Sunoco: Mariner East 2 pipeline on track for June completion
The controversial Mariner East 2 pipeline is scheduled to enter service by the end of June, despite regulatory and legal delays, Natural Gas Intelligence reported.
The 350-mile pipeline will span Pennsylvania, including Westmoreland County, to carry pressurized propane, ethane and butane from the Marcellus Shale to the Sunoco refinery in Marcus Hook near Philadelphia.
Construction of the 16- and 20-inch lines began in February 2017 but has been held up by legal challenges originating mostly in the eastern part of the state. Lawsuits accused Energy Transfer Partners LP of environmental violations stemming from numerous spills of drilling lubricant.
Sunoco described the spills as “inadvertent returns” of bentonite, a nontoxic mix of clay and water that is used as a drill-bit lubricant during horizontal directional drilling.
In January , the state Department of Environmental Protection suspended all of Sunoco’s drilling permits after discovering that the company had used unauthorized drilling methods in seven counties. Horizontal drilling is used to lay pipe under roads, waterways, wetlands, wildlife habitats and other sensitive areas.
Sunoco reached a settlement with the state Department of Environmental Protection in early February in which it agreed to pay a $12.6 million fine, in exchange for permission to continue with construction.
In a recent quarterly earnings call, company officials said that 94 percent of the mainline construction is complete and 83 percent of the horizontal directional drills are complete, according to Natural Gas Intelligence.
In Westmoreland County, the pipeline traverses Sewickley, Hempfield, Penn, Salem, Loyalhanna and Derry townships.
Stephen Huba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-1280, [email protected] or via Twitter @shuba_trib.