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Mariner East 2 to resume construction following agreement with Pa. regulators

The Mariner East 2 natural gas liquids pipeline is resuming constructionfollowing an agreement to pay a $12.6 million civil fine to settle anenvironmental dispute with Pennsylvania regulators.

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The project, designed to add 275,000 b/d of capacity to move propane andbutane from plants in western Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia to theMarcus Hook terminal in eastern Pennsylvania, remains on track to enterservice in the second quarter of 2018, Jeff Shields, a spokesman forproject owner Energy Transfer said in an email Friday.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection on Thursday saidit had entered into a consent order and agreement with Energy Transferaffiliate Sunoco Pipeline, the operator of ME2, to resolve issues thatcaused the DEP to order a halt to construction on the project last month.

"Since the permit suspension over a month ago, Sunoco has demonstratedthat it has taken steps to ensure the company will conduct the remainingpipeline construction activities in accordance with the law and permitconditions, and will be allowed to resume," DEP Secretary PatrickMcDonnell said in Thursday's statement.

The decision, which cited unpermitted pipeline installation activitiesand unauthorized releases of drilling fluid, follows a previoussuspension by state regulators of construction of a valve station on aportion of the line due to the release of drilling muds and sediment intostreams there.

That earlier suspension forced ETP to delay until the second quarter ofthis year the expected startup of Mariner East 2.

Sunoco Pipeline in a statement Thursday said it was "committed to fullycomplying with the DEP order." The pipeline company said mainlinepipeline construction on the project was approximately 93% complete andhorizontal directional drilling approximately 64% complete.

Mariner East II is the second phase of the Mariner East project designedto move NGLs from the gas-producing regions of the southwest AppalachianBasin to Marcus Hook, for processing and potentially for export. MARINER EAST 1 ENTERED SERVICE IN Q1 2016

The first phase of the project, referred to as Mariner East 1, consistedof interstate and intrastate propane and ethane service and commencedoperations in the fourth quarter of 2014 and the first quarter of 2016,respectively.

The completion of Mariner East 2 will expand the total takeaway capacityof the Mariner East system to 345,000 b/d of interstate and intrastatepropane, ethane and butane service. Construction of Mariner East 2 willconnect to NGL gathering systems in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio.

Mariner East 2 will include two pipelines, a 20-inch-diameter line and a16-inch-diameter line. The 20-inch line is scheduled to be in service inthe second quarter of 2018, while the 16-inch pipeline is scheduled to befinished in sometime in 2018, according to Sunoco. -- Jim Magill, jim.magill@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Rocco Canonica, newsdesk@spglobal.com