FERC staff has prepared an environmental assessment (EA) for Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. LLC's (TGP) proposed Connecticut Expansion Project, which is designed to provide more natural gas, including some from the Marcellus Shale, at its northeastern delivery end through upgrades to its existing pipeline system in three states.

The project would expand the natural gas delivery capacity to the northeast region of the United States by up to 72.1 MMcf/d, according to the 308-page EA [CP14-529]. The additional incremental firm transportation capacity would go to TGP's 200 Line and 300 Line pipeline systems. Both pipelines traverse and transport gas from the Appalachian Basin and the Marcellus.

When it filed its application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last year, TGP said the project would include construction of two sections of 36-inch diameter looping pipeline totaling 1.35 miles in Albany County, NY, and 3.81 miles in Berkshire and Hampden counties, MA, and one section of 24-inch diameter looping pipeline totaling 8.1 miles in Massachusetts and Hartford County, CT (see Shale DailyAug. 15, 2014). Minor modifications would also be made to TGP's existing Agawam Compressor Station in Massachusetts. TGP parent Kinder Morgan has said the project would cost $85.7 million.

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FERC staff concluded that approval of the project would not constitute a major federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment, and potential impacts would be reduced with the implementation of TGP's proposed minimization and mitigation measures and 27 additional measures recommended in the EA.

Assuming regulatory approvals, TGP anticipates construction to begin before the end of this year and an in-service date of Nov. 1, 2016.

TGP launched an open season for the project in 2013, and secured long-term agreements with Connecticut Natural Gas Corp., Yankee Gas Services Co. and Southern Connecticut Gas Co. (see Daily GPIJuly 18, 2013).

Last week, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey called on FERC to take up a comprehensive evaluation of the potential impacts of TGP's proposed Northeast Energy Direct (NED) pipeline, including considering if NED and other pipelines proposed for the region -- including the Connecticut Expansion project -- are needed (see Daily GPIOct. 21).

A public comment period on the EA is open until Nov. 23.