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Commission Releases EA, Finds No Problems With Eastern Shore Expansion

FERC said Eastern Shore Natural Gas Co.'s proposed expansion of pipeline facilities in Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania poses no threat to the environment, advancing the company's plans to provide an additional 61,162 Dth/d of additional firm transportation service.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission released a 295-page environmental assessment (EA) for Eastern Shore's 2017 Expansion Project [CP17-28] on Friday. In a notice that accompanied the EA's release, FERC said its staff "concludes that approval of the proposed project, with appropriate mitigating measures, would not constitute a major federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment."

A spokesman for Eastern Shore, a subsidiary of Chesapeake Utilities Corp., could not be reached for comment Friday. According to the company's website, it expects to have the project entered into service by the end of 2017. When Chesapeakefiled for FERC approval in January, it said the project was the largest in Eastern Shore's history, and that precedent agreements had been signed with seven of its existing customers.

The project calls for the construction of about 39.5 miles of natural gas pipeline, including six pipeline loop segments totaling 22.7 miles and one 16.9-mile mainline extension. The diameter of the new pipeline segments would vary from 10 to 16 to 24 inches. The project also calls for the installation of a new 3,750 hp compressor unit at an existing compressor station in Pennsylvania, and two pressure control stations in Delaware.

Specifically, Eastern Shore has proposed building three pipeline loops in Chester County, PA -- the Parkesburg Loop (16-inch diameter pipe, 4.5 miles), Jennersville Loop (24-inch, 7.3 miles) and Fair Hill Loop (24-inch, 3.6 miles). It also has proposed the Summit Loop (10-inch, 0.5 miles) in New Castle County, DE, and two pipeline loops in Sussex County, DE -- the Hearns Pond Loop (10-inch, 1.6 miles) and Laurel Loop (10-inch, 5.1 miles).

A 10-inch diameter mainline extension called the Seaford-Millsboro Connector would also be built in Sussex County. Meanwhile, the aforementioned new compressor unit would be installed at Eastern Shore's Daleville Compressor Station in Chester County's Londonderry Township. One new pressure control station will be built adjacent to the company's existing Millsboro Meter and Regulator Station, at the proposed eastern terminus of the Seaford-Millsboro Connector, while a second pressure control station will be built near Delmar, in Sussex County.

Eastern Shore has provided natural gas service to the Delmarva Peninsula and Pennsylvania since 1959. Its pipeline system interconnects with Columbia Gas Transmission LLC in Daleville, PA; with Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Co. LLC in Parkesburg, PA, and Hockessin, DE; and with Texas Eastern Transmission LP near Honey Brook, PA.

The capacity created by the project would include 52,500 Dth/d for Eastern Shore's northernmost Receipt Zone 1 facilities.

FERC said it will accept public comments on the EA until June 12.

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