Despite authorizing $17 billion in pipeline projects with 58 Bcf/d of capacity since 2000, FERC staff said the Commission still has a full plate of gas pipeline, storage and liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects either on file, in the prefiling stages or proposed in the marketplace.
Just in terms of pending projects at the Commission, there is an abundance of capacity planned, staff said during a presentation Thursday at the Commission’s regular meeting. The projects on file include about 18.1 Bcf/d of pipeline capacity, 79.2 Bcf of storage capacity and 9.5 Bcf/d of LNG sendout capacity, said Jeff Wright of FERC’s Office of Energy Projects.
Wright said although significant pipeline mileage is pending, it lags the amount of pipeline capacity because many of the proposed pipelines are designed to serve LNG import projects. Although pipeline mileage has risen, throughput capacity numbers have grown faster. However, he said that while 50% of the currently pending pipeline capacity is designed to serve LNG import terminals, there are a number of new projects popping up to transport North American gas production: Rockies Express West’s project to deliver Rockies gas production to the Midcontinent, Midwest and Northeast; Gulf South’s expansion to serve Barnett Shale production in Texas; and the Empire Connector and Millennium pipelines, which will bring gas to the Northeast.
“In our prefiling category — those projects that are beginning their environmental review prior to making a formal filing with the Commission — the tide is truly changing,” said Wright. “Out of 12.2 Bcf/d of capacity and nearly 2,400 miles of pipe, only 1 Bcf/d of capacity and 223 miles of pipe is associated with LNG.” He mentioned Rockies Express West and some other pipelines designed to transport Barnett Shale production.
Regarding potential pipeline projects on the horizon, Wright said there looks to be about 15 Bcf/d of capacity and 7,000 miles of pipeline planned. None of those projects are related to LNG, but they do include Alaskan gas, which is in limbo currently, he noted.
Since 2000, FERC has approved about 27.5 Bcf of storage capacity and 14.6 Bcf/d of daily storage deliverability, Wright said. Most of the projects have been in the Southeast/Gulf Coast area which has an abundance of salt formations that can be used for high-deliverability storage. There are two storage projects pending at the Commission, one in Alabama and one in Michigan, with a total of 79.2 Bcf of storage space and 1.8 Bcf/d of deliverability.
“Down the road we see the potential for [storage] projects totaling about 125 Bcf of capacity and over 4 Bcf/d of deliverability,” he said. “The majority of these projects appear to be located in the Southeast and Northeast, and what is notable is the lack of prospective storage development in the western United States.”
Eleven new LNG terminals with 20.6 Bcf/d have been approved by FERC since its 2002 Hackberry policy, which put LNG in a regulatory category similar to wellhead gas. In addition FERC has approved 4.7 Bcf/d of expansion capacity at the Cove Point LNG terminal in Maryland and the yet-to-be-built Freeport LNG and Sabine Pass terminals in Texas.
The Commission currently is processing applications for 10 new LNG terminals with 9.5 Bcf/d of sendout capacity, as well as 2.1 Bcf/d in expansions at the Elba Island terminal in Georgia and the approved Cameron LNG terminal in Louisiana.
“On the horizon we see the potential for nine more onshore and offshore sites in preliminary planning stages with a combined sendout of about 6.5 Bcf/d,” Wright said.
He said so far this year about 3.3 Bcf/d of new pipeline capacity has been added to the grid, three storage projects with 32 Bcf of space and 500 MMcf/d of deliverability, and expansions of the Elba Island and Trunkline LNG terminals with a total of 1.1 Bcf/d of additional sendout.
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