Natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica shales would have expanded access to Gulf Coast liquefaction and export thanks to a new agreement between Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America LLC (NGPL) and Cheniere Energy Inc.'s Corpus Christi Liquefaction LLC.

Corpus Christi signed up for 385,000 Dth/d of southbound capacity on NGPL's expanding Gulf Coast mainline for a 20-year term. The first phase of the planned expansion is expected to cost $212 million for facilities. NGPL southbound capacity from multiple receipt points will be increased, including from NGPL's interconnect with the Rockies Express Pipeline (REX) at Moultrie, IL. REX has recently become an outlet for Appalachian gas with the addition of westbound capacity (see Daily GPIAug. 31Aug. 19).

"We are pleased to move forward with this project as gas production increases in the Utica and Marcellus shale and markets continue to grow along the Gulf Coast," said NGPL President David Devine. "Additionally, we are delighted to provide transportation for Cheniere to bring attractively-priced supply to their LNG export facility being developed near Corpus Christi, TX."

NGPL is a Kinder Morgan Inc. (KMI) pipeline. Late last year, other KMI pipelines struck transportation/storage agreements with Corpus Christi Liquefaction (see Daily GPIDec. 10, 2014).

"Once again, we have the pleasure of working with Kinder Morgan and NGPL to secure transportation capacity that will provide additional certainty of gas supply for the Corpus Christi Liquefaction Project, which is now under construction," said Corey Grindal, vice president of supply and marketing for Cheniere.

NGPL's Gulf Coast Market Expansion is to include the reversal of four compressor stations in Victoria, Wharton, Montgomery and Angelina counties, TX, the addition of a compressor station in Cass County, TX, and minor pipe replacement and upgrades along the NGPL system in Texas. Pending regulatory approvals, the project is expected to be placed fully into service by July 2019.

For the flow date of Sept. 10, NGI's REX Zone 3 Tracker recorded a large increase in operating capacity at the Moultrie interconnect. Between Sept. 9 and 10, capacity there doubled from 615,000 Dth to 1,395,000 Dth. The increase brought utilization at the point down from 75% to just 33% as deliveries held steady.

The NGPL expansion news comes just one day after REX increased the operating capacity of its interconnect with ANR at Shelby, IN. The increase at Shelby brought operating capacity from 608,605 Dth to 1,253,000 Dth between the Sept. 8 and 9 flow dates.