HERE IT COMES
SUNOCO: WE’LL HAVE ‘HYBRID’ LINE CARRYING GASES BY END OF YEAR
Sections of pipe for Sunoco’s Mariner East 2 pipeline project sit along Boot road in East Goshen. The company says it will put the line into service by the end of the year.
EAST GOSHEN >> Already 18 months behind schedule, Sunoco/Energy Transfer announced Thursday that the pipeline builder will start shipping natural gas liquids along a hybrid pipeline in Chester and Delaware counties by the end of the year.
Sunoco intends to connect three different sized pipes along a 350-mile line pipeline stretching from Marcellus shale deposits in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania to the former Marcus Hook, Delaware County Refinery.
Plans originally called for construction of a 16-inch (Mariner East 2X pipeline) and 20-inch (Mariner East 2 pipeline) to follow a path along an existing 1930s easement.
New plans call for a mishmash of 20-inch, 16-inch and an existing 12-inch pipe, which would partially take a new route. There will be an increased impact on many home and business owners with the route changes.
Sunoco is referring to the hybrid pipeline as Mariner East 2.
“Our plan is to put ME2 into service by the end of this year, temporarily using an upgraded section of our exiting 12-inch line,” Lisa Dillinger, Sunoco/ET spokeswoman said.
Tom Long, Sunoco/ET chief financial officer, said during a Thursday quarterly earnings call that the company was “pushing hard as everybody knows,” with 99 percent of mainline construction complete and 80 percent of hydro-testing completed.
Dillinger responded to a reporter’s request concerning an update on how many miles of pipe had been installed in Delaware and Chester counties.
“That is not information we have provided,” she said.
“This plan does not require any new permits, and we have made all applicable regulatory notifications,” Long said.
Grassroots organization Del-Chesco United released the following statement Friday: “Sunoco has acknowledged yet another in a lengthy series of Mariner East delays. Sunoco has misled our communities about the safety risks of its highly volatile liquids export project, just as it continues to mislead investors about its ability to execute. Sunoco’s latest improbable plan, to cobble together sections of an ancient pipe that’s leaked multiple times in Delaware and Chester counties is unlikely to reassure either impacted communities or investors.”
The existing 12-inch pipeline spilled about 33,000 gallons of gasoline in June near Darby Creek, and has leaked several other times.
Although Sunoco plans call for the Mariner East 2 pipeline to run through West Goshen activist Tom Casey’s yard, he maintains a sense of humor.
“Mariner project near completion. Again?” Casey said. “I had to check my calendar after hearing this to see what year it was; we’ve heard this since 2014.
“Now, just in time for Christmas, ETP is promising us that the ‘Frankenpipe’ will be completed. It may need to be renamed the ‘Grinchpipe!’ And much like the Grinch, who scorns the Whos from above, ETP looks to be no different.
“There is little hope of their heart growing three sizes anytime soon.”
State Sen. Andy Dinniman, D-19 of West Whiteland, has become a vocal pipeline critic. He released the following statement on Friday, while noting that Sunoco has renamed the hybrid pipeline:
“Sunoco is again attempting to put spin before safety to try to satisfy its investors and get its product to market as fast as possible. The piecemeal pipeline it’s now calling ‘Mariner East 2’ looks nothing like the original project it proposed and received approvals for. In fact, the cobbling together of new and antiquated pipelines of varying sizes appears to have the potential for even more safety risks and concerns. To be blunt, Sunoco seems to have no shortage of bad ideas when it comes to the Mariner East project. This latest announcement is only the latest chapter in a saga that can best be described as ‘how not to install a pipeline.’”
Activist and mother Melissa DiBernardino said that Sunoco has created a recipe for disaster:
“A company with Sunoco’s leak and public transparency history, mixing together the following ingredients:
- Segments of 16- and 20inch pipelines that have not only been sitting out much longer than studies show for the coating to keep its integrity (1 year) but have also had sections dug up and replaced for ‘coating issues’ and welds checked for ‘questionable weld inspections.’
- Mixed in with a repurposed 87-year-old 12-inch pipeline that has leaked multiple times.
- Throw in a whole lot of high pressured, highly combustible, colorless and odorless HVLs.
- No credible emergency/ evacuation plans.”
Changes are ongoing at Marcus Hook, Dillinger wrote: “Marcus Hook Industrial Complex will revitalize the former refinery into a world-class natural gas liquids hub. To achieve this, our facility has built new processing units, including an ethane/propane splitter and ethane and propane chilling and refrigerated storage. Going back to 2013, we have built six tanks storing more than 2 million barrels of propane, ethane and butane to support our Mariner East 1 and Mariner East 2 pipeline systems. Energy Transfer has also built a fractionator at MHIC to process natural gas liquids that it will transport along Mariner East 2 from western Pennsylvania. The facility began receiving propane in January 2015, and it ships approximately 70,000 barrels a day of propane and ethane for distribution to local, regional and international markets. The facility last month commissioned a first-of-its-kind ethane truck-loading rack to complement its existing propane terminal that supplies propane for local/regional delivery.”
Sections of the Mariner East 2 pipeline near Concord Avenue in Uwchlan.