In a bid to loosen the natural gas capacity constraints that are plaguing the Marcellus Shale region and wreaking havoc on associated pricing points, upgrades in the form of pipeline loops and compression upgrades are coming online virtually every week.

During the last week of August, Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line (Transco) received FERC approval to place additional facilities of its Northeast Supply Link Project into service and NiSource Midstream Services said it has completed a significant compressor upgrade project at its Majorsville compressor station in Dallas, WV.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Friday approval of Transco’s request raises the capacity for firm service from 100 MMcf/d to 125 MMcf/d. The other half of the Northeast Supply Link Project’s total incremental firm capacity of 250 MMcf/d is expected to be in service by early November. In its latest order, the Commission placed into service the Caldwell Uprate, Roseland Meter Station and Montclair Meter Station of the project [CP12-30].

The order comes only weeks after FERC gave the go-ahead to Transco’s request to start operating other loops of its major Northeast project, and to begin firm service of up to 100 MMcf/d, transporting Marcellus Shale gas to growing markets in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey. The project is fully subscribed to four shippers: Williams Gas Marketing Inc. (135 MMcf/d), Anadarko Energy Services (67.5 MMcf/d), MMGS Inc. (32.5 MMcf/d) and Hess Corp. (15 MMcf/d).

Segments of the project went online in July and August. Transco spokesman Chris Stockton estimated that approximately 100 MMcf/d is now flowing (see Shale Daily, Aug. 16). The project will provide incremental firm capacity from interconnections on Transco’s Leidy Line in Pennsylvania to its 210 Market Pool in New Jersey and the Manhattan, Central Manhattan and Narrows delivery points in New York City (see Shale Daily, Nov. 6, 2012).

As the region’s other major infrastructure news of the week, NiSource Midstream Services’s completed Majorsville compressor station upgrade in Dallas, WV, will double the previous volume of natural gas delivery by increasing throughput by 70-80 MMcf/d.

The project consisted of the replacement of four vintage Ingersoll Rand KVG412 compressors, installed in 1956, with four new CAT 3606 engines using Ariel JGC4 compressors. Installation of the new compressors has augmented capacity at the plant by 1800 horsepower.

“Infrastructure needs are increasing as the natural gas industry continues to grow in West Virginia and Pennsylvania,” said NiSource Midstream Services COO Chad Zamarin.

The Majorsville gathering system and compressor station was developed as part of the first integrated gathering and processing system serving Marcellus Shale production in southwest Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia. During the original project, NiSource Midstream Services repurposed existing assets to meet customers’ needs and expedited the gathering and delivery of approximately 250 MMcf/d of Marcellus gas production.

NiSource Midstream Services said the Majorsville system allows the gathering and delivery of liquid-rich Marcellus gas from Washington County, PA, and from Marshall County, WV, to the MarkWest Liberty Majorsville processing plant. Residue gas from the processing plant is delivered by NiSource Midstream Services into both the Columbia Gas and Texas Eastern interstate pipeline systems.

In calling the Marcellus “a monster” where “production keeps growing,” Bank of America analysts earlier in August said they were raising their dry gas production growth forecast to 0.6 Bcf/d this year and to 1.5 Bcf/d in 2014 (see Shale Daily, Aug. 26).

Ample supplies of natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica shale plays has flattened the Northeast-Henry Hub basis, among others, which has forced companies out of the gas marketing business due to the lack of spreads (see Shale DailyAug. 14). The flood of gas to the region, along with weak demand, is also creating days in the physical gas market where transportation constraints and the supply glut lead Marcellus pricing points to run counter to the rest of the market (see Daily GPI, Aug. 5).