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Inergy, National Fuel, NiSource Plan Marcellus Pipelines

August 31, 2009
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As fast as producers are developing new supplies in the Marcellus Shale, pipeline operators are lining up new pipes to criss-cross the Appalachians. Recently Inergy Midstream LLC reported on successful open seasons for two pipeline projects in the area, National Fuel Gas Supply Corp. announced an open season for new pipe capacity in central Pennsylvania, and NiSource Inc. said it is looking for partners for the largest plan so far, a $1.7 billion investment in two new Marcellus lines.

Inergy Midstream, a subsidiary of Inergy LP, reported its recent open seasons on two Northeast pipelines received a resounding response and both projects will now move forward with expected in-service targets of fall 2011.

The Kansas City, MO-based storage and pipeline developer said it has received indications of interest exceeding 400% of the capacity required to construct the 43-mile Marc I Hub Line and indications of interest exceeding 600% of the capacity required to construct the North-South project. Together the projects will allow shippers to wheel/transport gas bidirectionally through up to a 36-inch diameter pipe on a firm basis approximately 75 miles between Millennium Pipeline in Tioga County, NY, and Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Corp.'s Leidy Line in Columbia County, PA, and all points in between.

"The response to the open season exceeds our expectations, and we could not be more excited about validating the strong commercial interest in these projects," said Inergy CEO John Sherman. Inergy Midstream, which issued the open seasons late last month, said it is finalizing design and route selection, plans to structure long-term binding precedent agreements with each of the interested shippers and expects to make all the required regulatory applications this fall.

National Fuel Gas Supply has announced it is holding a binding open season through 11 a.m. EDT Oct. 8 for incremental transportation capacity from new and existing system interconnects in the Marcellus Shale fairway in central Pennsylvania to serve Northeast markets via the Leidy, PA, market hub.

The company is prepared to construct the expansion in phases. Phase I would transport approximately 200,000 Dth/d from the Marcellus producing area through a new 32-mile pipeline to be constructed through Elk, Cameron and Clinton counties, PA, to the Leidy Hub, with an anticipated in-service date of November 2011. Phase II would provide additional capacity of at least 300,000 Dth/d and would consist of approximately 50 miles of new pipeline and compression, extending the Phase I facilities through Clearfield and Jefferson counties, PA, to the company's Line K in western Elk County with an anticipated in-service date of November 2012.

The expansion is being offered as a stand-alone project, but the facilities are projected to become part of the previously announced West-to-East/Appalachian Lateral project (see NGI, Sept. 15, 2008). The longer-term West-to-East/Appalachian Lateral project involves additional upstream and downstream pipeline and compression designed to provide a transportation path from Clarington, OH, to Corning, NY. More information is available at www.nationalfuelgas.com/supply or by calling (716) 857-7740.

And standing in the wings is NiSource. The company said it may spend as much as $1.2 billion on a pair of pipelines by 2016 and look to partners to invest another $500 million in an effort to increase capacity out of the Marcellus Shale.

The Merrillville, IN-based company is considering spending $1 billion on a 1 Bcf/d express line with receipt and delivery points running along NiSource's 1804 corridor between Waynesburg, PA, and Eagle, PA, according to NiSource spokesman Cindy Donaldson. The pipeline would have possible interconnects with Williams' Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line or Texas Eastern Transmission. NiSource would seek partners to cover half of the cost for the pipeline.

Another $700 million could be spent to construct a pipeline to carry 500-800 MMcf/d from the Marcellus in southwestern Pennsylvania to Corning, NY, subsidiary Columbia Gas Transmission's (CGT) "Columbia Penn corridor," Donaldson said. The corridor parallels CGT's existing Line 1711 near Waynesburg and extends in a northeasterly direction through the center of the state toward Corning, where it would connect with the Millennium Pipeline.

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