In a press release published by Phillips 66 announcing its purchase of VP/EP, the company stated that “approximately 200 miles of regulated pipelines that carry raw NGLs from a third-party natural gas processing plant.” A DeSmog investigation shows that the “third-party natural gas processing plant” is owned by the company Targa Resources, and that plant is fed in part by a gas pipeline owned by Enbridge, another co-owner of Dakota Access.
Merchant of Venice
The Targa Resources plant is also known as the VESCO facility, with VESCO shorthand for the Venice Energy Services Company, located in Venice, Louisiana.
“Through the Partnership’s 76.8% ownership interest in Venice Energy Services Company, L.L.C., [Targa] operates the Venice gas plant…and the Venice Gathering System (‘VGS’) that is approximately 150 miles in length,” explains Targa’s 2016 U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Annual Report.
“VESCO receives unprocessed gas directly or indirectly from seven offshore pipelines and gas gathering systems including the VGS system. VGS gathers natural gas from the shallow waters of the eastern Gulf of Mexico and supplies the VESCO gas plant.”
“The $70 million TENDS project is an important element in TNGI’s South Louisiana strategy embracing growth and development of new business,” Texaco, since purchased by Chevron, said in a 1997 press release. “TENDS consists of a network of pipelines capable of transporting a combined maximum of 230,000 barrels of product each day to numerous refineries and petrochemical complexes across South Louisiana.”
“After being extracted in the field, mixed NGLs, sometimes referred to as ‘Y-grade’ or ‘raw NGL mix,’ are typically transported to a centralized facility for fractionation where the mixed NGLs are separated into discrete NGL products: ethane, ethane-propane mix, propane, normal butane, iso-butane and natural gasoline,” states Targa’s website of the mix.
The New Orleans Advocate reported that VP Pipeline/EP Pipeline opened for business originally as a pipeline in 1958. Like the line that connects to Dakota Access, the Energy Transfer Crude Oil Pipeline (ETCOP), it is decades old.
“About 55% of the 135,000 miles of oil and gasoline pipelines in the U.S. was installed in 1969 or earlier, according to government data,” reported CNN in September. “That’s before current safety regulations were in effect, Many are still cast iron pipes.”
The BlueGreen Alliance, a collaborative of U.S. labor unions and environmental organizations, has pushed for aging pipelines to be repaired as part of a broad employment program. They called the effort the Repairing Our Cities’ Aging Pipelines initiative, or RECAP.
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