Shale Daily / NGI All News Access

Empire Seeks OK to Start Service on Tioga County Extension

Empire Pipeline Inc. has asked FERC to approve its request by Oct. 28 to begin service on its Tioga County Extension to transport Marcellus Shale production in Pennsylvania to the U.S.-Canadian border [CP10-493].

"While Empire expects that the 15-mile Tioga County Extension and associated interconnections will not be ready for commercial service until mid-November, the other components of the project (i.e., the 1.36-mile lift-and-lay segment near Victory, NY; the interconnection with Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. in Hopewell, NY; and the repiping at the Oakfield Compressor Station and the old and new Victor stations) are expected to be ready for service on Nov. 1," Empire Pipeline said in a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

When originally built in the early 1990s Empire, a subsidiary of National Fuel Gas Co., consisted of a 24-inch diameter pipeline extending from an interconnection with TransCanada PipeLines Ltd. at the border between the United States and Canada near Chippawa, ON, eastward for 157 miles to its terminus near Syracuse, NY.

In 2006 Empire got the FERC go-ahead to construct the 78-mile, 24-inch diameter Empire Connector pipeline from Victor, NY (about 60 miles west of Syracuse) southward for 78 miles to an interconnection with Millennium Pipeline Co. LLC near Corning, NY, and a new Oakfield Compressor Station in the Town of Oakfield, NY. Although Empire started off as a Hinshaw pipeline, it is now a jurisdictional interstate pipeline transporting gas from the U.S.-Canadian border to customers along its original pipeline system and through the Empire Connector to Millennium.

The facilities that Empire now is seeking permission to place into service would allow it to reverse flow on its system and would permit it to receive up to 350,000 Dth/d of Marcellus Shale production in Tioga County, PA, and transport that gas to the facilities of TransCanada at Chippawa.

Empire said it has entered into precedent agreements for firm transportation service for the entire capacity of the project for an initial term of 10 years. The cost of the Tioga extension has been estimated at $46.7 million. FERC approved Empire's request for a predetermination that it may roll the costs of the expansion project into its existing Empire Connector rates in its next Section 4 rate proceeding.

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