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Maritimes Seeks FERC OK to Export Gas to Canada

Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline LLC has asked FERC for authorization so that, in addition to importing natural gas at the U.S.-Canadian border, it can export gas to Canada.

Specifically, the pipeline has requested that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) amend its presidential permit and authorization under Section 3 of the Natural Gas act (NGA) to use its cross-border facilities, which have a design capacity of 833,317 Dth/d, to export gas from the United States into Canada [CP96-810]. The border-crossing facilities are near the St. Croix River near Woodland, ME.

"Maritimes proposes no construction or modification to its previously approved facilities in connection with this request. [And] given the limited scope of the amendment, and in order to allow Maritimes to be responsive to recent inquiries from shippers concerning such export capability, Maritimes requests expedited approval of this application" by no later than June 1.

"The requested amendment is in the public interest. Section 3(c) of the NGA provides that exportation of natural gas 'to a nation with which there is in effect a free trade agreement requiring national treatment for trade in natural gas, shall be deemed to be consistent with the public interest. Canada is such a nation,'" Maritimes told FERC.

In January Maritimes placed in service its Phase IV expansion, which will accommodate the importation of regasified liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the Canaport import terminal via Emera's Brunswick Pipeline (see NGI, Jan. 12). Both the Canaport LNG terminal and the Brunswick Pipeline are expected to be placed into service during the second quarter, according to Maritimes' application.

The $320 million Maritimes expansion will provide the Canaport LNG terminal with access to U.S. northeastern gas markets by bolstering mainline capacity by approximately 418,000 Dth/d to about 800 MMcf/d, said Maritimes, which is owned by Duke Energy, Emera Inc. and ExxonMobil Corp. Canaport is jointly sponsored by Irving Oil and Repsol YPF in Saint John, NB (see NGI, Feb. 19, 2007).

Emera, which has a 12.92% stake in Maritimes, is nearing completion of the 90-mile, 30-inch diameter Brunswick Pipeline from the LNG terminal through southwestern New Brunswick to a connection with the U.S. portion of Maritimes at the international border near Baileyville, ME. As a result of this connection, Maritimes said it will be capable of receiving imports of gas from the 330-mile Canadian leg of its pipeline or the Brunswick Pipeline, or both.

The $350 million Brunswick Pipeline will be capable of carrying 850 MMcf/d of regasified LNG and its capacity can be expanded with added compression. The pipe was approved by Canada's National Energy Board in June 2007 (see NGI, June 4, 2007). Emera has negotiated a 25-year send-or-pay toll agreement with Repsol to transport gas through the Brunswick Pipeline.

Canaport LNG will be the first onshore LNG regasification terminal constructed on the Atlantic coast in decades and will be a major development for energy consumers from New Brunswick to Maine, and New Hampshire to Massachusetts (see NGI, Sept. 8, 2008).

The Maritimes' Phase IV project consisted of five new compressor stations in the towns of Eliot, Westbrook, Searsmont, Brewer and Woodchopping Ridge in Maine; approximately 1.7 miles of 30-inch diameter pipeline loop adjacent to Maritimes' existing right-of-way from the U.S.-Canada border to its Baileyville compressor station; and two new meter stations in Maine [CP05-335, CP96, 810].

Maritimes is already moving forward with plans for a Phase V expansion of its system. The project would increase the capacity of the 340-mile U.S. portion of its pipeline system to transport new gas supplies from EnCana Corp.'s planned Deep Panuke project, located off the coast of Nova Scotia, to markets in Atlantic Canada and the Northeast United States.

Phase V would further increase the capacity of the U.S. leg of the Maritimes system through the installation of additional compression at existing stations and a short length of pipeline loop within an existing corridor. Maritimes said it expects to place the approximately $240 million project in service in November 2010.

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