OREANDA-NEWS. May 26, 2017. The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has denied a request from the developer of the 3.1 Bcf/d (89mn m?/d) Rover natural gas pipeline to resume drilling activities the agency halted two weeks ago.

Energy Transfer Partners, the developer behind the $4.2bn pipeline, last week told the agency that denying its request to resume horizontal directional drilling in two locations could jeopardize the in-service schedule for the Rover pipeline, which would transport Marcellus and Utica shale gas to a natural gas hub in western Ohio for eventual delivery into Michigan and Canada. The first phase of the project has an in-service schedule in July, and the second phase has an in-service schedule in November.

The company did not immediately respond for comment.

FERC on 10 May blocked construction crews from starting directional drilling in new areas until Energy Transfer Partners figured out the cause of a 2mn USG spill of drilling fluids last month in Ohio. FERC said it had "serious concerns" about the magnitude of the spill and blocked drilling in new areas until a third-party contractor had time to complete an investigation.

Energy Transfer Partners, in a filing on 16 May, asked FERC to continue drilling activities in two locations — the Captina Creek and Middle Island Creek — where it said it already set up drilling equipment. The company said having to remove this equipment, and then bring it back at a later date, would increase the likelihood of environmental damage and threaten the project's schedule.