FERC on Wednesday granted Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America LLC (NGPL) permission to begin service on Compressor Station No. 312 in Livingston County, IL, otherwise known as the first phase of the pipeline’s Chicago Market Expansion [CP15-505]. Startup is slated for Tuesday, the pipeline told NGI.

Chicago Market entailed construction of the 30,000 hp compressor station and related facilities to provide about 238,000 Dth/d of incremental northbound firm transportation capacity to the city of Chicago and neighboring areas. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the project in March (see Daily GPI, March 17).

In October 2014, the Kinder Morgan Inc. (KMI) pipeline held a binding open season for expansion capacity on its mainline system from the Rockies Express Pipeline (REX) interconnection in Moultrie County, IL, to points north on NGPL’s system (see Daily GPI, Oct. 16, 2014). The Chicago Market Expansion open season resulted in binding agreements with Antero Resources, Nicor Gas, North Shore Gas and Occidental Energy Marketing Inc. (see Daily GPI, April 15, 2015). All of the incremental volumes to flow on the project are expected to come from REX.

“This phase of the expansion project meets the current natural gas transportation needs of the Chicago-area markets and Marcellus/Utica producers by providing reliable and flexible service and competitive rates to the Chicago area,” said NGPL President David Devine, as quoted in a project document last May. “We continue to have the ability to provide additional capacity northbound, as well as southbound to Gulf Coast markets, with further cost-effective expansions.”

Last May NGPL also said it was seeking nonbinding solicitations of interest for a second expansion phase.

Phase 2 would provide for 200,000 Dth/d of incremental firm service to markets in the Chicago area from the existing REX Moultrie and Panhandle Eastern Pipe Line interconnects in Moultrie County or other receipt points as agreed upon by the pipeline and shippers, NGPL said in the solicitation of interest, which is ongoing, the pipeline said Wednesday.