midstream

The Columbia Pipeline Group has embarked upon a strategic program to build pipeline infrastructure and compression equipment to deliver natural gas from production areas to homes and businesses throughout the Midwest and eastern U.S.
The proposed Leach XPress project involves 160 miles of natural gas pipeline and compression facilities in southeastern Ohio and West Virginia’s northern panhandle.

The $1.4 billion investment will transport 1.5 Bcf from the heart of the Appalachian supply basin to consumers served by the Columbia Gas and Columbia Gulf pipeline systems.

Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) and First Reserve announced a US$1 billion agreement to mutually invest in energy infrastructure for Mexico. The first of the investments includes the 744-km natural gas Los Ramones pipeline that is comprised of three sections and is being implemented in two phases.

Construction of the projects has already begun with full commercial operations expected in mid-2016. The companies are also planning large-scale infrastructure opportunities.

I was driving to work this morning on Kamikaze Highway, officially known as I-10, and switched on the 9 a.m. news when a story so outlandish grabbed my attention, nearly forcing me into another lane of traffic, in which case I could not have written this column. The story, reported by Fox News, cited an increase in President Obama’s popularity that it attributed to lower gasoline prices. Say what? He being responsible for lower gas prices is like saying the API is non-political. It’s just not so, am I right, Jack Gerard?

In an environment that is exhibiting disruption and change, being nimble is a necessity. The concept of being flexible rather than rigid in the face of change is one that for many industry participants is counterintuitive.

Bruce Lee might have said it best when he suggested, “Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”

The Energy Information Administration reported March 12 that the decline in spot oil prices in the last half of 2014 and first month of 2015 has reduced oil and natural gas production tax revenues in some of the largest oil- and natural gas-producing states.

Pembina Pipeline Corp. plans to expand the Vantage pipeline system for an estimated $85 million. The expansion entails increasing Vantage's mainline capacity from 40,000 bpd to 68,000 bpd through the addition of mainline pump stations and the construction of a 80-km, 8-inch gathering lateral.

The mainline expansion is supported by a long-term, fee-for-service agreement, with a substantial take-or-pay component. The gathering lateral is underpinned by a fixed return on invested capital agreement. The expansion is expected to be in-service in early 2016.

If you are lucky enough to have grown up in Texas, you are all too familiar with how popular culture, particularly Hollywood, has glamorized the life of a wildcatter or roughneck. The movie Giant depicts James Dean on a windswept Texas countryside, sopping head to toe in newly discovered oil. While maybe a compelling drama, as a Texas Railroad Commissioner, I can tell you this is far from reality.

The Texas Railroad Commission adopted new rules in December concerning pipeline permit applications involving 16 Texas Administrative Code §3.70. It has been three years since the state Supreme Court’s opinion in Denbury Green, which took a dim view of the commission’s “check the box” rules regarding Form T-4 pipeline permit application which automatically created common carrier status to the pipeline operator.

Crude from the Canadian oil sands deposits gained an additional major outlet in the U.S. when the joint venture of Enbridge, Inc. and Enterprise Products Partners L.P. completed construction of its Cushing-to-Texas pipeline and started deliveries in December to Gulf Coast refineries.

The new pipeline’s operations and routes are very similar to TransCanada’s Keystone Pipeline project for bringing oil sands crude to the Gulf Coast.

Recently EnLink Midstream invited me out to West Texas to see my first pipeline spread – the Martin County Extension Pipeline. On the way to the line we stopped by the Deadwood gas plant where I met Chris Coleman, EnLink Midstream’s senior landman. He was amiable, genuine and welcoming, even letting me ride shotgun in his work truck, which I had to jump to get into. As we drove across the flat Texas land, kicking up a flurry of red dirt, he began telling me about his job.

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