(Reuters) – Equitrans Midstream Corp said on Monday it will evaluate the cost and timing of the completion of the Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline based on ongoing litigation and upcoming federal approvals.

FILE PHOTO: An aerial view of the under-construction Mountain Valley Pipeline near Blacksburg, Virginia, U.S. September 30, 2019. REUTERS/Charles Mostoller

The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) gave Mountain Valley permission late Friday to resume some construction on its $5.4 billion-$5.7 billion pipeline, which runs from Virginia to West Virginia.

“As the litigation process progresses and as we receive additional information from FERC regarding potentially releasing the remainder of the route for construction, (Mountain Valley) will continue to evaluate its current construction plans, budget, and schedule,” Equitrans said.

Mountain Valley is one of several U.S. oil and gas pipelines delayed by regulatory and legal fights with environmental and local groups that found problems with federal permits issued by the Trump administration.

FERC suspended work on Mountain Valley a year ago due to litigation over the project’s Biological Opinion from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), which allows construction in areas inhabited by endangered and threatened species.

The FWS issued a new Biological Opinion in early September. Environmental and other groups continue to challenge the latest FWS approval and other federal permits in court.

Analysts at Height Capital Markets said they expect the project to enter service in mid 2021 but noted timing could slip to the third quarter of 2021 if legal challenges prevent some stream crossings.

“We acknowledge the legal challenge that is currently before Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and have agreed to temporarily delay stream and waterbody activities out of respect for that process,” Equitrans said.

Equitrans has said it expects the pipeline, which is about 92% complete, to enter service in early

(RTTNews) – bp plc (BP.L, BP_UN.TO, BP) announced Monday that production has begun from its Block 61 Phase 2 Ghazeer gas field in Oman, 33 months after the development was approved.

Ghazeer was initially expected to come into production in 2021. The first phase of development of Block 61 – Khazzan – was brought online in September 2017.

Total production capacity from Block 61, comprising both Khazzan and Ghazeer, is expected to rise to 1.5 billion cubic feet of gas a day and more than 65,000 barrels a day of associated condensate. With an estimated 10.5 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas resources, the block has the capacity to deliver approximately 35% of Oman’s total gas demand.

Mohammed Al Rumhy, Minister of Energy & Minerals of the Sultanate of Oman, stated that the gas from Ghazeer will contribute towards Oman’s 2040 vision in terms of providing additional energy to local industries as well as diversifying the economy.

Bernard Looney, bp chief executive, said, “This project has been delivered with capital discipline four months early, wells are being drilled in record times and, importantly, safety performance has been excellent. It exemplifies what a strong and resilient hydrocarbons business looks like – a core part of our strategy.”

The company noted that as this important first gas milestone is achieved, Omanisation in bp Oman reached over 80%.

Omani-registered companies were also used for over 85% of all project spend.

In London, bp shares are trading at 218.35 pence, down 1.69 percent.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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By Ron Bousso

LONDON, Oct 12 (Reuters)BP BP.L started production at Oman’s giant Ghazeer natural gas field in Oman which is set to underpin the company’s oil and gas output for years even as it shifts to renewables.

The London-based company said in a statement that Ghazeer, the second phase of development of Block 61, started four months ahead of schedule and below its planned budget.

BP is in the midst of the largest overhaul in its history after CEO Bernard Looney set out a path to rapidly shift BP to renewable power and reduce its oil and gas production by 1 million barrels per day by 2030.

But oil and gas is set to help pay for the shift in the coming decade.

“It is absolutely central for BP because it generates the funding allowing us to invest in new businesses and transform the company,” Gordon Birrell, BP head of oil and gas operations, told Reuters.

BP, which wants to sell $25 billion of assets by 2025, is in talks to sell down its stake in Oman, industry sources have told Reuters.

The first phase, Khazzan, was brought online in September 2017. Total production capacity from the block is expected to reach 1.5 billion cubic feet of gas a day and more than 65,000 barrels a day of associated condensate.

BP holds 60% of the Block 61 project, Oman’s national oil and gas company 30% and Malaysia’s Petronas PETRA.UL another 10%.

(Reporting by Ron Bousso, editing by Louise Heavens)

(([email protected]; +44 (0) 2075422161; Reuters Messaging: [email protected]))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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JERUSALEM (AP) — Five years after Israel signed a landmark agreement to develop large offshore gas fields over the objections of antitrust authorities, environmentalists and consumer advocates, ordinary Israelis have yet to see the windfall promised by the government.

The deal has chiseled away at the monopoly held by Houston-based Noble Energy and Israel’s Delek Group, which discovered and developed the fields, bringing prices down. The country is on track to phase out coal and derive nearly all its electricity from cleaner-burning gas and solar power by 2025, and is exporting gas to neighboring Egypt and Jordan.

But the financial benefits have yet to trickle down to Israeli consumers, who continue to pay stubbornly high electricity costs even as oil and gas prices have plunged in recent years.

As the scramble for natural gas creates new alliances and rivalries across the eastern Mediterranean, Israel’s experience shows that while big gas discoveries can yield geopolitical clout they don’t always deliver the riches promised by politicians.

The government says the gas reserves have turned Israel into a regional player and solidified ties with two Arab neighbors. Israel has also teamed up with Cyprus and Greece for a planned $6 billion pipeline to Europe, strengthening its position as it prepares to hold rare talks with Lebanon this week over their disputed maritime border.

But the so-called EastMed pipeline has heightened tensions with Turkey and is fraught with political and logistical challenges. It could prove infeasible if gas prices remain low and Europe accelerates its shift to renewable energy.

At the time of the 2015 gas deal, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised “hundreds of millions of shekels for education, welfare, health and for every Israeli citizen,” but a hoped-for sovereign wealth fund has yet to materialize because revenues have been lower than expected.


(Bloomberg) — Investment in natural gas projects across the Middle East and North Africa will rise, even as the coronavirus pandemic damps demand for the fuel, according to Arab Petroleum Investments Corp.

a close up of a light pole: Iranian Petrochemicals Production at Pars Special Economic Energy Zone

© Bloomberg
Iranian Petrochemicals Production at Pars Special Economic Energy Zone

Gas projects planned or under development in the region will require around $211 billion in investment between 2020 and 2024, the multilateral lender said Monday in a statement. In its previous investment outlook, Apicorp estimated that spending would total $185 billion between 2019 and 2023.

Expansion of output in Qatar, the biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas, will account for $22 billion of planned investment, Saudi Arabia-based Apicorp said.

Middle Eastern states are lining up new gas projects while cutting oil-related investments, though the pandemic has battered prices for both fossil fuels. This is partly because governments are promoting the use of gas to produce electricity instead of crude, a more polluting alternative.

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The battle to secure LNG buyers will become “fiercer” over the next two or three years, and some producers may opt to consume more gas at home if global prices for LNG remain low, Apicorp’s Chief Economist, Leila Benali, said on Bloomberg TV.

“The key question is how you monetize the gas — whether you export it or consume it domestically,” Benali said. “A player should go where it can get the most monetization for the fuel that it’s producing.”

State-run companies and entities account for as much as 92% of investments in the region’s gas projects, according to Apicorp research.

(Updates with economist comments in fifth and sixth paragraphs.)

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