As the result of a rumor in last Saturday’s Facts & Rumors Newsletter, I’ve received the following information from Garland Thompson.
It’s very possible that Energy Transfer Partners’ (ETP) planned re-use of an existing right-of-way heading south from Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania could be “Pipeline B.” Here’s why I think so:
I ran into an ETP executive at the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce who showed a chart tracing an existing right-of-way from Susquehanna County to Marcus Hook, the former Sunoco refinery now being re-purposed as the Marcus Hook Industrial Complex. That pipeline, now apparently defunct, is still in the ground and Energy Transfer owns the right-of-way.
As it happens, Philadelphia Energy Solutions, operator of the former Sunoco refinery in South Philadelphia, is seeking a new supply of Marcellus Shale gas for three planned expansion projects:
* A 100-megawatt, gas-fired co-generator;
* A gas-to-liquids plant;
* A fertilizer plant, to produce ammonia, ammonium nitrate and urea.
Phil Rinaldi, Philadelphia Energy’s chief executive, has been for some time been working with the Chamber and a consortium of Delaware Valley companies — including Braskem America just downriver in Trainer — promoting support for a 42-inch gas line, to supply his refinery expansion plans, but also to supply all the industries along the Delaware. As Rinaldi explained in a Chamber breakfast, the local distribution system is incapable of supplying the amounts of gas needed for his projects, and a new supply would not only support his refinery’s growth, it would open up new opportunities for other riverside industries. U.S. Rep. Meehan, R-Delaware County, has joined with Rinaldi to lead the regional business push.
Looking at the business relationship — Energy Transfer Partners has part-ownership of the Joint Venture that is Philadelphia Energy Solutions — it makes sense that ETP, a major builder and operator of transmission lines, would have a keen interest in supporting Rinaldi’s pipeline push with a line it can wholly own. And that existing right-of-way, re-purposed to bring natural gas directly to Philadelphia, easily can fit the bill.
I reached out to the ETP executive, seeking more information, but his reply indicated that “producers” in upstate Pennsylvania were not willing to commit to help fund the pipeline. But it was not lost on me that Cabot Energy had a representative at those Chamber of Commerce breakfast meetings promoting an “Energy Hub” at Philadelphia, or that Cabot, the major producer in Susquehanna County, has drilled wells that are shut in for lack of takeaway capacity. So from this vantage, it’s very likely that the ETP line, whether it’s “Pipeline B,” will get built in the near future.
Garland L. Thompson, Contributing Editor, US Black Engineer & Information Technology.