March 2024, Vol. 251, No. 3


Projects March 2024

FERC Approves MVP’s Southgate Gas Pipeline Extension 

The Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) achieved significant milestones, securing two federal approvals from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), The Roanoke Times reported.

The first approval allows for increased rates on the transportation of natural gas through the 303-mile pipeline, while the second grants additional time for the construction of a North Carolina extension known as the Southgate Project. 

Over its nearly decade-long existence, the MVP has encountered formidable opposition, contributing to construction delays and a surge in project costs.

FERC, in its order, acknowledged Mountain Valley’s revised cost of service and recourse rates, stating, “Mountain Valley has provided sufficient support for its revised cost of service and revised recourse rates.” 

The rate change, according to Mountain Valley spokeswoman Natalie Cox, will not affect previously negotiated agreements with current shippers. 

The second FERC approval pertained to the Southgate Project, a 75-mile extension into North Carolina. Initially proposed in 2018, the project faced delays due to legal challenges against MVP's government permits.

After a law fast-tracked the main pipeline’s completion in June, Mountain Valley sought a three-year extension for Southgate, which still needs to obtain at least two state permits, with no current estimate for the commencement of work.

Regulator Clears Trans Mountain, Completion Back On 

The Canada Energy Regulator (CER) approved a request for a change in construction for the final stretch of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion project, clearing the path for its completion early this year. 

This did not happen before things got a little dicey, though. The CER earlier rejected the change, which Trans Mountain said at the time could result in a two-year delay. 

The 590,000-bpd expansion will nearly triple the flow of crude on Trans Mountain from Alberta to Canada’s Pacific Coast. he expanded pipeline will increase access for Canadian oil to refineries on the U.S. West Coast and in Asia. 

Canada’s crude oil production increased steadily for most of the last 13 years.

Most new growth in Canada’s crude oil production is concentrated in the landlocked province of Alberta. In 2022, Alberta’s crude oil production accounted for 82.7% of total crude oil production in Canada, up from 76.1% in 2012. 

Currently, more crude oil flows from Canda to the United States than to any other country by a wide margin. 

Santos’ Subsea Pipeline Clears Construction Hurdle 

Australia’s Santos can proceed with construction of an undersea pipeline vital to its $4.3 billion Barossa gas project after a court ruled in favor of the oil and gas firm in a dispute with an Indigenous man looking to pause the work. 

Work on the pipeline, which will connect the Barossa gas field to a processing plant in the northern Darwin, was put on hold by court order in November after a suit by a member of an Indigenous group regarded as traditional landowners from the nearby Tiwi Islands. 

However, Justice Natalie Charlesworth dismissed Munkara's application and lifted the November court injunction, opening the door for Santos to commence work on the pipeline. 

The Barossa project, co-owned by South Korean energy company SK E&S and Japan’s JERA, still needs several environmental plans approved to proceed. A revised drilling plan was approved by the petroleum regulator in December. 

Total Looks at Land for Uganda, Tanzania Pipeline Projects 

Lionel Zinsou, an expert in African economic development, will evaluate TotalEnergy’s land acquisition program conducted in Uganda and Tanzania as part of the Tilenga and East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) projects. 

As the land acquisition process draws to a close, this process will assess the actions taken by TotalEnergies EP Uganda and EACOP to contribute to the improvement of the living conditions for the people affected by these land acquisitions and suggest additional measures to be implemented if needed.  

The mission will submit its report by April 2024, and its conclusions will be shared with the Tilenga and EACOP project partners. 

The Tilenga and EACOP projects include a land acquisition program covering 6,400 hectares, carried out on behalf of the Ugandan and Tanzanian governments.

This program concerns 19,140 households and communities owning or using plots of land and includes the relocation of 775 primary residences. To date, 98% of the households concerned have signed compensation agreements, 97% have received their compensation and 98% of households to be relocated have taken possession of their new homes. 

CCUS Project Secures Bulk of ROW Needed in North Dakota

Summit Carbon Solutions acquired 80% of the right-of-way (ROW) needed for its proposed carbon capture, transport, and storage project across North Dakota.

This comes after the Public Service Commission (PSC) initially denied the company’s permit, prompting the company to undertake extensive rerouting that added 12 miles to the routes. 

“Working with the Summit team was fair and mutually beneficial,” said Bruce Speich, a Milnor, North Dakota landowner. “Together, we’re making a big difference for the future of agriculture and energy in North Dakota.” 

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