FERC Monday issued a favorable environmental assessment (EA) of Tennessee Gas Pipeline's Northeast Upgrade Project, which when combined with the 300 Line expansion that recently went into service, will add 1 Bcf/d of capacity to transport gas from the Marcellus Shale basin to Northeast markets.

"Approval of the proposed project, with appropriate mitigating measures, would not constitute a major federal action significantly affecting the quality of human environment," the staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) concluded in the EA [CP11-161].

The project will allow an additional 636,000 Dth/d of natural gas to be transported along Tennessee's 300 Line in Pennsylvania to an interconnect with Algonquin Gas Transmission in Mahwah, NJ, to serve growing markets in the Northeast. To create the additional firm transportation capacity, Tennessee proposes to upgrade the remaining 24-inch diameter parts of the 300 Line by constructing five, 30-inch diameter pipeline loops and modifying four existing compression stations. The five loops (a total of 40 miles) will close out the remaining unlooped segments of Tennessee's existing 300 Line east of Bradford County, PA into New Jersey.

The 300 Line forward-haul expansion, which went into service earlier this month, increased capacity on the Tennessee's system by 350 MMcf/d (see Shale Daily, Nov. 2). The project included installation of eight looping segments in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, totaling 127 miles of 30-inch diameter pipeline, and the addition of about 55,000 hp of compression through the installation of two compressor stations and upgrades at seven existing stations.

Tennessee has asked the Commission to issued a certificate for the Northeast Upgrade Project by Dec. 15, so that it can place the project facilities in service by no later than Nov. 1, 2013.

Tennessee said it has secured binding 20-year agreements with Chesapeake Energy Marketing Inc. and Statoil Natural Gas LLC for 100% of the capacity.