Units of Kinder Morgan’s El Paso Pipeline Partners LP business said that during recent open seasons, plenty of customers stepped up for incremental long-term transportation capacity from the Marcellus Shale region to serve markets in Georgia, South Carolina and northern Florida.

The open seasons “indicate that demand for clean, efficient natural gas is continuing to support infrastructure growth in the southeastern United States, in large part as the result of Marcellus, Utica and other shale developments in the Midwest and Northeast,” said Kinder Morgan’s Kimberly Watson, east region natural gas pipeline president.

Elba Express Co. LLC (EEC) and Southern Natural Gas Co. LLC (SNG) recently completed open seasons for almost 600 MMcf/d of capacity to support southeastern infrastructure growth. The open seasons also attracted interest in 400 MMcf/d of potential additional capacity, which would bring the total expansion to as much as 1 Bcf/d.

The north-to-south expansion capacity on the EEC system, including interconnects and delivery points with SNG and other pipelines and shippers, is expected to become available in phases, with service commencing as early as June 2016 and all phases in service by about April 2019, Kinder Morgan said. Total capital invested by SNG and EEC to accommodate the initial phase of 600 MMcf/d is expected to exceed $200 million.

“The capacity subscribed in the open seasons also will serve to supply gas to support the Elba Liquefaction Project, which continues to make strong progress in its development,” Watson said.

Elba Liquefaction Co. LLC and Southern LNG Co. LLC (SLNG) are proposing the two-phased Elba Liquefaction Project to add liquefaction and export capability to SLNG’s existing liquefied natural gas terminal at Elba Island in Chatham County, GA (see Daily GPI, Jan. 29).

SNG and EEC have signed precedent agreements with shippers for all of the capacity. SNG will subscribe for capacity on EEC in order to provide seamless transportation service to SNG customers under the expansion. The bids also included a bid to turn back existing capacity on EEC which EEC has been able to resell as part of the open season.

Including a bid from affiliate SNG, EEC received bids from eight shippers with terms ranging from 12 to 30 years and volumes ranging from 1 MMcf/d to 427 MMcf/d, according to a customer notice.