The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved Tennessee Gas Pipeline's request to place into service another segment (Loop 321) of its 300 Line expansion in Susquehanna and Wayne counties in northeastern Pennsylvania, bringing the pipeline one step closer to the completion of its major 300 Line project.

Tennessee undertook the expansion of its 300 Line at the request of Pittsburgh-based Equitable Energy, which wanted incremental pipeline capacity to move additional Appalachian natural gas, principally supplies from Kentucky and West Virginia, to the Northeast. But other Tennessee shippers, particularly Marcellus Shale producers, are likely to benefit from the expansion of the 300 Line, said Richard Wheatley, a spokesman for El Paso Corp., parent of Tennessee Gas Pipeline.

The $600 million expansion of the 300 Line, which runs through the heart of the Marcellus shale basin (from western Pennsylvania to eastern Pennsylvania and into northern New Jersey), will add about 350,000 Dth/d of capacity to the pipeline's system, and is expected to be ready for service in November, Wheatley said. He noted that Tennessee already moves more than 1 Bcf/d of Marcellus gas.

In addition to Marcellus and other sources of Appalachian gas, the project will provide greater access to Rocky Mountain and Gulf Coast gas, according to Tennessee.

The FERC-approved Loop 321 is one of seven looping segments that will make up the 300 Line expansion. Loop 321 is not the last segment to be installed, according to Wheatley. "There are a few more to come." All told, the project will consist of 128 miles of 30-inch diameter looping; and approximately 55,000 hp following the installation of two new compressor stations and upgrades at seven existing compressor stations.