May 2022, Vol. 249, No. 5

Projects

Projects May 2022

$21 Million Investment Secured to Complete Mountain Valley Pipeline 

RGC Resources, parent company to Roanoke Gas Co. and RGC Midstream, closed a $21 million common stock investment by affiliates of The InterTech Group Inc., the company said. Resources also closed an additional $2 million common stock investment by long-time shareholder Ted Gibson. 

“InterTech’s investment in Resources positions us well as we continue Roanoke Gas’ system modernization and growth strategy,” Paul Nester, Resources president and CEO, said. “The investment will also greatly aid RGC Midstream in honoring its commitment, along with the other joint venture partners, to complete the Mountain Valley Pipeline project.” 

Following a string of roadblocks, federal regulators recently approved MVP’s request to bore under about 180 streams and wetlands it must cross to complete the natural gas pipeline. 

The Mountain Valley line stretches from West Virginia to Virginia and is one of a series of energy infrastructure projects that have been delayed by legal opposition and regulatory problems. 

When construction of Mountain Valley started in February 2018, Equitrans estimated the 303-mile (487.6-km) pipeline would cost about $3.5 billion and be completed by the end of 2018. 

Italy’s Draghi Discussed Idea of Italy–Spain Pipeline with Counterpart 

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said he has discussed the idea of building a gas pipeline to Spain with his Spanish counterpart as part of plans to wean Europe off Russian gas. 

Spain has the largest regasification capacity in Europe, but transporting the gas into Europe across the Pyrenees has been a problem because of bottlenecks. 

Europe, which sources about 40% of gas supplies from Russia, has been scrambling to find alternatives and diversify its supply mix following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. 

“The southern Mediterranean countries of Europe are now realizing they can be very important hubs for gas today but also, and above all, for hydrogen tomorrow,” Draghi said at a press conference.  

Draghi said replacing 30% to 40% of Russian supplies could be done almost immediately. 

Additionally, according to Reuters, Spanish gas transporter Enagas said it was weighing options with Madrid and operators in nearby countries to enhance  gas and hydrogen transport interconnects. 

Italy, which has pipeline connections to Algeria, Libya, and Azerbaijan, is keen to increase LNG imports to cut its reliance on Russia. 

Texas Pipeline Company Max Energy Purchases Southcross Gas Pipeline 

Texas pipeline company Max Energy purchased the Upper Gulf Coast Pipeline System from Southcross Gulf Coast Transmission Ltd., South Cross Gas Pipeline system, the company said.  

This purchase will add 328 miles (528 kilometers) of existing pipeline to the impressive collection of transportation, terminaling and loading infrastructure Max is putting together on the Texas Gulf Coast. 

“By purchasing the Southcross Gas Pipeline, Max Energy can now connect oil from all over the state to our Edna facility,” Todd Edwards, chairman at Max Energy, said. “We believe this will provide customers with alternatives to better optimize their crude oil movements and increase value throughout their supply chains.  

Max Energy will begin converting segments of the pipeline to crude operations. Before the end of the year, the company plans to have completed an interconnect with the Grey Oak Pipeline and the Victoria Express Pipeline, which will further expand access to growing crude production from the Permian and Eagle Ford basins.  

Max is also developing plans to connect its growing pipeline system to both the Houston and Corpus Christi markets.  

Max will be able to transport crude via pipelines between the major export ports of Houston, Corpus Christi and Calhoun, including connected header systems in Edna, Three Rivers, Taft and Helena. 

Baker Hughes to Provide Hydrogen-Ready Compressor for Greece Pipeline 

Baker Hughes has been awarded a contract by TERNA, the construction arm of GEK TERNA Group, to supply gas turbines and compressors that can run on a blend of natural gas and hydrogen for a new compression station of the Greek Natural Gas Transmission System.  

Baker Hughes will provide three compression trains for a total of three NovaLT12 hydrogen-ready gas turbines and three PCL compressors. For this project, the technology has been designed to support the compression station with the capability to transport up to 10% hydrogen.  

The station is expected to enter operation in 2024 and directly supports the European Union’s Hydrogen Strategy goals to accelerate the development of clean hydrogen and ensure its role as a cornerstone of a climate-neutral energy system by 2050. 

This latest order builds on Baker Hughes’ extensive experience in developing and supplying turbomachinery equipment to compress, transport and use hydrogen.  

In 2020, the company collaborated with energy infrastructure network provider Snam to introduce the NovaLT12 gas turbine for transporting hydrogen–gas blends within its pipeline network in Italy, marking the first time a hybrid hydrogen turbine was integrated into a natural gas pipeline system. 

ARM Energy Holdings Acquires Monument Pipeline from NextEra  

Infrastructure and energy marketing services firm ARM Energy Holdings, along with certain affiliates and various financial partners and co-investors, has acquired Houston-based natural gas pipeline Monument Pipeline from affiliates of NextEra Energy Partners.  

Monument provides natural gas transportation and marketing services to end-users in the Houston area and will be operated by affiliates of ARM. 

Monument is a natural gas transportation system with 156 miles (251 kilometers) of pipeline originating at the Katy Hub, with connections to the Houston Ship Channel, La Porte and League City market areas.  

