Texas Eastern Transmission will hold an open season beginning Thursday for incremental pipeline capacity on a proposed expansion that would give Rocky Mountain producers greater access to natural gas markets in the U.S. Northeast. The open season will close Sept. 28.

The “Northern Bridge” expansion project would involve new facilities that would extend from Clarington, OH, where the Rockies Express Pipeline (REX) will terminate, to Oakford, PA, in the Philadelphia-Camden metropolitan area, where Rocky Mountain producers would have access to several interstate pipeline and storage options, said Houston-based Spectra Energy.

The project “will possibly involve some additional looping” of the Texas Eastern pipeline system, said spokesman John Sheridan.

The exact size of the project will be determined by the results of the open season, Spectra Energy said. The capacity is expected to be between 200 MMcf/d and 500 MMcf/d, with an anticipated cost of $100-$150 million. The company has targeted the project to be in service in late 2009.

Spectra Energy said it also plans to explore the need to build further incremental pipeline capacity from Oakford in Bucks County, PA, to Northeast gas markets.

In a recent report, Bentek Energy LLC pointed out the need for additional capacity to move gas supplies eastward from the REX terminus (see Daily GPI, Aug. 10).

Spectra Energy, which comprises the former natural gas businesses of Duke Energy, became a stand-alone, publicly traded company in January, emerging as one of the leading pure-play gas midstream companies in North America. The company owns Texas Eastern Transmission, one of the largest gas pipeline systems in North America with 6.2 Bcf of daily throughput and 75.1 Bcf of storage.

The company said it plans to invest about $1.5 billion, which is half of its projected capital expenditures for the next three years, in building expansions that will bring incremental natural gas supplies to the growing New England, New York and New Jersey markets.

“We’re connecting supply from all compass points and moving it to the Northeast region,” said Spectra Energy President Fred Fowler.

Spectra Energy said it is still developing its proposed East-to-West project, which entails an expansion of the company’s Algonquin Gas Transmission pipeline system to bring more than 1 Bcf/d of eastern liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplies into Northeast markets. Spectra Energy plans to file a project application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in either January or February of next year, Sheridan said.

The East-to-West project would allow Algonquin to reverse flow on its system to transport LNG supplies from the eastern seaboard to the New England and Northeast markets and will transform traditional gas flow in the Northeast, Spectra Energy said.

In addition to the high-growth markets on Algonquin, the new LNG supplies would be able to access additional markets through existing interconnects with Spectra Energy’s Texas Eastern pipeline and Maritimes & Northeast pipeline, as well as four other market-area interstate pipelines, the company noted. The project is slated to be in service by Nov. 1, 2009.

Gas demand in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region is expected to grow by approximately 25% to more than 13 Bcf/d by 2015, according to Spectra Energy. In order to meet that demand growth, Spectra Energy noted that it has several projects under construction, including the Texas Eastern Incremental Market Expansion (TIME) II project, Algonquin Northeast Gateway project, Algonquin Cape Code extension, Algonquin Ramapo expansion and Maritimes & Northeast’s Phase IV expansion project where Spectra Energy serves as the lead partner.

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