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PNGTS Files with FERC for Capacity Expansions

Portland Natural Gas Transmission System (PNGTS) on Friday asked FERC for authorization to expand natural gas transportation and import/export capacity on its system in New England by winter 2018/2019.

In a certificate application filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, PNGTS said it wants to add 39,841 Mcf/d of capacity on its wholly-owned north system from Pittsburg, NH, to Westbrook, ME. The operator said it wants to add 1,641 Mcf/d on a jointly-owned system with Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline LLC from Westbrook to Dracut, MA.

PNGTS also proposed raising its import and export capacity across the border with Canada from 210,000 Mcf/d to 274,216 Mcf/d and asked for an amendment to its Presidential Permit to reflect the increase.

The capacity enhancements encompass the first phase of the proposed Portland XPress Project, according to PNGTS. The company said its proposal involves “no construction or modifications to its existing system or border crossing facilities” and requested that FERC sign off by Sept. 30.

The PNGTS proposal comes as New England continues to deal with pipeline capacity constraints that help drive up natural gas and power prices in the region during periods of strong heating demand. As recently as last week, thanks to lingering April cold, prices at PNGTS averaged as high as $9.32, according to Daily GPI prices.

Regulatory hurdles and other complications have stalled various attempts to build new pipeline capacity into the region in recent years, including the Northeast Energy Direct, Access Northeast and Constitution Pipeline projects.

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