Federal Energy Regulatory Commission regains ability to certificate natural gas pipelines

October 30, 2017

Three new pipeline projects in the northeast received approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in October, the first projects to be approved since February.

FERC regained its quorum in August after the Senate confirmed two new commissioners. These confirmations ended a six-month period when FERC was unable to issue certificates to allow construction of interstate energy transmission infrastructure, including natural gas pipeline projects. FERC did not have a quorum beginning in February 2017 when the number of commissioners fell below the required minimum of three. The final two commissioners await a floor vote by the Senate.

The three projects approved in October, which are designed to increase the delivery capacity from the Northeast’s Utica and Marcellus natural gas-producing regions, are:

  • Supply Header Pipeline: a 1.5 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d), 38-mile pipeline from West Virginia to Pennsylvania 
  • Atlantic Coast Pipeline: a 1.5 Bcf/d, 600-mile pipeline from West Virginia to North Carolina
  • Eastern Shore 2017 Expansion Project: 40 miles in pipeline expansions, providing 0.061 Bcf/d from Pennsylvania to Delaware

Before losing its quorum on February 3, 2017, FERC had certificated more than 7 Bcf/d of pipeline capacity. Since then, as of October 24, 2017, 12 pre-filing applications have been submitted to FERC for pipeline projects transmitting natural gas in the United States and 50 pipeline projects have FERC applications in process. The capacity of all these projects totals about 43 Bcf/d, covering slightly less than 3,000 miles of both new and upgraded pipeline construction. In comparison, the Lower 48 states have more than 300,000 miles of interstate and intrastate natural gas transmission pipeline in use.

The nine largest projects by capacity with applications before FERC have a total capacity of slightly more than 21 Bcf/d, or 63% of the capacity for all pending natural gas pipeline applications. Six of these projects, located in Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma, are intended to support liquefied natural gas (LNG) export projects. The construction of five of these pipeline projects will likely be tied to the approval of the associated LNG export terminals. These projects...

Read entire article at Penn Energy.


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