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Constitution Seeks FERC Approval for Marcellus Pipeline Plan

Constitution Pipeline Co. LLC has filed its long-awaited application with FERC seeking approval to construct a pipeline to carry natural gas from northern Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale to Northeast markets, the company said Friday, and Iroquois Gas Transmission has filed an application to build a key interconnect project.

Constitution, which is owned by subsidiaries of Williams Partners LP, Cabot Oil & Gas Corp., Piedmont Natural Gas Co. and WGL Holdings (see Shale Daily, June 3), hopes to have construction of the 122-mile pipeline completed by spring 2015. Since last spring Constitution Pipeline Co. has been involved in the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission pre-filing process, soliciting input from citizens, governmental entities and other interested parties to identify and address issues with the proposed pipeline alignment.

The 30-inch diameter gas line initially would carry up to 650,000 Dth/d from Susquehanna County, PA, interconnecting with the Iroquois Gas Transmission and Tennessee Gas Pipeline (TGP) systems in Schoharie County, NY.

"The Constitution Pipeline would become a key piece of natural gas infrastructure in the region, supporting the overall reliability and diversification of energy infrastructure in the northeastern United States and helping our nation realize the full benefit of these abundant, clean-burning natural gas supplies," the Constitution member companies said.

Earlier this year, Constitution reached an agreement with Iroquois to expand its existing Wright compressor station, which would eliminate the need for Constitution to build a 32,0000 hp compressor facility in Schoharie County, NY, as originally proposed (see Shale Daily, Jan. 22). On Friday, Iroquois said that it had filed an application with FERC for a certificate of public convenience and necessity to construct the interconnect project. Iroquois requested that FERC issue its certificate by May 1, 2014 to meet an in-service date of March 31, 2015.

The interconnect project is being developed in conjunction with the proposed pipeline to enable delivery of gas from the terminus of the pipeline in Schoharie County into both Iroquois and TGP under a 15-year capacity lease agreement with Constitution. The $75 million project includes approximately 22,000 hp of transfer compression with cooling and associated facilities. Iroquois will construct, own and operate the new transfer compressor station.

"The Wright Interconnect Project eliminates the need for Constitution's proposed compression facility, thereby connecting our system to the rapidly expanding Marcellus supplies while reducing impact on the environment and the Wright, NY, community," said Iroquois President Jeff Bruner.

Cabot, one of the biggest Marcellus operators, has agreed to ship 500,000 Dth/d on the pipeline, while Southwestern Energy Services Co. has signed on for 150,000 Dth/d (see Shale Daily, April 27, 2012). Piedmont, a distribution company that serves more than one million customers in the Carolinas and Tennessee, is investing $180 million, but it would not be a customer (see Shale Daily, Nov. 14, 2012).

Earlier this year, the partners proposed a revised primary route to include fewer acres of total land impacts during construction and fewer residences within close proximity to the line. Constitution worked with New York-based gas supplier Leatherstocking Gas Co. LLC on agreements for delivery interconnects along the pipeline's proposed route, essentially converting it to an "open access pipeline" (see Shale Daily, Nov. 7, 2012).

Williams Partners owns a 41% share of Constitution and through its affiliates will provide construction, operation and maintenance services for the pipeline. Through their subsidiaries, Cabot owns a 25% share, Piedmont a 24% share and WGL a 10% share.

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