Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Officials order shutdown of 27 miles of El Paso gas pipeline in Ohio

HOUSTON, Texas - Federal officials have ordered the continued shutdown of 27 miles of natural gas pipeline in Ohio because of repeated problems with welds in the pipe, including one linked to an explosion that leveled several houses on Nov. 16.

The investigation into the cause of a Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. LLC explosion near Glouster, Ohio, is continuing, according to an order released Nov. 17 by the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).

Authorities said that a visual inspection suggests that the pipeline failed at a weld similar to those that caused problems, including an explosion and fire in northeastern Ohio, in February and March. The high-pressure pipeline, three feet in diameter, runs from Kentucky to Pennsylvania.

"I find that the continued operation of the pipeline without corrective measures would be hazardous to life, property and the environment," wrote Jeffrey D. Wiese, associate administrator for pipeline safety at PHMSA.

Those measures include the shutdown, operating more than 200 miles of the affected line at reduced pressures, performing mechanical and metallurgical tests, and completing an analysis of the root cause of the failure within 60 days.

Gretchen Krueger, a spokeswoman for El Paso Corp., which owns Tennessee Gas, said the company has been working closely with federal authorities since the first report of the Nov. 16 explosion and will fully comply with the order.

Ms. Kruger added the company is in "full compliance with the consent order" imposed after the failures earlier this year and is working to implement corrective measures it required.

Tortoise Fund receives funding from private offerings of senior notes

LEAWOOD, Kan. - Tortoise Pipeline & Energy Fund, Inc. (NYSE: TTP) on Nov. 15 announced it had finalized the terms of a private placement with institutional investors of $49 million of senior unsecured notes (senior notes) and $16 million of mandatory redeemable preferred shares (MRP shares).

An initial funding of $24.5 million of senior notes and $8 million of MRP shares occurred on Nov. 15, with the remaining to be funded no later than Dec. 15.

Proceeds from the offerings will be used primarily for making new portfolio investments, reducing outstanding borrowings under the credit facility and for general corporate purposes.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Chesapeake Energy expects to gain $13 billion in 2012

Chesapeake Energy expects to generate $13 billion next year, which would be sufficient to trim debt and pay for the company's capital expenditures. Chesapeake intends to gain approximately $3 billion from the sale of shares in Chaparral Energy and Frac Tech Services, and through the initial public offering of its oilfield services unit. The company also expects to generate about $6 billion from operating cash flow and $3 billion from other deals.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Missing man found dead after Ohio house explosion

DAYTON, Ohio - The body of a 75-year-old man was found on Nov. 13 after he was killed in a house explosion in Fairburn, Ohio, that injured six others, including four children, and damaged neighbors' homes, authorities said. The explosion sent debris and the victims into the yard, and a neighbor reported seeing a baby burned, bloodied and covered in glass.

Work was being done on the duplex's water line when the gas line was struck, causing the Nov. 12 explosion, Fairborn Fire Marshal Carl Day said.

A 13-year-old was transferred in critical condition to Shriner's Hospital for Children, one of about four hospitals in the country specializing in pediatric burns, said spokeswoman Louise Holker. Two men also were injured. Their conditions were not given.

The 1-year-old baby was in fair condition and a 5-year-old was in good condition on Nov. 13, a spokesman for Dayton Children's Medical Center said. A third child, whose age wasn't available, was treated and released Nov. 12.

The blast was one of three in the Midwest in recent days. Another in Benton Township in southwestern Michigan killed two people on Nov. 12 and injured four others. Its cause wasn't immediately known, but relatives said several oxygen tanks were inside. An explosion in Chicago on Nov. 13 flattened one home, scorched others and sent two people to the hospital with serious burns. Fire officials and utilities were investigating.

A woman who lived about 100 yards from the Ohio home that exploded, Cybil Poole, told the Dayton Daily News that the blast felt like a car hitting it. She said she saw the infant lying in the yard and that some of the other victims were still on fire.

A spokeswoman for Vectren Corp., said it hasn't been confirmed that there was a gas leak and the company would likely conduct its own investigation into the cause of the explosion.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

ConocoPhillips sells interests in Colonial, Seaway Pipelines for $2 billion

HOUSTON, Texas - ConocoPhillips said on Nov. 16 that it was selling its interests in two pipeline companies for a total of $2 billion.

The Houston oil and natural gas company announced that a subsidiary of a Canadian pension plan will buy its 16.55 percent investment in Colonial Pipeline Co. and Colonial Ventures LLC. Conoco said it will sell its 16.55 percent interest in Colonial Pipeline and Colonial Ventures to a subsidiary of pension fund Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec for $850 million.

Caisse, Canada's largest pension fund administrator with C$199 billion in assets under management, is among the Canadian pension funds that are increasingly looking toward direct investments in the resources sectors.

A subsidiary of Enbridge Inc. is buying Conoco’s stake in the Seaway Crude Pipeline Co.