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Rover Pipeline faces more delays

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World Pipelines,

Energy Transfer Partners LP's Rover pipeline, the biggest natural gas pipeline under construction in the US, has received more bad news after West Virginia told the company to stop some work, citing environmental violations, regulators said on Monday.

The US$4.2 billion pipeline already faces sanctions for violations in Ohio and a federal ban on drilling activity that has delayed the anticipated start-up of the project's first phase to the late summer from July.

West Virginia's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued the order to stop activity in certain areas on 17 July, which was made public on Monday in a US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission filing. The state, in the filing, noted sediment deposits and improper erosion controls, along with other violations.

ETP said it still expected the second and final phase of the project to start up in November.

"We are complying with the DEP, and have stopped construction at the areas noted in the order. We do not anticipate any changes to our timeline," ETP spokeswoman Alexis Daniel said.

The line from Pennsylvania to the Canadian province of Ontario will be able to carry up to 3.25 billion ft3/d of gas from the Marcellus and Utica shale fields in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. One billion ft3 of gas is enough to power about 5 million US homes.

WVDEP conducted site inspections of Rover construction in progress on 26 April and 12 July and said it observed several violations related to improper sediment and erosion controls. The alleged violations occurred as Rover constructed its Sherwood Lateral and Sherwood Compressor Station in West Virginia’s Doddridge and Tyler counties.

Rover has been ordered to "immediately install and maintain necessary stormwater and sediment/erosion control devices to prevent the release of sediment-laden water into the waters of the state" and to submit a detailed plan of corrective action.

Asked about the order, ETP spokeswoman Alexis Daniel said the operator would "continue to work with" WVDEP "to resolve these issues in a manner that is satisfactory to all parties.” Construction continues, she said, in West Virginia’s Hancock and Marshall counties.

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