Energy. Environment. Economy.

Sunoco Logistics announces second, bigger natural gas liquids pipeline

The Mariner East 2 pipeline will run parallel to its predecessor, the Mariner East 1.

Courtesy of Sunoco Logistics

The Mariner East 2 pipeline will run parallel to its predecessor, the Mariner East 1, and bring natural gas liquids to the Marcus Hook industrial complex in Southeast Pennsylvania.

Philadelphia-based Sunoco Logistics has announced a new $2.5 billion pipeline project to move natural gas liquids across the state.

“Mariner East 2” would start in Ohio, bringing ethane and propane through West Virginia and western Pennsylvania to an industrial complex on the Delaware River.

The 350-mile pipeline would run parallel to its predecessor, the Mariner East 1, but unlike that project,which involves reversing the flow of an existing line, this pipeline needs to be built from scratch.

Spokesman Jeff Shields says it would quadruple the amount of natural gas liquids flowing to Marcus Hook from 70,000 barrels a day to 275,000. Much of the ethane will be shipped overseas and some of the propane will feed markets on the East Coast.

Sunoco Logistics also announced plans for a propane manufacturing unit at the idled refinery in Marcus Hook. That facility will turn propane into propylene, a building block for plastics and fabrics.

“That also enables a whole manufacturing chain that we think is really what people have been talking about when you’re talking about a manufacturing renaissance in Southeast Pennsylvania,” Shields said.

That project is still in “active development” and there is no timeline for when the former oil refinery will start processing propane.

Sunoco Logistics expects Mariner East 2 to come online in 2016, pending federal and state regulatory approvals.

The Mariner East 1 project awaits final approval from the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and has been met with strong opposition in Chester County. Residents there objected to the company’s push to bypass local zoning laws to build pump and valve control stations for the pipeline in residential neighborhoods.

Initially, Sunoco Logistics had approached both the PUC and local zoning boards for approval. This time, Shields says the company is going straight to state regulators.

“We remain willing to work with each of those municipalities and all the communities and will continue to do that,” he said.

The project with also require other federal and state approvals aside from the PUC. Shields said the company will begin seeking easements from landowners immediately.

Chester County residents are vowing to stop the new pipeline.

“We’re very concerned about this announcement, but it does not change our commitment to not only fighting for our community,” said Tom Casey, head of a local opposition group, “But to bring awareness about the health, safety and welfare impacts for the communities that are going to be in the direct line of fire for this pipeline.”

Correction: This pipeline will not, as this story originally reported, be subject to approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. It will be regulated by the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration among other state and federal agencies.


  • Fracked

    Does FERC EVER side with the citizens? Most of it will go overseas…I can still hear them saying..”.get us off that there foreign oil that our boys are dying for! Don’t ya wanna do yer part? ” I’d say Penn’s Woods is doing her part.

    • William Huston

      Liquids pipelines are not FERC jurisdiction. Only “natural gas” pipelines are.

      • kcolaneri

        That was my bad, folks. When first posted, I incorrectly wrote that FERC would be regulating the pipeline. I’ve issued a full correction above.

        • William Huston

          Thanks for the correction Katie. We are all learning this stuff. I have only recently sorted this out in my own mind. I wrote a blog about this relating to New York only, but a similar distinction between Federal/State jurisdiction happens in all other states. Each state is different in the degree liquids and intra-state gas pipelines are regulated (or not!).

  • EnergyJustice

    FERC never sides with citizens. There’s a reason why Pennsylvanians are getting arrested in front of FERC’s offices in DC this morning.

    • William Huston

      Liquids pipelines are not FERC jurisdiction. Only “natural gas”.

      • AlSever

        FREC regulates pipelines carrying liquids!
        I live about 400 meters away from A FERC regulated pipeline that carries Unleaded Gasoline from Williamsport to Rochester, NY. I’m pretty sure that the Fiber Optics pipeline line nearby is also a FERC regulated line.

        • William Huston

          NO AlSever, that is incorrect information.

          Liquids pipelines generally have no federal permitting authority, only
          state– Unless it crosses an international border (like KXL or Kinder
          Morgan’s “Cochin” NGL pipeline) and then it is the US State Department,
          not FERC.

          FERC only has authority under the Natural Gas Act.

          • AlSever

            What FERC Does
            FERC is an independent agency that regulates the interstate transmission of natural gas, oil, and electricity. FERC also regulates natural gas and hydropower projects.

