Days after receiving preliminary authorization from FERC for a $134 million, 24-mile Boston extension project (see NGI, April 16), Maritimes & Northeast is petitioning FERC for authorization to operate additional compression units at its existing compressor stations in Richmond and Baileyville, ME. The new compression will bring the pipeline’s capacity to 440,000 Dth/d from the current 400,000 Dth/d.

Maritimes transports gas from the Sable project offshore Nova Scotia to energy markets in Atlantic Canada and the northeastern United States, where gas demand is rising rapidly because of new gas-fired power plants and continued growth in residential consumption. A Maritimes spokeswoman said the pipeline is negotiating with shippers for the additional capacity covered by this new expansion project.

“We understand the need to bring more natural gas to the Northeast, and we are responding to that need,” said Tom O’Connor, president of M&N Management Co. “Maritimes has been operating at near full capacity. With additional compression in Maine, we will be able to transport larger volumes of natural gas to help accommodate the growing market demand throughout the region.”

Maritimes is seeking to place into service on a full-time basis, a standby compressor unit already installed at the Richmond compressor station. In Baileyville, Maritimes is requesting to connect a spare compressor unit within the existing compressor station building and to construct, install and operate any necessary auxiliary facilities.

Maritimes hopes to have additional compression available for existing shippers by mid-July to meet the energy demands of the peak summer season. “Upon FERC approval of our application, we will be ready to move forward to quickly respond to our customers’ energy needs this summer,” said Bill Penney, senior vice president of M&N Management.

In addition to the proposed expansion, Maritimes can economically expand its system to transport significant quantities of natural gas to Canadian and U.S. markets. “The initial Maritimes facilities were designed and constructed with an eye on the future,” said O’Connor. “As volumes expand, transportation rates will trend significantly lower, thus increasing the competitiveness of our services in all markets and improving business for producers selling into these markets.

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