Algonquin Gas Transmission LLC received authorization from FERC last week to begin service on its 16-mile pipeline connecting the company's New England-area natural gas pipeline system to Excelerate Energy's Northeast Gateway deepwater liquefied natural gas (LNG) port.

Excelerate has said it expects the port to begin operation this month (see NGI, Oct. 22; May 28); however, no one at the Houston-based company responded to a request for comment last week. Meanwhile, Reuters reported last Thursday that a source at Excelerate confirmed "exclusive conversations with [German utility] RWE" about a possible sale. Rumors of a possible sale of Excelerate have circulated in the industry for some time.

"In granting this approval we note that rehabilitation and restoration of the seafloor and other areas affected by the project are proceeding satisfactorily and in compliance with the terms of the Order, as observed during staff inspections and as reflected in the progress reports Algonquin has submitted on a weekly basis...," wrote Richard Hoffmann, director of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) division of gas-environment and engineering, in a letter to Algonquin.

Algonquin's 24-inch diameter lateral connects its existing HubLine pipe in Massachusetts Bay to the LNG facility, 13 miles off the coast. The pipeline has capacity to deliver up to 800,000 Dth/d of incremental supply to the Northeast market.

FERC granted a certificate for the lateral in March (see NGI, March 19), about one month after the U.S. Maritime Administration issued a deepwater port license to Excelerate for the port, the first of its kind in the Northeast, according to the company (see NGI, Feb. 12).

Excelerate has said the port will be operated by Skaugen Offshore and will accommodate Excelerate's proprietary Energy Bridge Regasification Vessel fleet operated by Exmar NV. With peak deliveries of up to 800 MMcf/d, Northeast Gateway will be able to deliver about 500 MMcf/d into the New England market during normal operations, or approximately 20% of that market's current annual consumption.

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