Portland Natural Gas Transmission System (PNGTS) on Tuesday received FERC approval to increase its import-export capacity in Maine by 32 MMcf/d and capacity on the north segment by 42 MMcf/d.

No infrastructure additions to the Portland system are required. The capacity expansion results from Trans-Quebec increasing the delivery pressure to PNGTS at the U.S.-Canadian border.

Under an amendment to its presidential permit authorization, PNGTS is now authorized to raise its import-export capacity to 210 MMcf/d from 178 MMcf/d. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission also authorized the pipeline's request to raise its capacity on its north facilities by 42 MMcf/d between Pittsburg, NH, near the U.S.-Canadian border, and Westbrook, ME.

PNGTS's north system consists of 142 miles of mainline transmission pipelines and an interconnection with Trans-Quebec at the U.S.-Canadian border. The remainder of the system, a 101-mile segment between Westbrook and Dracut, MA, is jointly owned by Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline LLC. TransCanada Corp.’s master limited partnership TC PipeLines LPis a majority owner of PNGTS.

With the changes, the north system and the jointly owned portion would each have certificated maximum capacities of 210 MMcf/d, matching the presidential permit authorization maximum.

FERC said the latest authorizations would allow PNGTS to increase gas flows to and from Canada to meet shippers' needs, and the added import-export capacity will "promote national economic policy by reducing barriers to foreign trade and stimulating the flow of goods and services between the United States and Canada."

Since the heating season started Nov. 1, essentially all gas into PNGTS has flowed from TQM at Pittsburg, NH. That interconnect has a stated operating capacity of roughly 168 MMcf/d, but total scheduled receipt quantities at Pittsburg have far outpaced that figure since Nov. 7, reaching a daily high of 263 MMcf/d on Nov. 9.