By May 11, 2017 Read More →

Rover Pipeline spills prompt FERC to ban new drill work on pipeline

Rover Pipeline

New drilling on the Rover Pipeline has been shut down by the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission after drilling fluid was spilled in a wetland area in Ohio. WMFD.com photo.

Rover Pipeline runs from Pennsylvania to Ontario

The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has shut down new drilling on the Rover Pipeline after drilling fluids were spilled in a wetland area in Ohio.

Upon completion, the $4.2 billion Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) pipeline will transport 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day from Marcellus and Utica shale fields to Ontario.  The Rover Pipeline was expected to enter service in two phases, in July and November.

On April 13, Rover alerted the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and FERC’s Compliance Monitor of spill amounting to about 2 million gallons of bentonite-based drilling fluid covering approximately 6.5 acres in a wetland area.

The spill occurred while crews were drilling under the Tuscarawas River in Stark County, Ohio.

FERC says it is concerned about the size of the spill, the resulting environmental impacts, the lack of clarity regarding the underlying reasons for the spill and the possibility of future problems.

FERC is requiring the company to get third-party contractor proposals to further analyze all drilling activity at the Tuscarawas River drilling site.

As well, the agency has ordered ETP to preserve all documents pertinent to drilling around the river since Jan.1.  As well, in a letter to ETP, FERC says the company cannot conduct any new horizontal drilling activities until it complies with specified measures to help prevent spills.

According to Reuters, ETP officials were not immediately available for comment on the FERC action or its possible impact on the timeline for completion of the Rover Pipeline.

Analysts at investment bank FBR say FERC’s additional requirements are manageable, but may lead to higher costs and more delays.

The drilling ban will remain in place until FERC staff authorize the company to begin work again.  The ban does not prevent the company from completing drilling activities that had already begun or other non-drilling construction work.

Reuters reports the market responded to the shutdown on Wednesday.  According to traders, natural gas futures prices settled up about 2 per cent on Wednesday.

 

 

 

 

Posted in: News

Comments are closed.