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FERC to Decide on Texas Eastern Bidirectional Project by December

FERC said it plans to decide by early December whether to approve the Gulf Markets Expansion Project, a bidirectional expansion by Spectra Energy Partners LP's Texas Eastern Transmission LP (Tetco) that would have capacity to move 650,000 Dth/d from Appalachia and South Texas to the Gulf Coast.

On Tuesday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said it plans to issue an environmental assessment (EA) for the project [CP15-90] on Oct. 5. The deadline for making a final decision on authorization would follow 90 days later, on Dec. 4. The Commission said on April 2 that it would conduct the EA (see Daily GPIApril 2).

"If a schedule change becomes necessary, additional notice will be provided so that the relevant agencies are kept informed of the project's progress," FERC said.

Documents filed with FERC show that earlier this month, the Commission told officials with the Mississippi and Ohio branch offices of the Department of Interior's U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) that FERC does not believe the project would harm several endangered species in those two states, and asked if they concurred with that assessment; they did so in separate follow-up letters.

On Wednesday, FERC asked Texas Eastern to provide, within five days, additional information to help it process the company's application. Specifically, it asked Tetco to break down the $15.6 million it listed as first-year operations and maintenance expenses, and to differentiate between labor and nonlabor costs. 

According to Texas Eastern's initial filing with FERC in February (see Daily GPIMarch 5), the project will add receipt point capacity of 350,000 Dth/d in Market Zone 2, enhancing access to supplies from the Marcellus and Utica production areas; 150,000 Dth/d in Market Zone 1; and 150,000 Dth/d in Zone STX, providing additional capacity for growing gas supplies from production areas in Texas.

It would also include additional delivery point capacity of 150,000 Dth/d in Zone M1; and 500,000 Dth/d in Zone WLA, including capacity at Texas Eastern's interconnection with Golden Triangle Storage and the Cameron Interstate Pipeline.

Texas Eastern plans to allow for bidirectional compression at stations in Scioto County, OH; Bath County, KY; Giles County, TN; Monroe County, MS; Beauregard Parish, LA; and Saint Landry Parish, LA. At existing launchers and receivers in Franklin County, MS, bidirectional in-line inspection would be added, while additional compressor units would be added in Lavaca County, TX, and Saint Landry Parish, and gas chromatographs would be added in Pointe Coupee Parish, LA.

Texas Eastern plans to have the project enter service in two phases: in November 2016 and August 2017.

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