FERC Friday gave Dominion Transmission Inc. (DTI) the go-ahead to place into service its Appalachian Gateway pipeline, which will loosen a bottleneck to allow for the transportation of shale and conventional natural gas production from West Virginia and southwestern Pennsylvania to growing markets in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. The facilities were to begin service on Saturday (Sept. 1), said DTI spokesman Dan Donovan.

The project of DTI, a subsidiary of Richmond, VA-based Dominion Resources, involved the construction of 110 miles of 20-, 24- and 30-inch diameter pipeline between West Virginia and Pennsylvania, as well as the installation of four compressor stations, adding about 17,000 hp; and upgrades to existing compressor stations in the two states (see Shale Daily, June 20, 2011).

The pipeline facilities will allow DTI to ultimately deliver 484,260 Dth/d to an interconnect with Texas Eastern Transmission at its jointly owned Oakford storage facility with Spectra Energy in Delmont, PA, east of Pittsburgh [CP10-448]. The project's capacity is 100% subscribed, mostly by West Virginia producers and some producers in Pennsylvania, Donovan said.

The project is designed to lessen the bottleneck, which existed prior to the boom in Marcellus Shale development, that prevented some of the gas producers in West Virginia and southwestern Pennsylvania from getting gas to markets in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, he said. It will carry both unconventional and conventional gas which, because it is mostly wet in West Virginia, will have to be processed at Dominion's facility in Hastings, WV.

DTI said it has 18 contracts with supply aggregators in the Appalachian region for the full design capacity of the project. The largest customer, which has reserved slightly more than half of the capacity, will be affiliate Dominion Field Services. Each of the agreements is for firm service for a primary term of 10 years.