Tuesday, November 30, 2010

California PUC faults PG&E in 2008 Rancho Cordova pipeline blast

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - State investigators have concluded that Pacific Gas & Electric Co. should have discovered a faulty repair job that led to a fatal gas-pipeline explosion near Sacramento two years ago, a finding that could result in fines against the utility.
The explosion on Christmas Eve 2008 outside a home in Rancho Cordova
(Sacramento County) killed a 72-year-old neighborhood resident.
Federal investigators later found that PG&E had installed substandard pipe in a 2006 repair job outside the home, and that it had sent out an untrained worker in response to a reported gas smell shortly before the explosion.
The worker failed to find the leak that later caused the explosion, the National Transportation Safety Board said.
On Nov. 19, the state Public Utilities Commission filed administrative charges against PG&E alleging that the utility discovered in October 2006 that substandard pipe had been used in a nearby repair in Sacramento.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Merger of Enterprise GP Holdings, Enterprise Products Partners OK’d

HOUSTON - Enterprise GP Holdings L.P. (NYSE: EPE) and Enterprise Products Partners L.P. (NYSE: EPD) on Nov. 22 announced that EPE unit holders have approved the merger of EPE with a subsidiary of EPD. Over 99 percent of the EPE units that voted were cast in favor of the merger, representing approximately 85 percent of EPE's total outstanding units as of the record date.

The merger was completed on Nov. 22, resulting in EPE unit holders being entitled to receive 1.50 EPD common units for each EPE unit they own. Cash will be paid to EPE unit holders in accordance with the merger agreement in lieu of any fractional units they otherwise would have been entitled to receive.

As a result of the merger completion, units of EPE ceased trading at the close of business on Nov. 22.

EPD common units continue to be traded on the New York Stock Exchange. (Source: Business Wire, Nov. 22, 2010)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Dawn Gateway Pipeline announces Open Season

DETROIT, Mich. - Dawn Gateway Pipeline is conducting a second binding open season for firm transportation service between MichCon’s Belle River facility and Union Gas’ Dawn Hub.

Utilizing a combination of new and existing pipelines, Dawn Gateway will connect Michigan storage and new supplies coming into Michigan with the Dawn Hub, and provide access to downstream markets with an initial firm transportation capacity of 360,000 Dth/d. Available capacity remaining for bid is at least 80,000 Dth/d for a minimum term of seven years starting in November 2011 or November 2012.

“Michigan has access to several new supply basins, including Barnett, Haynesville, Fayetteville, Rockies and the promising Collingwood shale in Northern Michigan,” said Pete Cianci, co-president of Dawn Gateway Pipeline. “The Dawn Gateway Pipeline will connect these new supplies as well as Michigan storage with the Dawn Hub, enhancing Dawn’s depth and liquidity. Dawn Gateway provides transportation to the premium Dawn market and we’re confident that the market will see the value of this project.”

Allen Capps, co-president of Dawn Gateway Pipeline. added: “The Dawn Hub continues to grow as a major liquid trading hub that is fully integrated into the North American supply and transportation system.”

Dawn Gateway is an international pipeline joint venture between subsidiaries of Spectra Energy Corp. and DTE Energy.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Williams Partners expanding in Marcellus Shale, buys Cabot assets

TULSA, Okla. - Williams Partners L.P. (NYSE: WPZ) announced on Nov. 18 that it is significantly expanding its midstream business in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale.

The partnership has agreed to acquire Cabot Oil & Gas Corp.'s midstream assets located in Susquehanna County, Pa., for $150 million. The Cabot assets include some 75 miles of gathering pipelines and two compressor stations. The transaction is expected to close during the fourth quarter.

In addition, Williams Partners has added more than $150 million of expansion capital to fund the 2011 construction phase of additional gathering assets, including compression and dehydration, which will significantly augment the acquired assets.

The partnership will continue to invest additional capital beyond 2011 to further expand the system. The combined gathering system will be capable of delivering approximately 1.2 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of natural gas over the next two to three years.

The new system will connect with Williams Partners' previously announced Springville gathering pipeline in Susquehanna County. It will significantly expand the Springville system, as well as add additional delivery points.

The partnership has also agreed to a new long-term dedicated gathering agreement with Cabot for its production in the northeast Pennsylvania area of the Marcellus Shale. The 25-year agreement covers an area of mutual interest that currently includes 138,000 gross acres.

"This additional expansion in the Marcellus Shale is an ideal growth opportunity for Williams Partners," said Alan Armstrong, senior vice president of Williams Partners' midstream business. "We have the opportunity to serve another one of the biggest producers in the Marcellus with the type of large-scale solutions required for Cabot's rapidly expanding production.

"The previously announced Springville system and this expansion will provide significant takeaway capacity to multiple interstate gas pipelines, including Transco," Armstrong said. "In addition to our anchor customer agreement with Cabot, there will be future opportunities to help third-party producers grow their volumes and access large natural gas markets. Included among those potential producer customers is Williams' exploration and production business, with its significant acreage position in northeast Pennsylvania."

The previously announced Springville system is currently in construction phase and is expected to be operational in mid-2011.

The Cabot assets being acquired are currently gathering approximately 230 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) of Cabot's natural gas production. Construction will begin on the additional expansions to the Springville system and other new areas in 2011.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Russia seeking $4 billion stolen during ESPO pipeline construction

MOSCOW - Russia is reportedly checking audit documents that suggest at least $4 billion in state funds was stolen during construction of the East Siberia-Pacific Ocean (ESPO) oil pipeline.

Moscow blogger Alexei Navalny claims he has obtained documents that reveal the theft was uncovered in audits dating to 2007 of ESPO construction expenditures.

Russia's Audit Chamber insists no formal investigation is under way.

Both the government and pipeline operator Transneft have refused to comment on the allegations. Transneft said it does not intend to respond to the "personal records of third parties."

Navalny is known in Russia for advocating the rights of minority shareholders of big companies.

The publication of the pipeline documents dating back to 2007 has led to a shocked response in Russia.