FERC Thursday approved Iroquois Gas Transmission System LP's request to use its existing import facilities at the United States-Canadian border to export gas to Canada in light of the growing supply of shale gas in the United States.

In its application Iroquois told the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that it believed with the anticipated development of shale gas production near its interstate pipeline, additional supplies of gas would likely enter its system in the foreseeable future, thus expanding the opportunities for export to Canadian markets.

Iroquois won't have to build new facilities to export the gas. It has recently established facilities at its interconnection with Algonquin Gas Transmission at Brookfield, CT, to carry exports. "Now that Iroquois has established its interconnection with Algonquin for the receipt of natural gas...the opportunity exists for Iroquois not only to transport gas from Waddington [NY] to points south on its pipeline system, but also to transport gas received at Brookfield...to points north" in Canada, Iroquois said in its proposal [CP10-422].

Iroquois received its original presidential permit to import gas in 1990. At the time Iroquois was constructed for the purpose of transporting Canadian gas to Northeast U.S. markets.

But now with its interconnection with Algonquin, Iroquois can physically receive and export U.S. gas to the Canadian market.

The Iroquois pipeline is owned by a limited partnership that is composed of five U.S. and Canadian energy companies. The pipeline extends from the New York-Canadian border near Iroquois, ON, at Waddington, through western Connecticut to its terminus in Commack, NY, and from Huntington to the Bronx.

Iroquois is not the only pipeline looking to export to Canada due to the bountiful supply of U.S. shale gas. Currently in the works is the Northern Access expansion of National Fuel Gas Supply, which will transport 320 MMcf/d of Marcellus Shale gas to connections with TransCanada Pipe Line near Lewiston, NY (see Daily GPI, April 29). Statoil has signed on for 100% of the capacity on the line, which is targeted for completion in June 2012. The project involves changes to the jointly owned Niagara Spur & Loop Line operated by Tennessee Gas Pipeline.

By 2020 estimates are the Marcellus shale could be producing between 10-20 Bcf/d, Greg Maliken of National Fuel Gas Co. said at the Eastern Oil & Gas Conference and Trade show. "Marcellus has changed everything," he added.

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