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Appalachia-Focused Texas Eastern TEAM 2014 Given OK by FERC

FERC has issued a certificate for a Texas Eastern Transmission LP project that would add 600,000 Dth/d of incremental transportation capacity on the pipeline's northern Penn-Jersey system from Appalachian basins to serve markets in the Northeast, Midwest, Southeast and the Gulf Coast.

The Texas Eastern Appalachia to Market 2014 (TEAM 2014) project would entail 33.6 miles of pipeline looping and compressor station upgrades in order to provide bidirectional flow. Of the total 600,000 Dth/d of capacity from western Pennsylvania:

  • 300,000 Dth/d would be to the eastern end of the system in Lambertville, NJ; and Staten Island, NY;
  • 50,000 Dth/d would be to the Lebanon, OH, hub; and
  • 250,000 Dth/d would be to markets in the pipeline's Zones ELA and WLA in the Access Area on the southern portion of the system.

Chevron U.S.A. Inc. and EQT Energy LLC have signed precedent agreements for service on TEAM 2014 totaling 600,000 Dth/d. The targeted in-service date is Nov. 1.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission granted the certificate to the Spectra Energy pipeline despite protests that included one from ConocoPhillips, which said Texas Eastern failed to comply with Commission construction and reverse open season policies.

ConocoPhillips said Texas Eastern should have accepted offers from itself and others to turn back capacity on the southern path of the pipeline's CRP system during a reverse open season. This would have served to accomplish the same goals of TEAM 2014's expansion of the Penn-Jersey system at lesser cost, according to ConocoPhillips.

Texas Eastern said in response that it chose to go with the Penn-Jersey option because such a project could be in service by the Nov. 1 date requested by the projects’ only two shippers. Additionally, alternatives using the CRP system examined by Texas Eastern would have involved a river crossing and/or additional greenfield facilities, which would have had negative cost and other impacts, the pipeline said.

FERC said in its order Commission policy recognizes that available turn-back capacity should be considered when sizing new facilities. "However, the Commission has never held that a pipeline must, or necessarily even should, design expansion projects to maximize the amount of capacity that existing shippers can turn back," the order said [CP13-84-000].

"While we require pipelines to investigate the potential for incorporating existing capacity into new expansion projects...that is not the same as requiring pipelines to give primacy to an existing customer's desire to relinquish capacity..."

Other protests by The Clean Air Council and the Delaware Riverkeeper Network alleged that Texas Eastern was improperly segmenting its projects in the region to avoid a more rigorous environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act. However, the Commission sided with Texas Eastern and said TEAM 2014 is distinct from the pipeline's other projects, such as TIME II, Northern Bridge, TEMAX, TIME III and TEAM 2012.

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