor Stations to allow for bi-directional flow of natural gas. The Trunkline Project would also include modifications of the Panhandle-Trunkline Interconnect through installation of valves and fittings and modification of piping within the Panhandle-Trunkline Tuscola Compressor Station, as well as construction and modifications at the existing Bourbon Meter Station.

According to Rover, the Rover Project was developed in response to stranded domestic natural gas supply from the Marcellus and Utica Shale producers in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio to the Defiance Compressor Station and interconnection with Vector Pipeline LP, and transporting it to interconnections with the existing pipeline infrastructure in Ohio and Michigan supplying interstate natural gas pipelines and storage facilities as well as markets in the Gulf Coast, Midwest, and Canadian regions.

Panhandle stated that the purpose of its project is to construct and operate the system modifications that will allow Panhandle to meet the new demand for east-to-west transportation and still maintain its existing obligations from west-to-east contracts.

Trunkline stated that the purpose of its project is to modify and update existing facilities to provide bi-directional transmission of natural gas from the Midwest to the Gulf Coast region.

Said FERC in the draft EIS: “We determined that construction and operation of the Projects would result in limited adverse environmental impacts, with the exception of impacts on forested land. This determination is based on a review of the information provided by the applicants and further developed from environmental information requests; field reconnaissance; scoping; literature research; alternatives analyses; and contacts with federal, state, and local agencies, and other stakeholders.”

Based on information provided by Rover, Panhandle, and Trunkline, the purpose of the proposed projects is to:

  • move natural gas from producers’ processing plants or interconnections in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio to interconnections with Energy Transfer Partners LP’s existing Panhandle Eastern Pipe Line and other Midwest pipeline interconnections near Defiance, Ohio; a direct connection with Vector near Howell, Michigan; and interconnections with Michigan natural gas utilities;
  • transfer up to 3.25 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of natural gas supply from the Marcellus and Utica Shale producers in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio to the Defiance Compressor Station and interconnection with Vector, and interconnections with the existing pipeline infrastructure in Ohio and Michigan supplying interstate natural gas pipelines and storage facilities as well as markets in the Gulf Coast, Midwest, and Canadian regions;
  • increase the diversity of supply through the bi-directional meter stations at the Clarington Station in Switzerland, Ohio, and delivery meters at the interconnections with Rockies Express Pipeline (REX) in Marion, Ohio, and Columbia Gas Transmission (CGT) in Beech, West Virginia, to allow access to the East Coast, Gulf Coast, and Chicago markets and offset the reduction of available gas supply from traditional supply areas that historically served Ohio and Michigan;
  • provide local Midwest gas consumers with access to readily available, stable, and competitively priced gas supply for local distribution companies connected to the Rover Project;
  • construct and operate the system modifications that would allow Panhandle to meet the new demand for east-to-west transportation and still maintain its existing obligations from westto-east contracts; and
  • modify and update existing Trunkline facilities to provide bi-directional transmission of natural gas from the Midwest to Gulf Coast regions.

In June 2014, Rover executed binding precedent agreements for the entire proposed 3.25 Bcf/d of additional firm transportation capacity. However, in January 2015, Rover reached an agreement with Vector that resulted in 100 miles of the originally proposed project in Michigan no longer being needed. As a result, Rover currently has 0.15 Bcf/d of capacity still available that Rover anticipates would be subscribed at a later date.

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.