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Energy Transfer Sells Stake In Troubled Rover Pipeline

Energy Transfer Partners is selling a 32.44-percent stake in an entity of Rover Pipeline Project to Blackstone Energy Partners for around US$1.57 billion, while the US$4.2-billion Rover natural gas pipeline currently under construction is facing possible delays and mounting environmental scrutiny.

Energy Transfer Partners said on Monday that its wholly owned subsidiaries Energy Transfer Interstate Holdings, LLC and ET Rover Pipeline LLC (HoldCo), have agreed to sell 49.9 percent in HoldCo to funds managed by Blackstone Energy Partners and Blackstone Capital Partners in exchange for some US$1.57 billion in cash. HoldCo owns 65 percent in Rover Pipeline LLC.

At closing of the transaction—expected to take place in the fourth quarter of 2017—HoldCo will be owned 50.1 percent by Energy Transfer and 49.9 percent by Blackstone, said ETP, which is also behind the controversial Dakota Access pipeline.

The US$4.2-billion 700-mile-long Rover pipeline project currently under construction is planned to connect Marcellus and Utica Shale supplies to markets in the Midwest, Northeast, East Coast, Great Lakes, and Gulf Coast regions of the United States, and Canada.

The Rover pipeline, however, has faced multiple hurdles along its construction path, as several states have ordered additional environmental scrutiny and some have ordered work be stopped in some areas.

Last month, West Virginia environmental regulators ordered the project to cease and desist some land development activities in the state over violations of state environmental regulations, until it fully complies with all rules.

Related: Is Wall Street Funding A Shale Failure?

Ohio has asked for higher penalties over the spill of drilling mud into a wetland in Stark County in April. Ohio and Michigan residents are asking the Army Corps of Engineers to revoke a permit for the pipeline.   

The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) said in a staff notice last month that “Staff has preliminarily determined that, between February 2015 and September 2016, Rover did not fully and forthrightly disclose all relevant information to the Commission.”

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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