Pennsylvania Suspends all Permit Work for Energy Transfer

(Reuters) - Pennsylvania environmental regulators said they have suspended all permit work for Energy Transfer LP (ET) because it failed to comply with an October order after an explosion on the Revolution natural gas pipeline in the western part of the state.

ET said the action does not affect operation of any pipeline that is in service or construction where permits have already been issued, adding that it is "committed to bringing the Revolution project into full compliance with all environmental permits and applicable regulations." 

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said the permit suspension by the state's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will affect the in-service date for Revolution, which is currently not in service, and the Mariner East 2 pipeline. Part of Mariner East 2 went into service at the end of December.

Wolf said there are 27 approvals currently under review by DEP for Mariner East 2. He said Revolution, a gas gathering line that feeds ET's Rover and Mariner East pipelines, will remain closed until full compliance has been achieved.

The Revolution explosion occurred on Sept. 10, and the DEP in October ordered Energy Transfer to "stabilize disturbed areas" of Revolution and "prevent further erosion from the construction area." The DEP, however, said the company "had not fulfilled the terms of the order and was not progressing toward compliance."

ET were not immediately available to say when the remaining part of Mariner East 2 or 2X would enter service. In the past, the company said 2X would enter service in the second half of 2019.

Mariner East 1, meanwhile, remains out of service after the discovery of a sink hole near the pipe in January. The pipe was also shut in March due to sink holes.

Energy Transfer started work on the $2.5 billion expansion of Mariner East in February 2017 and had planned to finish the new 350-mile pipeline in the third quarter of 2017. But completion was delayed by work stoppages by state agencies due to permit violations and other problems, including release of drilling fluids into waterways and the discovery of sinkholes.

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