Report Volume XXVIII, Number 23 August 1, 2017

July 29, 2017

INDUSTRY NEWS (Dallas, TX) – Primoris Services Corporation announced a new pipeline award valued at approximately $19 million.  The contract was secured by ARB Underground, part of the Utilities & Distribution segment.

The project was awarded by a major pipeline company for work on their refined products pipeline system in Northern California.

The project involves replacing 1.7 miles of existing 8″ pipeline that was installed in 1966.  The new pipe will be installed using horizontal directional drilling, which has less impact on the environment than alternative methods such as open trenching.

Work on this project is scheduled to begin in the third quarter of 2017, and completion is expected in the fourth quarter of 2017.



INDUSTRY NEWS (Bismarck, ND) – The North Dakota Public Service Commission will hold public hearings starting Monday, July 24, on the largest pipeline proposed in the state since the Dakota Access Pipeline protests.

Commissioner Julie Fedorchak said she hasn’t heard of opposition to the project proposed by Cenex Pipeline LLC, but the commission has notified local law enforcement about the hearings. “We want to make sure we’re prepared for any type of protest,” Fedorchak said.

Cenex, a subsidiary of CHS, proposes to build a 180-mile pipeline from Sidney, Mont., to Minot to transport refined fuels such as gasoline and diesel fuel.

The project would replace a portion of an existing pipeline and add additional capacity, which the company said is needed to meet increased demand for refined fuels in the region.

The $160 million project would transport about 38,000 barrels per day.

Cenex says in its application that the company is proposing to reroute the existing pipeline to minimize construction in sensitive areas. The proposed route travels 150 miles in North Dakota, crossing Williams, Mountrail and Ward counties.

The pipeline route crosses the Missouri River in Montana. Water crossings in North Dakota include the Little Muddy, White Earth and Little Knife rivers.

Construction is tentatively scheduled to begin in the fall, but Cenex said in a statement that work won’t begin until all permits are secured. The work is estimated to take 18 months.



INDUSTRY NEWS (Washington, DC) – The House voted recently to give the nation’s top energy regulator broader powers to approve natural gas pipelines, while also giving it primary authority over oil and gas pipelines that cross international borders such as Keystone XL.

House lawmakers voted 248-179 to approve a bill introduced by Rep. Bill Flores, R-Texas, to give the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission lead authority over the approval of interstate natural gas pipelines. The bill seeks to streamline the permitting process, which can involve several approvals from multiple agencies, by centralizing the permitting process within FERC.

The House also voted 254-175 to pass a cross-border energy bill introduced by Rep. Mark Wayne Mullin, R-Okla., which would make FERC the principal agency responsible for permitting all pipelines and electric transmission cables that cross the U.S. border with Canada or Mexico.

The bill would strip the State Department of its authority over such cross-border projects, which the Obama administration used to hold up the Keystone XL pipeline for nearly a decade before former President Barack Obama denied its permit in November 2015. The cross-border bill also removes the president’s power to disapprove such projects by giving ultimate authority to FERC.

But the Senate has not voted to approve President Trump’s FERC nominees to restore the agency’s quorum. The commission has been effectively shut down since February because it lacks at least three members required to make decisions regarding the electric grid, natural gas pipeline development and the siting of energy export terminals.

A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he has no guidance on when two of Trump’s FERC nominees, Neil Chatterjee and Rob Powelson, will be voted on by the full Senate.
If the Senate does not vote on the energy nominees before lawmakers recess next month, it may mean that FERC will remains without a quorum until the fall.

Acting FERC Chairwoman Cheryl LaFleur is the commission’s lone member. Earlier this week, she tweeted a picture of volleyball that she named Commissioner Spaulding. She was referring to “Wilson” in the 2000 drama “Cast Away,” in which Tom Hanks’ only friend was a Wilson-branded volleyball on a deserted island.



INDUSTRY NEWS (Tulsa, OK) – Williams Partners L.P. announced that Northwest Pipeline has filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) seeking authorization for its North Seattle Lateral Upgrade project in south Snohomish County in the state of Washington.

Northwest has executed firm agreements with Puget Sound Energy (PSE) for the project to expand the delivery capabilities of Northwest Pipeline’s North Seattle Lateral, which serves PSE customers. PSE operates Washington’s largest natural gas distribution system serving nearly 800,000 gas customers in six counties.

“Our customers depend on safe, reliable and affordable natural gas service. By partnering with Williams on the North Seattle Lateral Upgrade project, we can continue to reliably serve customers in the growing areas of south Snohomish and north King counties well into the future,” said Shawnte Anderson, Puget Sound Energy’s Natural Gas project manager.

Pending all federal, state and local regulatory approvals, construction-related activities are scheduled to begin in the second quarter of 2019 and would be completed in the fourth quarter of 2019.

“Demand for natural gas in the North Seattle region and other major markets continues to grow as customers recognize its value as a clean, affordable and abundant energy source,” said Walter Bennett, senior vice president of Williams Partners’ West operating area. “The North Seattle Lateral Upgrade project will add important energy infrastructure necessary to meet the region’s growing demand for natural gas.”

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