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FERC Approves Transco's Rockaway and Northeast Projects

FERC has given regulatory approval to a pair of pipeline projects designed to supply two boroughs of New York City with additional natural gas, just in time for the 2014-2015 winter season.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Thursday issued certificates and granted abandonment for Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Co. LLC's (Transco) Rockaway Delivery Lateral and Northeast Connector projects [CP13-36-000 & CP13-132-000], two projects that will collectively allow Transco to provide 647,000 Dth/d of transportation service to Brooklyn and Queens (see Daily GPIDec. 10, 2013).

FERC staff issued a favorable final environmental impact statement (FEIS) for both projects in February (see Daily GPIFeb. 28).

"We have reviewed the information and analysis contained in the FEIS regarding potential environmental effects of the Rockaway and Northeast Connector Projects," FERC Secretary Kimberly Rose wrote in the 51-page order. "Based on our consideration of this information and the discussion above, we agree with the conclusions presented in the FEIS and find that the proposed projects, if constructed and operated as described in the FEIS, are environmentally acceptable actions.

"We are accepting the environmental recommendations in the FEIS and are including them as conditions to this order..."

Transco's Rockaway Lateral project calls for the construction and operation of 3.2 miles of 26-inch diameter pipeline, a new meter station and associated facilities. It would extend Transco's existing Lower New York Bay Lateral in the Atlantic Ocean off of Brooklyn to National Grid's distribution system in the city, at a delivery point on the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens.

Meanwhile, the Northeast Connector project will enable Transco to provide 100,000 Dth/d of firm transportation service to National Grid at the same interconnection, and would allow National Grid to shift 547,000 Dth/d from an existing delivery point on Long Island, NY, to a new delivery point on the Rockaway Peninsula. Compression facilities in York County, PA, and Mercer and Middlesex counties, NJ, would be upgraded.

"Our execution on the Rockaway Lateral and Northeast Connector expansions underscores our broader corporate strategy to connect the best natural gas supplies with the best markets," said Rory Miller, Williams senior vice president for the Atlantic-Gulf operating area. "We are committed to constructing and operating these projects in a timely, responsible, environmentally sensitive manner."

Although Transco said it recorded three peak delivery days during the winter of 2013-2014, Miller said FERC's ruling meant the new infrastructure would be in place before the onset of the next winter season.

"FERC's decision supports our timeline, which we understand is a high-priority for New York City as it makes significant progress toward meeting clean-air goals," Miller said. "We expect residents and building owners who have upgraded to natural gas heating will continue to enjoy meaningful savings compared with heating oil."

Both projects are among about $5 billion in infrastructure investments that Williams Partners expects to make to its 1,800-mile Transco system by 2017. According to the FERC order, the two projects will cost an estimated $48.5 million.

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