Columbia Pipeline Group Inc. (CPG) will proceed with its Mountaineer XPress (MXP) and Gulf XPress (GXP) projects, which would provide 2.7 Bcf/d of firm transportation capacity from the Marcellus and Utica shales to markets served by the Columbia Gas Transmission and Columbia Gulf Transmission systems, the company said Wednesday.

CPG, a unit of NiSource Inc., said the projects now have board approval and are supported by long-term, firm transportation contracts with a variety of Marcellus and Utica shale producers and shippers.

"Today's announcement underscores CPG's commitment to expanding its natural gas pipeline system in the Marcellus and Utica shale areas," said CPG President Glen Kettering. "These projects will enhance CPG's already substantial footprint to meet the needs of the market in this important region..."

The two projects, representing an investment of about $2.7 billion, would increase CPG's existing infrastructure to transport gas from the Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia production areas.

MXP would include a 165-mile pipeline, as well as the expansion of Columbia Transmission's existing WB Line to create 2.7 Bcf/d of firm capacity from existing and new points of receipt along or near the system. MXP's footprint would be near most of the Appalachian region's third-party processing plants, with the ability to deliver to Columbia Transmission's TCO Pool and Leach, KY, to provide for higher regional netback value, liquidity and access to Gulf area markets, CPG said. MXP, expected to cost $2.03 billion, was announced last September (see Daily GPISept. 8, 2014).

GXP, expected to cost $674 million, would include installing compression to existing and new stations along Columbia Gulf's system, as well as limited pipeline looping, system modifications and related facilities. GXP would provide 860,000 Dth/d of firm capacity from Leach to the Columbia Gulf Mainline Pool and other delivery points as far south as Rayne, LA.

CPG is anticipating in-service dates for the projects in 4Q2018. The projects are in addition to CPG's previously announced Leach XPress and Rayne XPress projects (see Shale DailyJune 8Aug. 12, 2014).