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Spectra’s Atlantic Bridge Gets FERC OK to Begin Construction

FERC granted Spectra Energy affiliates Algonquin Gas Transmission LLC and Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline LLC authorization Wednesday to construct and operate the Atlantic Bridge Project.

Atlantic Bridge, estimated to cost about $450 million, would add 132,705 Dth/d of capacity on the Algonquin and Maritimes pipeline systems. Designed to flow south-to-north, the project's available firm transportation capacity is fully subscribed through precedent agreements with five local distribution companies, two manufacturing companies and a municipal utility, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission order [CP16-9].

Algonquin has proposed adding a 7,700 hp compressor station in Norfolk County, MA; roughly 6.3 miles of 42-inch diameter pipe to replace existing 26-inch pipe in Westchester County, NY, and Fairfield County, CT; and a metering and regulating (M&R) station in New London County, CT. Algonquin has also proposed expanding three existing compressor stations in New York and Connecticut to add another 31,950 hp, along with various other modifications to existing equipment, according to FERC.

Maritimes plans to modify an existing M&R station in Cumberland County, ME, and "use existing capacity to transport gas to existing delivery points along its system, including delivery points on existing systems in Canada."

Maritimes and Algonquin filed for a certificate of convenience and necessity to construct Atlantic Bridge in 2015. FERC issued a favorable environmental assessment for the project last May. Spectra has said it plans to complete Atlantic Bridge by November.

Approval for Atlantic Bridge comes as another Spectra-backed New England pipeline expansion, the Access Northeast Project, has encountered difficulties securing regulatory approval at the state level. Meanwhile, Spectra's Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) expansion was recently placed fully into service.

In the discussion portion of Wednesday's order, FERC responded to commenters suggesting the Commission had improperly segmented its review of Atlantic Bridge from reviews of AIM and Access Northeast. FERC said Atlantic Bridge and Access Northeast were in their early development stages at the time it approved the AIM project, making an environmental review covering all three projects inapplicable under federal law.

The Algonquin system, 100%-owned by Spectra, comprises 1,129 miles of pipeline in New England, New York and New Jersey. Maritimes comprises 346 miles of pipeline in the Northeast and 543 miles in Canada. Spectra owns a roughly 78% stake in the pipeline system, with Emera Inc. and ExxonMobil Corp. owning the remaining interest.

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