FERC Monday approved the joint application of Gulf South Pipeline and Petal Gas Storage to build and lease capacity for the Southeast Market Expansion Project to increase gas deliveries primarily to the Southeast.

Houston-based Gulf South Pipeline, a subsidiary of Boardwalk Pipeline Partners, is planning to construct approximately 70 miles of 24-inch diameter and 30-inch diameter natural gas pipeline facilities in Mississippi and Alabama; and 34,215 horsepower of additional compression in Mississippi. It also had asked that Petal Gas Storage LLC be permitted to abandon 510,500 Dth/d of firm transportation capacity by lease to Gulf South [CP13-96].

In two separate open seasons Gulf South said it signed binding precedent agreements with customers interested in receiving the 510,500 Dth/d.

In approving the project, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) order said "Gulf South's proposed project, as conditioned, will benefit the public since it will develop additional markets on Gulf South's system and will provide access to new onshore sources of natural gas."

Most of the project's incremental capacity would serve the expanding Southeast gas markets, but it also would provide additional volumes to the Northeast market via an interconnect with Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line, according to Gulf South.

The project, which has an estimated cost of $283.8 million, is targeted for in-service on Nov. 1, 2014. Construction is scheduled to get underway in April 2014.

Gulf South is a web-like pipeline that gathers natural gas from prolific basins between Texas and Alabama -- such as the Haynesville Shale and Tuscaloosa Marine Shale -- and delivers the gas to on-system markets within its footprint and to off-system markets in the Northeast, Midwest and Southeast through interconnections with third party pipelines.