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FERC OKs Transco's Garden State Expansion

FERC on Thursday issued a certificate for Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Co. LLC's (Transco) Garden State Expansion would provide 180,000 Dth/d of incremental firm capacity through the addition of facilities in Burlington and Mercer counties, NJ.

The project would be constructed in two phases from Transco's Station 201 Zone 6 Pool in Mercer County to a new delivery point with New Jersey Natural Gas Co. on Transco's Trenton Woodbury Lateral in Burlington County. Phase 1 would provide 20,000 Dth/d of capacity by a targeted in-service date of Nov. 1. Phase 2 would provide an additional 160,000 Dth/d by August 2017.

The project would cost about $116 million and would entail the addition of a meter and regulating station, enhancement of existing compression and the addition of a new compressor station. It was announced in summer 2014 (see Daily GPIJuly 30, 2014)

According to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission order [CP15-89], New Jersey Natural Gas has signed up for all of the project capacity.

Some parties commenting in the docket raised the possibility of segmentation on the part of Transco, a Williams Partners LP pipeline.

"Specifically, Delaware Riverkeeper states that Transco failed to identify three other Transco projects, namely, the Northeast Supply Link, Leidy, and Atlantic Sunrise projects, in its Resource Report 1 for the Garden State Expansion Project, and that the Commission should review these projects to ensure that they are not functionally and operationally dependent on each other," the Commission's order said. "Additionally, Delaware Riverkeeper states that the Commission must examine the extent to which the Garden State Expansion and the PennEast Pipeline Projects rely on and interact with each other.

"Other parties and commenters focus only on the PennEast Pipeline and Southern Reliability Link projects, insisting that these projects, together with the Garden State Expansion Project, constitute a single interdependent pipeline system, each dependent on the other two."

FERC disagreed and in several pages of the 55-page order outlined why.

In discussing Garden State's relationship with PennEast, for instance, FERC said the fact that Transco would connect with PennEast and that New Jersey Natural Gas has precedent agreements "for the same amount of capacity on each project over the same terms does not require that the projects be jointly considered in a single environmental analysis.

"Every natural gas pipeline project before the Commission can be found to be interconnected with another by virtue of the fact that the entire interstate pipeline grid is a highly integrated transportation network...Connectedness is inherent to the design of any major infrastructure network; however, this fact by itself does not equate to interdependence."

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