Shale gas pipeline projects

Feb 27 2014

Marcellus natural gas takeaway pipeline projects advance

Last week, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)approved three projects to increase natural gas takeaway capacity from the Marcellus Shale formation. On February 11, FERC approved the TEAM 2014 project expansions on Spectra's Texas Eastern Transmission Co. (Tetco) pipeline. TEAM stands for Texas Eastern Appalachia to Market. The next day, FERC issued an environmental impact statement (EIS) on a new pipeline and related compressor station project—Williams's Constitution Pipeline and the Iroquois Pipeline's Wright Interconnect Project (WIP). The EIS recommended conditional approval for the two projects, pending the adoption of measures to mitigate their environmental impact. WIP has a projected in-service date of March 2015, while the Constitution Pipeline projects the beginning of service in late 2015 or 2016.

The TEAM 2014 project would provide Tetco with capacity to move an additional 0.59 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) out of the Marcellus from interconnects in southwestern Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Expansions would allow for bidirectional flows on portions of Tetco that currently only flow gas from the Gulf and Rockies Express Pipeline into the Northeast. Two shippers—Chevron and EQT Energy—have contracted for the full amount of the capacity expansions. Rockies Express deliveries into the Northeast have declined over the past two years, and in November, FERC upheld a petition from Rockies Express Pipeline LLC allowing for the establishment of firm agreements to reverse direction and move gas east-to-west on the pipeline.

Chevron booked 0.29 Bcf/d of capacity to move gas on the expanded Tetco pipeline from Uniontown, Pennsylvania, to Lambertville, New Jersey, where Tetco connects with Spectra's Algonquin Gas Transmission (AGT) pipeline. EQT Energy booked the remaining 0.29 Bcf/d of firm capacity to move 0.24 Bcf/d of Marcellus gas south to Tetco's AA market zone in the Gulf of Mexico region, and 0.05 Bcf/d west to Lebanon, Ohio, where Tetco connects with the Rockies Express system. Outflows from the Northeast to other parts of the country as a result of these expansions would further decrease net flows of natural gas into the northeastern United States. These decreased flows have largely resulted from increasing Marcellus production, which enabled the Northeast to satisfy a greater portion of its own demand, and increasingly, send gas to other regions. TEAM 2014 would also help alleviate capacity constraints in transporting natural gas to northeastern markets, which contribute to high natural gas and power prices during periods of peak demand.

FERC also issued an EIS that recommended the construction, with modifications to the original plan, of the Constitution Pipeline. This pipeline would deliver up to 0.64 Bcf/d of Marcellus gas from Susquehanna County, in northeastern Pennsylvania, to Wright, New York, where the Wright Compressor Station is currently located. Iroquois would build a new compressor station at an adjacent facility under WIP, and modify the existing compressor station. Cabot Oil & Gas has a binding agreement for 0.49 Bcf/d of firm capacity on the Constitution Pipeline, while Southwestern Energy has an agreement for the remaining 0.15 Bcf/d.

The Iroquois Pipeline currently transports gas south to the Wright Compressor Station from its interconnect with TransCanada's Canadian Mainline in Waddington, New York. At Wright, Iroquois interconnects with Kinder Morgan's Tennessee Gas Pipeline (TGP) northern 200 line, which can flow gas to New England customers via its interconnect with AGT south of Boston, but has delivered increasing amounts of natural gas to the Canadian Mainline via its Niagara Falls interconnect with TransCanada.

The Constitution Pipeline's ability to move Marcellus production to northeastern consumers would significantly benefit from construction of TGP's planned Northeast Expansion Project. This project would take gas from Wright to Dracut, Massachusetts, where it would connect with TGP's existing pipeline as well as a line jointly operated by Spectra's Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline and the Portland Natural Gas Transmission System. Open season for firm capacity agreements on the Northeast Expansion Project began on February 13, and will continue until March 28. Project capacity could range from 0.60 Bcf/d to 2.20 Bcf/d, according to TGP documents.


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