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Cove Point Expansion Enters Full Service Following Pipe Completion

After officially entering service on Jan. 1 (see Daily GPI, Jan. 6), Dominion's Cove Point liquefied natural gas (LNG) expansion project went into full commercial service Thursday after the Maryland segment of the project -- 48 miles of 36-inch diameter pipeline loop -- was completed.

Output capacity for the LNG plant on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland has increased by 80% to 1.8 Bcf/d while the terminal's LNG storage capacity has nearly doubled to 14.6 Bcfe. New Pennsylvania and Maryland pipelines will help the terminal serve Northeast and Mid-Atlantic markets.

"The plant expansion itself was operational and open on the first of the year," Dominion spokesman Dan Donovan told NGI. "The last piece in place was the pipeline in Maryland, which was just completed last Saturday [March 21]."

As for when the first tanker was scheduled to come in, Donovan was mum. "Parts of the expansion are already in use at the discretion of the plant manager," he said. "Other than that, we don't really comment on when ships are coming in. That is the customers' business."

New facilities include:

"Dominion Cove Point is a world-class natural gas import facility with ready access to both the customers and storage areas that make up the world's largest natural gas market," said Dominion CEO Thomas F. Farrell II.

A subsidiary of StatoilHydro ASA has contracted for all the new capacity, including firm transportation and storage services in Pennsylvania. The previously existing capacity was already under contract. Although pipeline construction is now complete, property restoration will continue. Dominion said it will continue to monitor restored land along the pipeline route until it has been returned to its original condition or better.

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