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Energy Transfer asks for certificate for 3.25-Bcf/d Rover line within 2 weeks

Energy Transfer Partners LP's Rover Pipeline LLC urged FERC to grant authorization by the end of December for the Rover natural gas pipeline project that is supposed to allow producers to move the first volumes of an eventual 3.25 Bcf/d of Appalachian supplies to Midwest, Gulf Coast and Canadian markets starting in July 2017.

Rover explained that approval before the end of the year would allow it to begin construction by mid-January 2017. If FERC does not issue the approval, the company said, a year delay and "devastating implications" for its customers could result.

"Achieving this commencement of construction dates is vital to allow Rover to comply on a timely basis with certain environmental conditions contained in the final environmental impact statement," Rover Pipeline said in a Dec. 16 letter to the commission.

FERC published a final but conditional environmental impact statement for the estimated $4.2 billion project in July. One of the conditions outlined when pre-construction tree-felling activities could occur. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has approved seasonal windows for tree felling between Oct. 1 and March 31 in Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania and between Nov. 15 and March 31 in West Virginia. Rover Pipeline estimated that approximately 2,918 acres of land will require tree clearing within these windows along 511 miles of pipeline route and around aboveground equipment. Rover Pipeline estimated that if it cannot begin clearing trees by mid-January, the project would probably be delayed one year and miss the in-service date requested by the project's producer shippers.

"Continued delays in project execution will have devastating implications for these producer-shippers who have over 1.55 Bcf/d of natural gas scheduled to begin flowing in July 2017 and up to 3.15 Bcf/d starting in November 2017," Rover Pipeline said. The company said other parties would suffer negative economic impacts from the delay, including those in the markets anticipating access to the Marcellus and Utica shale supplies. (FERC docket CP15-93)