Dallas-based Energy Transfer Now Facing Big Troubles With $4.2B Ohio Pipeline

Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners is making a mess of its biggest project since the Dakota Access pipeline.Construction of the $4.2 billion Rover natural gas line has caused seven industrial spills, polluted fragile Ohio wetlands and angered local farmers. The company owes $1.5 million in restitution after demolishing an historic house. The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is furious and a federal energy regulator has launched a rare public investigation that threatens to delay the pipeline's scheduled Nov. 1 completion."We've not seen a project in Ohio with spills at this size and scale, and if we can't even trust Rover to construct this pipeline, how can we trust them to operate it when it's complete?" said Heather Taylor-Miesle, executive director of the Ohio Environmental Council.Energy Transfer, led by billionaire Kelcy Warren, promised part of the 713-mile pipeline would open in July, but work is stalled on key segments until the company's responsibility for the spills can be assessed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC."We are working with FERC and the OEPA to resolve these issues in a manner that is satisfactory to everyone involved, and most importantly ensures the complete remediation of these areas," said Energy Transfer spokeswoman Alexis Daniel. Recent developments have not affected the project's timeline, Daniel said.Any delay would pinch natural gas producers that contracted to ship on the line, which will bring resources from the Marcellus shale to the Midwest. Seven companies have booked 2.9 billion cubic feet a day, enough to power 51,000 homes for an entire winter, once Rover is completed. The company stands to lose more than $10 million a week if it misses the deadline, according to Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Michael Kay.Gas traders, too, are on alert for work interruptions. When FERC ordered Energy Transfer to halt new construction after the Ohio spills, natural gas futures hit a 14-week high.The year began with optimism for Rover. The 2016 election landed friends of Energy Transfer in high places. Former Texas Governor Rick Perry was a company director before he became Energy secretary. President Donald Trump is a former shareholder. After just two weeks in office, Trump cleared the way for the Dakota Access pipeline, which was stalled for months amid protests from Native Americans and their supporters.  Continue reading...

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