FERC Thursday issued favorable environmental assessments of Tennessee Gas Pipeline's and Dominion Transmission Inc.'s proposed system expansions to deliver Marcellus Shale gas to growing markets in New York and New England.

"Approval of the proposed projects, with appropriate mitigating measures, would not constitute a major federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment," the staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) said of Tennessee's Northeast Supply Diversification Project (NSD) and Dominion Transmission's Ellisburg-to-Craigs Project [CP11-30, CP11-41].

Tennessee, a pipeline owned by El Paso Corp., said its NSD project would provide up to 250,000 Dth/d of incremental firm capacity from the Marcellus Shale region along its 300 Line system to serve existing markets in New England and the Niagara Falls area of New York. The NSD project is Tennessee's third expansion in as many years out of the Appalachian/Marcellus supply basins.

The project calls for the construction of approximately seven miles of 30-inch diameter pipeline looping in Bradford and Tioga counties, PA -- west of the pipeline's Station 317 compressor station -- and other associated modifications in Niagara and Erie counties, NY. The company has targeted the proposed facilities for in-service by Nov. 1, 2012. It is expected to cost less than $100 million, according to Tennessee.

To accommodate shippers' requested transportation paths from Marcellus receipt points to markets in New England and at Niagara Falls, the NSD project combines two Tennessee projects: the original NSD project, which will provide transportation service to New England; and the Marcellus to Leidy and Niagara project, which will provide transportation service to Niagara Falls.

Tennessee has executed binding 15-year term agreements with Cabot Oil & Gas Corp.; Anadarko Energy Services Co., a subsidiary of Anadarko Petroleum Corp.; and Seneca Resources Corp., a subsidiary of National Fuel Gas Co., for NSD capacity (see Daily GPI, June 29, 2010).

Tennessee has inked a 10-year lease agreement for capacity on Dominion Transmission's Ellisburg-to-Craigs expansion, which would move up to 150,000 Dth/d from Tennessee's 300 Line in northern Pennsylvania to its 200 Line in upstate New York. Dominion plans to have its project's in-service date coincide with the in-service date of Tennessee's NSD project: Nov. 1, 2012.

The project is to include additional compression facilities and a new measurement and regulating station at the Craigs interconnect with Tennessee in New York. Dominion said it will also add regulating facilities on its system in northern Pennsylvania (see Daily GPI, Aug. 10, 2010).