FERC on Friday authorized Rover Pipeline LLC to start up three units at its Compressor Station 1 in Carroll County, OH, putting the 3.25 Bcf/d mega project a step closer to bringing its full capacity online by 1Q2018.

The three units would increase capacity on Rover to 1.2 Bcf/d from around 680 MMcf/d currently, according to a supplemental request filed Thursday with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [CP15-93].

"Rover customers have indicated that they have supply available at this time to utilize this additional capacity," it said. Rover had initially requested authorization to place the units into service last month.

In its request, Rover said it has completed commissioning the units and conducted noise testing to ensure the site is in compliance with FERC regulations. Rover asked for immediate authorization.

"This requested in-service schedule is necessary to permit Rover's shippers to make the requisite contractual and operational arrangements to flow natural gas on the Rover Pipeline system beginning as early as Oct. 7," or Saturday, Rover wrote.

After starting up last month, Rover has been flowing around 700 MMcf/d east-to-west from Cadiz, OH, to interconnects with Panhandle and ANR in Defiance, OH, according to NGI’s daily Rover Tracker.

The additional capacity comes as Rover has resumed horizontal directional drilling activities at key sites, including along the supply gathering portion of the pipeline. The 710-mile system is designed to transport Marcellus and Utica shale gas to markets in the Midwest, Gulf Coast and Canada.

More takeaway on Rover can't come soon enough for Appalachian producers that have faced crushing shoulder season basis differentials in the month of October. Dominion South has been trading at sub-$1/MMBtu prices, a roughly $2/MMBtu discount to Henry Hub, according to NGI.

Sponsor Energy Transfer Partners LP has said it expects Rover's Phase 1B, which would allow service on additional supply laterals in eastern Ohio, to be ready in the fourth quarter, with the full project -- including a second Mainline and an interconnect with the Vector Pipeline in Michigan -- online by the end of March.