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Timelines Slip on Northeast Pipeline Projects

FERC staff has issued a favorable environmental assessment (EA) for Williams' Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Co. LLC's (Transco) New York Bay Expansion Project. However, as with other Northeast-focused pipeline projects at the Commission, the review timeline has slipped from what was originally planned.

The New York Bay Expansion would allow Transco to provide an additional 115,000 Dth/d of firm service to National Grid NY, also known as the Brooklyn Union Gas Co. [CP15-527]. Transco had asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to authorize the project by May 1 so it can be in service by Nov. 1, 2017 (see Daily GPIJuly 10, 2015).

However, the EA set a comment deadline of May 4, three days later than when Transco had asked for project approval. Spokesman Chris Stockton said the project is still on track for an in-service date in November 2017.

"We understand that FERC's environmental review is extremely comprehensive and takes time to complete," Stockton said in an email to NGI. "The environmental assessment reflects that FERC conducted a very thorough analysis of the project. Our goal remains to begin construction on the New York Bay expansion this fall and place the project into service by November 2017."

Separately, FERC staff said recently it would issue the final environmental impact statement for the proposed PennEast Pipeline project on Dec. 16, allowing for a 90-day federal authorization decision deadline for coordinating agencies of March 16, 2017 (see Daily GPIMarch 30). The timeline announced by FERC sets the project's in-service date back to the second half of 2018 from the previously planned late 2017 date.

PennEast Pipeline Co. LLC is a joint venture owned by AGL Resources Inc. unit Red Oak Enterprise Holdings Inc. (20%); New Jersey Resources' NJR Pipeline Co. (20%); South Jersey Industries' SJI Midstream LLC (20%); UGI Energy Services LLC's UGI PennEast LLC (20%); PSEG Power LLC (10%); and Spectra Energy Partners LP (10%). The partnership is managed by UGI Energy Services (see Daily GPIMarch 22).

"We recognize the unprecedented number of pipeline applications currently under consideration by FERC and are pleased to have received FERC's notice to proceed with the environmental review of our project in a timely manner," said Peter Terranova, chairman of the PennEast board of managers. "We remain committed to the completion of this vital project and bringing the benefits of lower energy costs, cleaner energy and thousands of construction and ancillary jobs to Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York."

The timeline for the Rover Pipeline LLC project also has been delayed at FERC. In February 2015, Rover filed to construct interstate facilities in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, and Michigan (see Daily GPI, Feb. 23, 2015). Partial in-service was planned for December. 2016 with full in-service planned for June 2017. The draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) for the Energy Transfer Partners LP project was released in February (see Daily GPIFeb. 19).

"As part of its application, Rover originally proposed an in-service date of December 2016 for the supply laterals and mainlines A and B, with the market segment in service by June 2017," Commission staff said in the DEIS. "However, we acknowledge that this date is no longer feasible. The construction start date is dependent on: (1) Commission approval of the projects (which cannot be assumed, and the timing of which cannot be presumed); (2) the applicants receiving all required federal authorizations; and (3) the applicants meeting all pre-construction conditions of an order."

And in another project case, Constitution Pipeline Co. LLC recently pushed back the in-service date for its proposed Constitution natural gas pipeline from the fourth quarter of 2016 to second half of 2017, in order to comply with directives from FERC and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect wildlife along the pipeline's route (see Shale DailyMarch 10).

FERC staff also revised the review schedule for Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. LLC’s Triad Expansion Project (see Daily GPI, Sept. 1, 2015). The EA is now to be issued on June 15 (instead of April 6), and the 90-day decision deadline for coordinating federal agencies is Sept. 13. The change was made because the Commission received supplemental information from Tennessee requiring the revision.

Last month executives with Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC provided reassurance that their project is on track and on schedule, despite robust opposition from landowners in the pipeline's path (see Daily GPIMarch 23).

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