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    FERC seeks answers on Energy Transfer pipeline violations

Summary

Drilling operations allegedly resulted in a 2mn gallon release of contaminated fluids.

by: Daniel Graeber

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FERC seeks answers on Energy Transfer pipeline violations

The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on December 16 asked midstream company Energy Transfer Partners to explain why it should not have to pay a $40mn penalty for violations during the construction of its Rover natural gas pipeline.

In a letter to Energy Transfer Partners and its Rover Pipeline subsidiary, FERC asked why it should avoid blame for “intentionally” including diesel, “other toxic substances and unapproved additives” into drilling mud during operations for pipeline construction in Ohio.

FERC alleged that shortly after that drilling began in April 2017 under the Tuscarawas River in Ohio, there was a “large, inadvertent release” of 2mn gallons of contaminated drilling mud that migrated to a nearby protected wetland. Testing carried out by Ohio’s Environmental Protection Agency found the leaked fluid had characteristics similar to diesel fuel.

FERC asked “Rover to show cause why it should not be assessed a civil penalty in the amount of $40mn.

The Rover pipeline extends 711 miles, carrying gas from the Appalachia shale basin to Midwest outlets.

Alexis Daniels, a spokesperson for Energy Transfer, told the Reuters news agency that the company learned after the fact that “a rogue employee of an independent subcontractor has admitted under oath to have committed this act on his own volition and then tried to hide it.”

Parties involved have 30 days to reply to FERC’s letter.