            Economic Regulation

            Transmission of oil by pipeline in interstate commerce;
            Not sure if “oil” includes Gasoline but when the Sunoco Unleaded Gas line leaked into the Susquehanna at Wmpt, I was the DEP contact and FERC was involved in the repair procedures.

          • William Huston

            FERC regulates rates and tariffs for interstate commerce in electric, gas, and crude oil and refined liquids. FERC only has siting (permitting) authority (inc. Environmental review) for natural gas facilities. There is no federal permitting authority for any liquids pipelines unless it crosses an international border, but that is not FERC.

  • dikmeover

    NIMBYS. Shake my head at you people.

  • dennis

    everyone is talking about regulations which we know there are many . I would ask what is Sunoco going price for easement to the landowners? … I have a contract with another pipeline and will have another after the first of the year . Most companies are paying any where from to $60.00 to $ 100.00 per foot on a single pipe and not plural pipes …. Interested in what Sunoco paying since thery want easement throught my property .

  • Jack Wolf

    We face utter doom, and they propose ever more fossil fuels. Something needs to be done, fast.

  • Maria Schicklgruber

    Any natural gas that is exported should have to be shipped from the well
    head to the export terminal in separate pipelines.

    Eminent domain law
    is for the public good not private profit !!

  • paulroden

    I thought we needed this gas for “our energy independence?” I thought that we needed this gas as a “transition fuel” until renewable energy was ready? The more pipelines, compressor stations and export/import terminals that are built, the more the demand for fracking. Who cares about the environment? How much profit is enough for these companies? How long will this “gas boom” last?” How much will it cost to clean up the well pads and fracking wastes? Who is going to pay for this clean up?

  • All for the money

    We attended a meeting this past week that really opened our eyes. Please read and do not sign any papers, kick them off your land, and get educated about what is happening. No matter what you receive from Sunoco it is all taxable. You have to claim it to the IRS. Your taxes for your property will now be considered Commercial because you are now a partner of Sunoco. No – you do not make any money. Your insurance will go up because of the hazard risk of your property, PLUS your neighbors if the contract is not written correctly. With what they are talking about Mariner1 it was put through at 700 psi, now it will be 1400 psi. That means if there is an explosion you have a 600 feet radius that will be involved. A pipeline in another state was only 15 months old and it exploded. Safe, you make your own judgement. Also, Sunoco is getting around regulations, etc. because they have it that 5,000 gallons will be left in the state. Other than that, this whole pipeline is taking product to the coast to be shipped overseas to other countries to make plastic. Oh, yes. Will you be able to smell the gas. NO. Company will not put in that horrible smell. Why. We were told the gentleman said: “Would you like to drink out of a plastic bottle that smiled like roiten eggs?” The person said take the smell out when you start to make the plastic. He said it would cost too much money. This gas is heavy so it follows the ground. Does not go up in the air. In one state a guy was fishing. Of course, he didn’t smell anything. Put a cig in his mouth and lit a lighter and WHAM. 10 Miles up the stream the flames went. If the gas smelled, he would have detected it. You don’t even have to leave them come on your property. We also heard from a gentleman at a meeting, that Sunoco rep showed up to his house when he was at work and told his wife, in this gentleman’s words threaten his wife, so that she would sign the paper. She still refused. Also, did you know that the Mariner 1 they are now replacing the contents to a gas and having it flow backwards against the seams. This one is 80+ years old and already leaking. Can you imagine the explosions? Was anyone out there informed they are doing this? We were not. Do yourself a favor. I see people don’t care, putting us down because we don’t want it done, etc. Before you open your mouth to put us down – find out the facts. THE REAL FACTS. There was a person here in the comments that asked how much. Our land they are taking more than an acre – an acre sells for $25,000-$30,000. They offered us $6,000 and expected us to take it. I have talked to several people that have the old and the new pipeline to come across their land also. A lot of us have the land split right in half. No one will be able to build on our land now. Check out the newspapers, radio stations, tv stations, etc. Find out when the next meeting is, not with Sunoco, and find out what is going on. Sunoco lies, we know, lied straight to our face.

    • kath

      Sunoco is owned by Energy Transfer now.

About StateImpact

StateImpact seeks to inform and engage local communities with broadcast and online news focused on how state government decisions affect your lives.
Learn More »