FERC issued a notice of schedule Friday for the Appalachian Basin-to-Southeast Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC (ACP) and related Supply Header Project, setting a June 30, 2017, deadline to complete a final environmental impact statement.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s timeline sets a 90-day federal authorization deadline of Sept. 28, 2017. Management for ACP-backer Dominion said during a recent earnings call that they hope to begin construction on the roughly 600-mile transmission project by mid-2017 (see Daily GPI, Aug. 5).
“This is a major step forward for the project,” Dominion spokesman Aaron Ruby told NGI via email Friday. “Today’s FERC notice provides a clear roadmap for the remainder of the federal environmental review process. Based on the timeline established today, we remain on track to receive federal approval to begin construction in late summer 2017.
“We have been working closely with expert construction contractors to look at the feasibility of accelerating our construction plans, in order to maintain the planned project in service date [in late 2018]. We will finalize our estimates in the next few weeks.”
ACP, a joint venture between Dominion, Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas and AGL Resources, filed for FERC approval last September (see Daily GPI, Sept. 18, 2015). Dominion would build and operate the pipeline, which would start in Harrison County, WV, and run through Virginia and part of North Carolina.
ACP, which would have 42-inch, 36-inch and 20-inch segments, is designed to transport Marcellus and Utica shale gas to serve power generation and heating demand in Southeast markets (see NGI’s special report on Southeast demand).
The Supply Header Project is wholly backed by Dominion and is intended to connect ACP to supply areas in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The Supply Header Project would involve the construction of 37.5 miles of new pipeline as well as modification of existing compression facilities.
ACP is one of several major takeaway projects that Northeast producers are hoping will relieve basis differentials at natural gas trading points in the Marcellus and Utica shales. An analysis earlier this summer from Rusty Braziel, head of RBN Energy Inc., showed 18 Bcf/d of Northeast takeaway projects looking to come online by 2019, exceeding projected production growth (see Shale Daily, June 8).
Meanwhile, the currently proposed Northeast projects face a regulatory environment complicated by organized challenges from anti-fossil fuel groups, creating some uncertainty about how much new takeaway capacity will come online for the region and when (see Shale Daily, July 26, July 6, June 29, April 26).
ACP’s route would see the pipeline cross rural, mountainous terrain along the West Virginia/Virginia border, drawing scrutiny from environmental advocates.
Earlier this year, Dominion had to submit a substantial route change to FERC to accommodate concerns raised by the U.S. Forest Service over the pipeline’s impact on protected species and habitat in the George Washington and Monongahela national forests (see Daily GPI, April 18; Feb. 12; Jan. 22). FERC held two additional scoping meetings for the project in May to gather comments along the revised route (see Daily GPI, May 3).