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FERC OKs Columbia's Utica Access; Pipeline Files For WB Xpress

FERC has approved construction of Columbia Gas Transmission LLC's Utica Access Project for in-service during the fourth quarter. And separately, Columbia Gas has applied at the Commission to construct its WB XPress Project in West Virginia and Virginia.

Utica Access is designed to deliver up to 205 MMcf/d of gas from the Utica Shale to the Columbia Gas Appalachia Pool. It would cost about $45 million for new infrastructure in Kanawha County, WV, which includes five miles of new pipeline, modifications to existing compression facilities and enhancements to safety technology.

The Utica Access facilities would run from Dominion's Cornwell compressor station in Kanawha County to Columbia's existing line in Clay County, WV. They would enable Columbia to receive gas from Dominion's system and transport it to the existing Columbia mainline facilities. The transportation service to be provided includes upstream service on Dominion, according to a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission order authorizing the related Dominion Monroe to Cornwell project [CP15-87].

Columbia Gas filed for Utica Access almost one year ago (see Daily GPIFeb. 12, 2015).

The $850 million WB XPress is designed to deliver up to 1.3 Bcf/d of Appalachian gas to expanding Mid-Atlantic markets, as well as Gulf Coast markets via a downstream, third-party interstate pipeline expansion from an existing interconnect in West Virginia. WB XPress would entail construction of two compressor stations, 26 miles of pipeline replacement along existing corridors and 2.9 miles of new pipeline in Virginia and West Virginia.

Gas would travel mainly along the pipeline's WB line to eastern points, including Loudon, VA, the Cove Point Pipeline, and into Transco Zone 5, as well as western points including Broad Run, WV (into Tennessee Gas Pipeline for Gulf Coast access), Leach, TCO Pool, Columbia Gas said at the time of the project's open season (see Daily GPIMarch 12, 2014).

WB XPress received preliminary approval for WB XPress from Virginia regulators late last year (see Daily GPIDec. 31, 2015).

"The proposed facilities will provide Columbia's transportation customers varying levels of capacity depending upon where natural gas is received," the company said in its application filing at FERC [CP16-38]. The pipeline said it has binding agreements with three shippers, including "a major local distribution company," for all of the project capacity.

Pending FERC authorization, Columbia expects to begin WB XPress construction in 2017 and place the project in service in the second half of 2018.

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