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Maritimes Urges FERC to Act ASAP on Export Request

Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline LLC has asked FERC to move "as soon as possible" on its request to reverse flow on its pipeline system so that it can export natural gas from the United States to Canada.

In April, the pipeline called on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to give it the go-ahead to export gas to Canada by June 1, but the request still is pending at the agency (see NGI, April 27). The Department of Energy last month authorized Maritimes to import and export up to a combined total of 626 Bcf of natural gas from and to Canada through May 2011.

Upcoming market developments are increasing the urgency of its request at FERC, according to Maritimes. The Sable Island Offshore Energy Project (SOEP) "has informed Maritimes that its production will be off-line for maintenance in August, which potentially affects supply to markets in the northeastern United States served by Maritimes and to markets in Atlantic Canada service by Maritimes' Canadian affiliate," the pipeline said [CP96-810].

"In light of the upcoming August outage, Maritimes expects that many parties will be attempting to make alternate gas supply arrangements in mid-July," Maritimes said. The Sable Island project, which produces an average of 400-500 MMcf/d, supplies gas for delivery by Maritimes to the Atlantic Canada and New England markets.

In addition, the Canaport LNG terminal in New Brunswick will soon begin delivering regasified liquefied natural gas (LNG) into the 90-mile Emera Brunswick Pipeline, with redelivery to the Maritimes' system via an interconnection at Baileyville, ME, near the U.S.-Canadian border. Maritimes has had requests from customers on both sides of the border for the Canaport natural gas, prompting its FERC application for export authority, said Steve Rankin, a spokesman for Maritimes in Canada. The pipeline's border-crossing facilities have the capacity to export 833,317 Dth/d of natural gas, according to Maritimes.

The Canaport terminal in St. John, NB, is due to begin commercial deliveries in July (see NGI, June 22). If the SOEP and Canaport developments lead to a supply squeeze on Maritimes, the pipeline will tap Corridor Resources Inc., a producer of onshore natural gas in the McCully Field in New Brunswick, and the Portland Natural Gas Transmission System (PNGTS), which delivers gas from western Canada, Rankin said. PNGTS is jointly owned with Maritimes.

Canaport, a joint venture of Spain's Repsol and Canada's Irving Oil Ltd., is the first LNG terminal to be built on the east coast of North America in 30 years and the first ever to be built in Canada. The 1 Bcf terminal, along with Repsol's other natural gas assets, will supply as much as 20% of the natural gas market in the Northeast U.S.

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