Monthly Archives: June 2015

Sunoco Pipeline disclosed plans for third Mariner East Pipeline

Sunoco Pipeline has obtained approval for Pennsylvania service via a pipeline placed into service in 1936. Repair and replacement work on that Mariner East 1 pipeline is ongoing. Sunoco pipeline has also obtained federal approval to construct an interstate Mariner East 2 pipeline to transport propane and ethane. Sunoco Pipeline has not obtained eminent domain power for this pipeline, although the company regularly asserts that is has that power via state law. The state of Pennsylvania has no jurisdiction, or power, to provide eminent domain power for the interstate pipeline known as Mariner East 2. Sunoco has now disclosed a plan for a third pipeline, as discussed below.

Mariner East 2 (+1): Sunoco eyes second Pa pipeline

Written by: Nick Malawskey |

Photo above: Sunoco Logistics’ Mechanicsburg facility, where work is currently underway related to the Mariner East I pipeline. (Nick Malawskey,

Sunoco Logistics said Thursday it is considering doubling-down on its Mariner East II project, potentially adding a second pipeline as part of the overall project.

The Philadelphia-based company said it is still acquiring right-of-way for the Mariner East II project, which it is expecting to go live by the end of next year. On Thursday company spokesman Jeffrey Shields said that based on interest in the project, Sunoco is now considering building two parallel lines as part of Mariner East II.

The 350-mile long pipeline will run from Ohio to Marcus Hook near Philadelphia, and will transport natural gas liquids for local and international markets.

It will roughly parallel the company’s existing Mariner East pipeline, which has been retrofitted to carry propane from western Pennsylvania to Marcus Hook. Mariner East formerly carried oil and oil-related projects from the coast west.

Shields said whether or not the company doubles-down on Mariner East II will largely depend on how successfully the company can sell capacity. If there is enough interest, Sunoco could hold an “open season” – in which gas providers contract for capacity, later this year.

“It’s not a done deal, we’re still gaging the interest,” he said.

Building both pipelines at the same time, Shields said, would limit construction impacts on local landowners and communities.

Earlier this year Sunoco Logistics withdrew its petition to the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission to be exempted from local zoning rules along the pipeline route. The company can still use eminent domain to build the pipeline, but will have to comply with local rules when building pump stations or other structures.

When completed, Mariner East 2 could carry between 250,000 and 675,000 barrels per day across the state.

By |June 23rd, 2015|Categories: Pipeline Construction|

Pipeline Leak Reflects Risk

A pipeline leak and fire near Williamsport, Pennsylvania threatened a large area before being contained. Williams Company, which is proposing the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline through the area, shut off the natural gas. The event reflects the risk to property and property owners.

Update: Evacuation Lifted After Reported Gas Line Rupture

Posted  June 9, 2015, by Sarah Buynovsky  

JORDAN TOWNSHIP — Emergency crews evacuated homes for a time near the Lycoming/Columbia County line because of a reported natural gas line rupture.

According to Columbia County EMA officials, there was a gas rupture and leak around 9:30 p.m. on Wilson Road in Jordan Township near Unityville. There was initially a fire, but it was put out. An initial evacuation radius of three miles was reduced to one and a half miles. About 130 people went to shelters set up at two nearby fire stations.

Just before midnight, the evacuation order was lifted and those residents were allowed to return to their homes. There are no reports of any injuries.

“It almost sounded like an airplane crash,” said Craig Seely of Unityville. “It just started roaring. It sounded kind of like about 500 freight trains running down the track at the same time. Windows started rattling in the house. It shook the house.”

“It was very loud, kind of a roar, almost a little bit like an explosion followed by a loud roar,” said Benton Borough EMA Coordinator Dan Jankowski. “Actually my thought at the time was that it might have been a gas line that is in that area. There was some conjecture that it was a plane crash. It was that loud.”

EMA officials said the gas was quickly shut off by Williams Gas workers who were called to the scene.

By |June 16th, 2015|Categories: Pipeline Construction|

Sunoco Pipeline seeks property in two townships

Sunoco Pipeline seeking property in Mt. Pleasant, Independence townships

Company wants rights-of-way in Mt. Pleasant, Independence townships

By: Barbara Miller
Staff Writer
Published: June 1, 2015 – Updated: June 2, 2015 9:56 pm

Sunoco Pipeline LP of Pennsylvania filed eminent domain documents in Washington County Court, seeking temporary and permanent rights-of-way on the land of property owners in two townships to move natural gas products to the Philadelphia area as part of a project the company said could have a $4.2 billion economic impact on Pennsylvania.

The company called its Mariner East project “one of the largest investments in the history of the Commonwealth, creating more than 30,100 jobs during the construction period, which would result in workers earning $1.9 billion.”

