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ECA Midstream Seeks FERC Approval to Serve Pennsylvania NatGas-Fired Plant

A midstream subsidiary of the Energy Corporation of America (ECA) has applied with FERC requesting jurisdiction for an existing natural gas gathering system in northwestern Pennsylvania to serve a power plant in the region.

ECA Midstream LLC (FECAM) on Dec. 18 filed an abbreviated application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a certificate of public convenience and necessity to own, maintain and operate the 16-mile, 4-to-16-inch diameter system in Clearfield and Elk counties as an interstate pipeline.

The system, which gathers gas for ECA in the area, would be modified to also serve a former coal-fired power plant now being converted to gas in Clearfield County, which is owned by NRG Rema LLC (REMA), an NRG Energy Inc. subsidiary.

Currently, the pipeline gathers gas for ECA to interstate pipelines operated by Dominion Transmission Inc. (DTI) and National Fuel Gas Supply Corp.

"The transportation of natural gas from DTI to the plant combined with delivery by displacement of gathered natural gas to interstate pipelines will result in transportation in interstate commerce, which requires the certificate," FECAM said in its application. 

REMA plans to acquire gas from DTI and ship it on FECAM's system to an interconnection that would be built for the power plant. FECAM and REMA have entered into a firm transportation (FT) agreement for 152,000 Dth/d over 10 years. ECA would contract for the remaining FT on FECAM's 350,000 Dth/d system.

FECAM is proposing to bidirectionally flow gas on the existing pipeline. In addition to ECA volumes, ECAM would receive gas from DTI purchased by REMA for transport to the plant's interconnection.

REMA and ECA would be the only shippers on the system, and there are no other potential end-users or producers in the area, the application said. FECAM has requested FERC accept the FT agreements with the shippers instead of an open access tariff. It also wants confirmed the nonjurisdictional status of the system's other operations and the waiver of some regulatory requirements such as pipeline posting and reporting.

The company has asked FERC to issue an order by March 31 for service to begin next summer. REMA operated a 588 MW coal-fired plant in Clearfield County that was deactivated in 2012 to meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Mercury and Air Toxics Standards. Fuel switching began at the plant this year.

FECAM's system is three miles from the facility, making it a practical choice to get gas to the plant instead of building a new 20-mile pipeline to DTI, the company said.

"Because the existing pipeline is already constructed and in service, and no construction authorization is requested in this application, the authorization to engage in transportation in interstate commerce will not have an adverse impact on other pipelines, landowners or the environment," FECAM said in its application.

In addition to constructing the plant's interconnect, FECAM said it would build measurement and regulating facilities to receive gas from DTI.

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