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Northeast Pipeline Capacity May Exceed 23 Bcf/d in 2018, EIA Says

If all the natural gas pipeline projects currently under construction to serve producers in the Appalachian Basin ramp up as scheduled this year, more than 23 Bcf/d of Northeast takeaway capacity would be online, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

In a note released Friday, EIA said the capacity would be a sharp increase from the 16.7 Bcf/d of capacity available at the end of 2017 and “more than three times the takeaway capacity at the end of 2014.”

It’s no secret, as the EIA noted, that a lack of takeaway in recent years has created challenges for Appalachian producers operating in various parts of the basin. According to the EIA’s latest monthly Drilling Productivity Report, production still is going to surpass available pipeline capacity in the region, where volumes are expected to jump to 28.15 Bcf/d in June from 27.77 Bcf/d in May.

Most of the pipeline projects that are slated for service or have entered service this year are related to major interstate pipelines, such as Columbia Gas and Columbia Gulf Transmission and Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line (Transco) systems. Leach XPress, for example, has already entered service, and Mountaineer XPress is expected to come online later this year to expand the Columbia system. The Mountain Valley Pipeline is also under construction to move more gas to Transco this year.

Both the Rover Pipeline, which is expected to enter full service in the coming months, and the Nexus Gas Transmission project, which is slated to come online later this year, would move nearly 5 Bcf/d combined to markets in the Midwest and Canada.

The Southeast and Gulf Coast would also see an increase in Appalachian gas supply when all the projects go into service. EIA also noted that no major pipeline capacity expansions are slated to come online in New England because of pushback against fossil fuel infrastructure in the region.

Overall, EIA said it’s tracking 160 gas pipeline projects across the country. Of those, 37 have been completed or are under construction and should be in service by the end of the year.

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