In court documents, Sunoco Pipeline said its Mariner East pipeline was constructed, and it began work on the second phase of the Mariner East project, known as the Mariner East 2 Pipeline, part of which it plans to build in Washington County.

The eminent domain cases were filed against Martha J. and Cary Dwayne Cowden of Henderson Road, Mt. Pleasant Township, and Jacqueline Eakin of Short Cut Road, Independence Township.

Eakin said she was served with a copy of the petition Friday evening and she talked to an attorney Monday morning.

She has lived at her address since 1964. Before discussing the eminent domain case with a reporter, she said, “I think I better talk to my lawyer. I’ve never had to have a lawyer before.”

Temporary and permanent easements Sunoco is seeking on Eakin’s property total 2.78 acres.

Martha Cowden said Monday, “They want to put a pipeline through my property, and I don’t want them to. I only have an acre, and it would be going right by my back door. I’m thinking about getting a lawyer.”

On the Cowden property, Sunoco is seeking a permanent easement of .11 acres, temporary work space of .15 acres and a temporary access road covering .06 acres.

Sunoco Pipeline asserted since 2002, it has been regulated by the state Public Utility Commission as a public utility, a status it said the PUC reaffirmed both last year and this year.

In 2012, Sunoco announced the Mariner East pipeline project for “wet” gas products such as propane, ethane and butane, designed to relieve the oversupply of natural gas liquids in the Marcellus and Utica Shale basins and to alleviate supply-side shortages of propane and related products in parts of Pennsylvania and the Northeast.

The filing in Washington County Court stresses the difference between an intrastate project – solely within Pennsylvania – and an interstate project that would cross Pennsylvania’s boundaries.

“While the first phase of the Mariner East project initially prioritized the interstate pipeline transportation service of propane and ethane from the Marcellus and Utica basins eastward to the Marcus Hook Industrial Complex … Sunoco Pipeline’s business plan for the Mariner East project as a whole always contemplated intrastate transportation of propane for delivery to customers in Pennsylvania,” the petitions filed in Washington County Court state.

“During and following the 2013-14 winter season, Sunoco Pipeline experienced a significant increase in shipper demand for intrastate shipments of propane due to an increase in local consumer demand for propane,” it continued.

In the filing, Sunoco attributed the changes in market conditions to the harsh winter and “a deficit of pipeline infrastructure. The resulting price spikes and shortages prompted unprecedented emergency measures from both the state and federal governments.”

Sunoco said it accelerated its business plan to provide intrastate shipments of propane within Pennsylvania in addition to interstate shipments of propane and ethane, and initiated several proceedings with the PUC.

The regulatory body granted Sunoco Pipeline the authority to suspend and abandon its provision of east-west gasoline and distillate service, with corresponding tariffs, in certain territories along its pipeline to enable the west-to-east Mariner East service of natural gas liquids in that area. The pipeline stretches between Delmont, Westmoreland County, and Twin Oaks, Delaware County, in the Philadelphia metropolitan area.

Sunoco Pipeline’s service territory did not originally include Washington County, but because Mariner East service would originate here, last June Sunoco Pipeline filed an application to expand into Washington County. The PUC granted this revision in August of last year, saying Pennsylvanians and others would benefit from the increased supply of propane as a heating fuel and the “proposed service will offer a safer and more economic transportation alternative for shippers to existing rail and trucking services.”

Sunoco proposed to add the origin point of MarkWest Energy Partners L.P. in Houston Borough to the pipeline, which the PUC approved in March of this year.

Sunoco Pipeline was unable to reach an agreement with Eakins and the Cowdens to acquire the easements, so it has, by corporate resolution, “determined to condemn and (to) appropriate easements” and posted bonds totaling $9,000.

Joe McGinn, senior manager for public affairs for Sunoco Logistics, said last year in an Observer-Reporter story the Mariner East project involved adding about 50 miles of pipeline in parts of Washington and Westmoreland counties that will join Sunoco’s existing pipeline in Delmont. From there, the product will be transported to Sunoco’s Marcus Hook refinery just outside Philadelphia.

McGinn said Sunoco has contracts from companies including Range Resources and Consol Energy to move their “wet gas” production, which includes ethane, from the MarkWest fractionation plant in Chartiers Township to the refinery. He explained if the proposed Shell cracker plant is built in Beaver County, there will be a local market for ethane produced here, but without it, the ethane can be sold elsewhere.

Sunoco is spending a total of $600 million for its east and west pipeline projects. With the exception of some of the valves, the Mariner East 2 pipeline will be routed below ground, with most of it paralleling the right-of-way of the Mariner East 1 pipeline.

Sunoco Pipeline did not identify other landowners along the Mariner East 2 route “to protect (their) anonymity,” it said in the petition to the court.

By |June 4th, 2015|Categories: Eminent domain, Pipeline Construction, Property Rights|