FERC Thursday approved Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line’s (Transco) application to build its Virginia Southside Expansion Project, which would provide an additional 270,000 Dth/d of firm transportation service on its mainline system to meet growing demand in Virginia and North Carolina.

Transco, a Williams pipeline, currently transports one-quarter of the natural gas consumed in Virginia and nearly all of the gas consumed in North Carolina, according to Williams. The Virginia Southside Expansion would allow Transco to transport an additional 270,000 Dth/d in southern Virginia by 2015 (see Daily GPI, April 9, 2012).

The project would modify Transco’s existing mainline system to allow for natural gas to flow south rather than north, to provide gas transportation capability from Transco’s pooling point in Mercer County, NJ, to Virginia Electric and Power Co.’s [VEPCO] proposed 1,300 MW, combined-cycle, gas-fired power station to be sited in Brunswick County, VA, and to Piedmont Natural Gas Co.’s existing Pleasant Hill meter station in Northhampton County, NC. Output from the Brunswick gas-fueled generation facilities will replace the electricity produced by coal units at two eastern Virginia power stations.

Transco said it has executed binding precedent firm transportation agreements with Virginia Power, an affiliate of VEPCO, and Piedmont for 250,000 Dth/d and for 20,000 Dth/d, respectively, for 20-year terms.

Williams has targeted the expansion for in-service in September 2015, with construction scheduled to start in September 2014.

The project, which has an estimated price-tag of $298 million, calls for the construction of approximately 91 miles of 24-inch diameter pipeline adjacent to Transco’s South Virginia Lateral “A” in Pittsylvania, Halifax, Charlotte, Mecklenburg and Brunswick counties in Virginia; seven miles of 24-inch diameter pipeline extending north from the end of Transco’s proposed South Virginia Lateral “B” to VEPCO’s proposed power station; a new compressor station in Pittsylvania County, consisting of two 10,915 hp gas turbine-driven compressor units; and associated facilities.

In approving the project, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission concluded that Transco’s project would not be subsidized by existing shippers. “We also find that the proposal will not degrade service to Transco’s existing customers since Transco will be able to continue to meet its existing firm obligations. In addition, no pipeline company or its customers has protested Transco’s application,” the FERC order said [CP13-30].