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The Rover Pipeline

Natural gas from Southeast Ohio will be headed hundreds of miles away

SUMMERFIELD-Over the rolling hills and farmlands stretching across the Monroe and Noble county line, cattle farms and turkey hunters are sharing space with a new pipeline ultimately headed to Michigan and then on to Canada.

The Rover pipeline, owned by Energy Transfer Partners, is a new interstate natural gas pipeline system that will transport 3.25 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas through approximately 713 miles of 24-inch, 30-inch, 36-inch and 42-inch diameter underground pipeline through Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and Michigan.

“Rover has made a commitment to utilize 100 percent labor unions for the construction of the pipeline, and it is our priority to have as many as possible from local union halls when possible,” said Alexis Daniel, public relations and communication specialist for Energy Transfer Partners. “The project is estimated at approximately $4.2 billion.”

The principal purpose of the pipeline is to serve U.S. consumers. Currently, all the gas transported on Rover will be delivered into the pipeline grid in Ohio, Michigan and West Virginia via eight delivery points. Once delivered into the pipeline grid, the gas will be transported to domestic markets for consumption by commercial, residential or manufacturing consumers. Only the portion of gas that cannot be consumed in the United States is expected to be transported to Canada where it will be traded on the open market, for consumption either back in the United States, into large-demand markets such as New York or New Jersey or to customers in Canada.

“As of last week’s report to (the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission), we have about 7,570 (people working) on all spreads of construction for the project,” said Daniel.

Typical pipeline construction sequence begins first with months of survey and staking of the route the pipeline will take with respect to right-of-way, environmental, developmental and local concerns. Once the specific location is selected the route is then marked with stakes.

Then front-end clearance begins weather-permitting. Grading and removal of trees occurs during this phase to make way for the coming pipe.

As of Monday much of the work just south of Ohio 78 between Summerfield and Lewisville was between this stage and the next: right-of way grading. North of the state route front-end clearance and right of way grading was also underway Monday.

Following right-of-way grading, stringing, bending and initial welding begins.

Then trenching, coating and inspection for environmental protection takes place before the pipes are laid in the trench and backfilled over top.

Finally, before the line is tied into the gas grid, testing for pressure and structural integrity takes place and then clean-up and topsoil restoration begins.

Reaction to the pipeline work has been mixed, with local farmers not thrilled by the disruption to their farms but understanding the general reasoning behind the line. Meanwhile, local businesses are welcoming an increase in revenue.

“I see the point in the line but don’t understand why they can’t be more considerate of farmers they’re sharing the land with,” said Duane Weisend, 60, of Summerfield, who owns several acres of farmland on both sides of where the pipeline is currently being laid. “They pulled out a post of one of my fences when they laid down a water line out to where they’re working and that let out cattle. Yesterday I was out helping another farm round up their cattle too.”

At the Lewisville Carry-Out store associate Sunessa Tollie said she has had nothing but good experiences with the visiting crews.

“This morning we had a line wrapped in and around each aisle in the store,” she said. “We’re getting to the point where we’re even opening earlier on Saturdays and Sundays to meet their needs. They come in every morning to get a breakfast sandwich and lunch sandwich and their drinks before loading out for the day.”

But even off-duty Tollie said her experience has been pleasant.

“I was in a store in Woodsfield and I could tell by their company shirts who they were. One was a gentleman and held the door and they all say ‘yes ma’am’ and ‘no ma’am’ and are polite and patient as we get through their orders as quickly as we can,” she said.

By the numbers

≤ Rover Pipeline is a $4.2 billion investment creating up to 10,000 construction jobs.

≤ This includes 4,500 to 6,500 positions in Ohio.

≤ Approximately 30 to 40 permanent positions will be created throughout Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

≤ Rover Pipeline will contribute nearly $1 billion in direct spending to the United States economy as 76 percent of the pipe will be manufactured in the U.S., along with all compression assembly and packaging.

≤ More than $124 million will be paid in direct payments to landowners for easements.

≤ Approximately $620 million will be paid for labor to the various contractors working on the project.

Source: Energy Transfer Partners.

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