FERC has issued certificates of public convenience and necessity for the Mountaineer XPress and Gulf XPress projects, a pair of TransCanada Corp. efforts to increase natural gas pipeline capacity out of the Appalachian Basin by expanding the company’s Columbia Gas Transmission LLC’s system.

Mountaineer XPress would add 164.5 miles of new 36-inch diameter pipe and 6 miles of new 24-inch diameter pipe to expand Columbia Gas Transmission LLC’s system in West Virginia [CP16-357]. The project would also include three new compressor stations located in Doddridge, Calhoun and Jackson counties, WV; two new regulating stations located in Jackson and Cabell counties; and various other facilities, upgrades and replacements.

The Gulf XPress project would add seven new compressor stations — three in Kentucky, two in Tennessee and two in Mississippi — to expand the capacity of Columbia Gulf Transmission LLC’s system [CP16-361]. The project would also include upgrades to an existing compressor in Carter County, KY, and an existing meter station in Boyd County, KY.

Mountaineer XPress would add about 2.7 Bcf/d of capacity to the Columbia Gas system and is designed to allow additional volumes of Marcellus and Utica shale gas to reach markets in the Midwest, Northeast, South and Gulf Coast. Gulf XPress would add about 875 MMcf/d of new capacity on the Columbia Gulf system to deliver to receipt points in Mississippi and Louisiana.

“FERC’s approval of Mountaineer XPress and Gulf XPress allows us to continue delivering on our commitment to create new outlets for our customers, transporting Marcellus and Utica shale gas to key markets in the U.S. and beyond,” said Stanley Chapman III, TransCanada’s president, U.S. natural gas pipelines. “Our project teams are prepared to begin construction on both projects.”

The projects would involve an estimated $3.2 billion of combined infrastructure investment, TransCanada said. Anticipated in-service dates for the projects are in late 2018.

In addition, TransCanada placed its Leach XPress project into service Jan. 1, adding up to 1.53 million Dth/d of capacity for gas from Appalachia [CP15-514]. The project includes 160 miles of 36-inch diameter pipeline, three compressor stations and modifications to an existing compressor station.

“Via an existing interconnect with TransCanada’s Columbia Gulf Transmission System and its Rayne XPress project, which was placed into service last November, [Leach XPress] will facilitate the delivery of up to an additional 1 Bcf/d to Southeast and Gulf Coast supply markets,” TransCanada said.

The in-service authorization for Rayne came one day after FERC cleared Texas Eastern Transmission LP to start-up the Adair Southwest and Access South expansions, which also opened up additional takeaway capacity for trapped Appalachian volumes.

TransCanada said it now has in hand FERC certificate orders for all major Appalachian growth projects associated with its 2016 acquisition of Columbia Pipeline Group.