Shale Daily / NGI All News Access

Columbia Gas Pursues Expansions to Accommodate Marcellus Development

Columbia Pipeline Group is seeking to expand the eastern side of its Columbia Gas Transmission system to provide Marcellus Shale gas to growing markets in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. It is also pursuing an expansion of the western side of its system to give producers an additional path out of the Marcellus/Utica region and to help avoid continued basis erosion.

It has asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to initiate a pre-filing review of its East Side Expansion project, which would meet increasing demand by moving gas in northern Pennsylvania to markets along the East Coast and down into the Mid-Atlantic.

The project calls for the installation of two looping pipelines and related facilities, including an 8.8-mile, 26-inch diameter Line 1278 Loop pipeline in Chester County, PA; and a 7.45-mile, 20-inch diameter Line 10345 Loop in Gloucester County, NJ, as well as modifications to four existing compressor stations in Pennsylvsnia and Maryland and interconnects in Milford, PA, and Wagoner, NY.

The $210 million East Side Expansion project would increase capacity on the Columbia Gas Transmission system by up to 310,000 Dth/d, using existing and enhanced interconnects with affiliate Millennium Pipeline at Columbia's Wagoner metering station and Tennessee Gas Pipeline at the Milford compressor station.

Columbia Gas Transmission, a subsidiary of NiSource Inc., said it plans to submit a complete application to FERC in August and has asked the agency to authorize construction to begin by June 2014. Assuming it receives agency approval, it has targeted the expansion for in-service in September 2015.

Columbia Pipeline Group also is pursuing an expansion of the west side of the Columbia Gas Transmission system to increase takeaway opportunities for producers. As a result of the continued and projected growth in Marcellus and Utica production, Northeast gas supply is projected to outstrip demand by the end of the decade, Columbia Gas said. Pipeline capacity in the region is constrained, creating the need for new infrastructure, and producers need a path out of the region to avoid continued basis erosion.

Columbia's West Side Expansion Project, which consists of two separate components, would increase takeaways from the Waynesburg, WV/Smithfield, PA, region to Leach, KY (Smithfield III), and it would offer a backhaul transportation path from Leach to Gulf Coast markets (Gulf Bi-Direction Project). The pipeline said it plans to file an application on the Smithfield III project at FERC this month.

The Smithfield III component is targeted for in service in November 2014 and would allow for the firm transport of 444,000 Dth/d of gas on Columbia Gas Transmission between Waynesburg/Smithfield and Leach. The Gulf Bi-Direction project, which could go into service as early as April, would give Columbia Gas Transmission the ability to backhaul up to 540,000 Dth/d of gas from Leach to Rayne, LA, the pipeline said.

Columbia Gas Transmission transports an average of 3 Bcf/d of natural gas through a nearly 12,000-mile pipeline network and 92 compressor stations in 10 states.

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