Greece, Cyprus, Israel Work on Natgas Pipeline Projects Amid Ukraine War 

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, who met his Greek and Cypriot counterparts in Athens, told Reuters that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has changed the structure of the energy market in Europe and in the Middle East.

The three allies, he said, would seek to boost their energy ties and expand their cooperation in the coming months to include more countries. 

The European Union wants to cut reliance on Russian by two-thirds in 2022 and end all fossil fuel imports from there by 2027. 

Cyprus, Greece and Israel agreed to build the world’s longest and deepest underwater power cable across the Mediterranean to link their electricity grids.  

The Euro-Asia Interconnector is expected to be completed by 2024. 

Another project agreed to between the nations is the EastMed subsea pipeline, which is designed to supply Europe with natural gas from the eastern Mediterranean. 

Sempra Wins Extension to Build Pipelines in Texas, Louisiana 

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) granted Sempra Energy an extension to build two pipelines in Texas and Louisiana to a Texas liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant, according to Reuters. 

NextDecade, which is also asking for additional time to build the LNG project, did not comment immediately. 

Sempra Energy was granted an extension through March 31, 2023, for the   pipelines to the Port Arthur LNG facility. NextDecade also sought an extension, to November 2028, for its Rio Grande LNG project in Brownsville, Texas. 

NextDecade did not reply to a request for comment. 

NextDecade has signed a 20-year agreement to supply 1.5 mtpa of LNG from the proposed facility for delivery to a unit of China’s ENN Natural Gas Co. 

In January, NextDecade said a financial investment decision for the Rio Grande LNG project would be delayed until the second half of the year. It was originally expected to start producing LNG in 2023.  

At the start of 2020 and again in 2021, roughly a dozen firms signaled plans for financial investment decisions on proposed projects. But only Sempra’s Costa Azul in Mexico started construction in 2020. Numerous others have been pushed into 2022. 

Turkey Says Gas Pipeline with Israel Not Possible in Short-Term 

A potential gas pipeline project between Turkey and Israel is not feasible in the short-term and constructing a new alternative to Russian gas will not occur quickly, a Turkish foreign minister told Reuters. 

Turkey and Israel have been meeting in an effort to repair relations between the two, with energy emerging as a possible area of cooperation. 

The two nations expelled each other’s ambassadors in 2018 and bickered over Turkey’s support of the Hamas militant group, and the Palestinian conflict. 

Supreme Court Reinstates Trump-Era Clean Water Rule 

The U.S. Supreme Court at least temporarily revived a Trump-era rule designed to fast-track big energy projects by curtailing states’ ability to limit them by using the Clean Water Act. 

The 5–4 vote blocked an October ruling that set aside the 2020 rule, while industry groups and eight individual states appeal its validity. 

The majority gave no reasons for granting the application, which is common when emergency rulings are sought. 

In her dissenting opinion, Justice Elena Kagan, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor, said the case had not belonged on the emergency docket because no threat of immediate harm had been identified. 

The legal dispute stems from changes the Environmental Protection Agency made in July 2020 to its interpretation of Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, which gives states and eligible Native Americans some power over interstate pipelines, coal terminals and federally licensed projects. 

OGE Plans Pipeline Link for Wilhelmshaven LNG Terminal 

Open Grid Europe (OGE), the largest pipeline operator in Germany, will build an 18-mile (30-kilometer) liquefied natural gas (LNG) pipeline from a planned terminal at the North Sea port of Wilhelmshaven before 2022 is over. 

The pipeline is expected to have initial capacity of 353 Bcf (10 Bcm), potentially increasing to 989 Bcf (28 Bcm) with further expansion of the network over the next few years, the company said. 

OGE said the pipe will run from Wilhelmshaven to a long-distance NETRA pipeline, which will transport the gas further south and east, to be stored at a point near the Etzel underground storage facility. 

“The planned gas infrastructure in the Wilhelmshaven region secures a reliable and affordable gas supply from other sources and thus serves social peace and security of supply in Germany,” Thomas Huewener, OGE’s technical director told Reuters. 

Germany has yet to establish an LNG terminal, but three projects are under discussion. The government has announced it will fast-track LNG infrastructure to shift from Russian gas.  

USD Partners Completes Hardisty South Terminal Assets Acquisition 

SD Partners LP closed the previously announced acquisition of the Hardisty South terminal assets from USD Group LLC, the company said. 

The partnership’s combined Hardisty Terminal now has the designed takeaway capacity of three and one-half unit trains per day, or 262,500 bpd, including the newly acquired Hardisty South Terminal.  

In addition to increasing the size, scale, and growth capacity of the SD Partners’ asset base, the acquisition of the Hardisty South Terminal optimized the partnership’s Diluent Recovery Unit program’s functionality. 

The transaction, with cash consideration totaling $75 million, was approved by the board of directors of the general partner of the partnership, based on the approval and recommendation of its conflicts committee, which consists entirely of independent directors. 

USD Partners is a fee-based, master limited partnership designed to acquire, develop and operate midstream infrastructure and complementary assets.  

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