Construction of Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line’s (Transco) Leidy Southeast expansion, which would help alleviate capacity constraints in the Marcellus Shale, “would not constitute a major federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment,” according to an environmental assessment (EA) prepared by FERC staff.

Potential impacts of the project would be reduced with the implementation of Transco’s proposed minimization and mitigation measures and more than two dozen additional measures recommended by staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, according to the 474-page EA.

The expansion project would supply an additional 525,000 Dth/d of capacity from Transco’s Leidy line in Pennsylvania as far south as Choctaw County, AL.

FERC will accept comments on the EA through Sept. 10, and is expected to make a final decision on authorizing the project [CP13-551] by Nov. 9.

Transco filed an application at FERC to build and operate the Leidy Southeast expansion in October, with a target in service date of Dec. 1, 2015 (see Shale Daily, Oct. 2, 2013). The proposed expansion would help alleviate severe capacity constraints in the Marcellus Shale while also serving the growing needs of local distribution companies along the Atlantic Seaboard.

The project would expand the Leidy Line’s currently subscribed firm transportation capacity of 1.7 million Dth/d by about 30%, providing firm transportation from various supply points along Transco’s Leidy Line to delivery points along its mainline system as far south as Transco’s existing Station 85 Zone 4 and 4A Pooling Points in Choctaw County. Environmental groups have sought to block the project (see Shale Daily, July 3, 2013).

Transco previously executed binding precedent agreements with seven companies: Capitol Energy Ventures Corp. (20,000 Dth/d), South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. (40,000 Dth/d), Anadarko Energy Services (50,000 Dth/d), MMGS Inc (50,000 Dth/d), Piedmont Natural Gas Co. (100,000 Dth/d), Public Service Company of North Carolina Inc. (100,000 Dth/d) and Washington Gas Light Co. (165,000 Dth/d).

The $607 million project would involve the construction of approximately 30 miles of 42-inch diameter pipe segments in four separate segments in Mercer, Somerset and Hunterdon counties, NJ, and Monroe and Luzerne counties, PA; the net addition of 71,900 hp at four existing compressor stations; and minor modifications to meter stations and associated facilities. The pipeline loops vary in length and are expected to parallel the existing Transco system, either completely within, or adjacent to, the existing utility corridor.

The planned expansion may “significantly affect” service next year in some segments, Transco reported earlier this year (see Shale Daily, March 31).

Transco, able to carry up to 9.9 Bcf, runs 10,200 miles from the Gulf Coast to markets in the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, including New York City.