U.S. OKs start of more ETP Rover natgas pipeline segments in Ohio

(Reuters) - U.S. federal energy regulators on Thursday approved Energy Transfer Partners LP's (ETP) ETP.N request to commence service on a couple more segments of its Rover natural gas pipeline in Ohio.

The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) authorized ETP to start service on the Supply Connector in Ohio and parts of Mainline B, which is a 42-inch (107-cm) pipe that runs alongside the 42-inch Mainline A pipe from southeast Ohio to northwest Ohio.

FERC, however, said it was still considering ETP’s request to start service on other pipeline segments, including the Burgettstown Lateral from Pennsylvania to Ohio and the Majorsville Lateral from West Virginia to Ohio.

FERC said it granted the authorization to start service on the Supply Header and Mainline B on the expectation that “rehabilitation and restoration of the affected areas are generally proceeding satisfactorily.”

At this time, final restoration of the Supply Header and Mainline B is over 90 percent complete, FERC said, noting that ETP has estimated it will complete full restoration by July 24.

ETP said on Wednesday that placing all of the requested segments into service would have unlocked about 0.85 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) of capacity that is not currently available to the market, which the company said could help offset the nation’s current storage deficit before next winter.

That deficit stands at over 500 billion cubic feet belowthe five-year average. One billion cubic feet is enough gas to supply about 5 million U.S. homes for a day. [EIA/GAS]The $4.2 billion Rover project is the biggest gas pipeline project under construction in the United States. It is designed to carry up to 3.25 bcfd of gas from the Marcellus and Utica shale fields in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia to the U.S. Midwest and Gulf Coast and Ontario in Canada.

ETP has said it wanted to put the entire Rover project into service by June 1. The Rover pipeline, which has been entering service in phases as ETP completes each section, is already capable of transporting 1.7 bcfd across Ohio and into Michigan.

Major producers that have signed up to use Rover include units of privately held Ascent Resources, Antero Resources Corp, Range Resources Corp, Southwestern Energy Co, Eclipse Resources Corp and EQT Corp.

Reporting by Scott DiSavino; editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jonathan Oatis