Spectra Energy last Monday announced plans for a second expansion of its Texas Eastern Transmission Co. (Tetco) pipeline system to provide natural gas customers in Northeast markets with greater access to emerging Rocky Mountain supply and regional gas storage opportunities.

The Houston-based company is holding a binding open season through Nov. 16 to test the market demand for the proposed Texas Eastern Incremental Market Expansion (TIME) III project, an expansion of the pipeline from Oakford, PA, to the Northeast markets through additional compression and pipeline looping. The project, which will have an estimated price tag of $300 million, is targeted for in-service in late 2010, Spectra Energy said.

The announcement of the TIME III expansion came less than a month after Tetco began testing the waters for a "Northern Bridge" expansion of its system, which would provide incremental capacity from Clarington, OH, where the eastern leg of the Rockies Express Pipeline (REX) will terminate, to Oakford in the Philadelphia-Camden metropolitan area (see NGI, Sept. 10).

The REX-East project, which will push the pipeline east to Clarington, is expected to go into service sometime in 2008. Capacity of 1.6 MMDth/d is anticipated by the end of 2008, with 1.8 MMDth/d of capacity scheduled by July 1, 2009. Primary point interconnects will be at Lebanon, OH, with Columbia Gas Transmission (Columbia), Dominion, Tetco and Vectron, and at Clarington with Columbia, Dominion East Ohio and Tetco.

The proposed TIME III expansion would provide many potential receipt points for supply to the Northeast, including existing natural gas storage fields in Oakford and the proposed Steckman Ridge gas storage project in Bedford, PA; points to be created by the proposed Northern Bridge expansion; and interconnections to a number of other gas pipelines, Spectra Energy said.

"This project continues our strategy to help bring great supply reliability, diversity and security to consumers in New England and the Mid-Atlantic," said Bill Yardley, group vice president for Spectra Energy.

Spectra Energy, which comprises the former natural gas businesses of Duke Energy, became a stand-alone, publicly traded company in January, emerging as one of the leading pure-play gas midstream companies in North America. Its pipeline subsidiary, Tetco, is one of the largest gas pipeline systems in North America with 6.2 Bcf of daily throughput and 75.1 Bcf of storage.

The company last month said it plans to invest about $1.5 billion, which is half of its projected capital expenditures for the next three years, in building expansions that will bring incremental natural gas supplies to the growing New England, New York and New Jersey markets.

Gas demand in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region is expected to grow by approximately 25% to more than 13 Bcf/d by 2015, according to Spectra Energy. In order to meet that demand growth, Spectra Energy noted that it has several projects under construction, including the TIME II project, Algonquin Northeast Gateway project, Algonquin Cape Code extension, Algonquin Ramapo expansion and Maritimes & Northeast's Phase IV expansion project where Spectra Energy serves as the lead partner.

For more information on the TIME III open season, contact Rob Hansen at (617) 560-1549.

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