Thursday, August 29, 2019

PUC Approves Settlement Allowing Bi-Directional Operation Of Laurel Pipeline

On August 29, the Public Utility Commission approved a Joint Petition for Approval of Settlement authorizing the initiation of bi-directional service of petroleum products along the Laurel Pipeline, while preserving the existing east-to-west capacity that enables transportation service from points of origin near Philadelphia to delivery points in western Pennsylvania.
The Commission voted 5-0 to adopt a Recommended Decision by Administrative Law Judge Eranda Vero recommending approval of the joint settlement agreement among Laurel Pipeline Company, L.P. (Laurel); the PUC’s independent Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement (I&E); and several Complainants, including Giant Eagle, Inc., Guttman Energy, Inc., Lucknow-Highspire Terminals LLC, Monroe Energy, Philadelphia Energy Solutions Refining & Marketing LLC, and Sheetz, Inc.
The settlement agreement reaffirms the Commission’s jurisdiction over the Laurel Pipeline.  In its Statement in Support (of the settlement agreement), I&E asserted that Laurel satisfactorily addressed safety issues raised in this proceeding, stipulating the company’s commitment to ongoing compliance with federal pipeline safety regulations while providing for I&E’s Safety Division to continue pipeline inspections.  
The joint settlement agreement also includes the following key provisions:
-- Guarantees the Complainants substantial east-to-west capacity on the Laurel pipeline for a significant period of time;
-- Limits, subject to contingencies, Laurel and Buckeye’s right to propose further extensions of bi-directional service or a full reversal of service;
-- Establishes a process for disseminating information, convening calls/meetings to resolve complaints regarding bi-directional service; and
-- Permits the proposed initiation of bi-directional service on October 1, 2019, pursuant to Transportation Service Agreements between Buckeye and certain committed shippers, providing access to new Pennsylvania markets for petroleum products originating in the Midwest.
Documents related to this case can be found at PUC Docket No.: C-2018-3003365.
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