The first of four Northeast pipeline projects was placed in service earlier this month by Tennessee Gas Pipeline, (TGP) a subsidiary of El Paso Corporation. This action on TGP’s 300 Line Project marks the completion of one of the largest natural gas infrastructure projects currently under way in the Northeast United States.
The upgrade provides access to both new and existing natural gas supplies and increases capacity on the TGP system by 350,000 dekatherms per day. All of the project capacity is contracted under a long-term firm transportation agreement with EQT Energy, LLC, based in Pittsburgh.
According to Wayne Conservation District (WCD) resource conservationist Len Grover, TGP officials met with WCD staff recently to discuss how the project has gone and determine what is needed to facilitate better management of the next TGP project—the Northeast Upgrade Project (NUP), which will involve various townships in both Wayne and Pike counties.
“We expected to have some problems and we did have some problems,” said Grover. “But overall, they did a very responsible job.”
“When you think of the length of that project and hitting every topographical feature in Wayne County, we’ve had smaller projects that have been more of a headache,” added WCD manager Robert Mueller.
Both Grover and Mueller asserted that the 200-foot-wide right of way clearings should be reduced in scale and regarded as a thing of the past.
“We’ve discussed with them the actual need for scarifying that entire width, which we, as conservation districts, see to be very wasteful and unnecessary,” said Grover. “We’re trying to get them to get away from how business has been done for 50 years and look more sensitively at the need for that type of excavation. The three conservation districts in the Northeast region [Wayne, Pike and Susquehanna] have talked about it.”
“And not just the width, but the length,” added Mueller. “They opened up 17 miles of Wayne County all at one time. It kept compounding on them because of the weather conditions, and they couldn’t get to final restoration for months. That’s when we started to see issues.”
Four separate pipeline infrastructure projects in the Northeast U.S. are expected to transport an additional 1.5 billion cubic feet per day of domestic natural gas. Each project is independent of the other and has different customers who have contracted for the natural gas the projects will transport.
1. 300 Line Project. This project has a long-term contract with EQT Energy LLC that will provide access to diversified natural gas supplies from the Gulf Coast, Appalachian, Rockies and Marcellus Shale supply areas. On November 1, TGP placed the 300 Line Project in service. Estimated project cost was about $0.7 billion.
2. Northeast Supply Diversification Project. The proposed Northeast Supply Diversification (NSD) project resulted from customer interest in TGP’s other Northeast projects. Shipper agreements are in place with Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation, Anadarko Energy Services Company and Seneca Resources Corporation. The project involves installation of approximately seven miles of 30-inch diameter pipeline looping in Bradford and Tioga counties, other facility modifications in Niagara and Erie counties, NY, and utilization of existing and third-party pipeline capacity. (Looping does not replace existing pipeline. Loops are installed adjacent to and connecting with existing pipelines to add incremental capacity.) Construction should begin in early 2012 with an anticipated in-service date of November 2012. Estimated cost is $73 million. Visit www.elpaso.com/nsdproject.
3. Northeast Upgrade Project. The proposed Northeast Upgrade Project (NEUP) is smaller than the 300 Line Project. Customers are Chesapeake Energy Marketing, Inc., and Statoil Natural Gas LLC. The project is an extension of TGP’s existing presence in the Marcellus Shale play. It involves the construction of 37 miles of looping (five loops) and modification to four existing compressor stations. FERC decision on authorization is expected by February 19, 2012 with an anticipated in-service date of November 2013. Estimated project cost is $400 million. Visit www.elpaso.com/northeastupgrade.
4. MPP Project. The proposed MPP Project will provide approximately 240,000 dekatherms per day from the developing production region along TGP’s existing 300 Line system to serve established markets, including markets in the Northeast. Customers are Chesapeake Energy Corp. and Southwestern Energy Co. The project includes installation of approximately 7.9 miles of 30-inch diameter steel pipe adjacent to, or near, an existing pipeline on TGP’s 300 Line in Potter County. Also planned are modifications and upgrades at four existing compressor stations on TGP’s 300 Line located in Mercer, Venango, McKean and Potter counties. Pending all appropriate approvals, construction should begin in summer 2013, with an anticipated in-service date of November 2013. Estimated project cost is under $100 million. Visit www.elpaso.com/mpp.