The outlook for takeaway capacity from the Marcellus Shale continued to brighten this week, with FERC approving three pipeline expansion projects — two requested by National Fuel Gas Supply Corp. and another by Texas Eastern Transmission — designed to feed Marcellus gas to Northeast markets.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved a National Fuel request to build compressor and meter stations associated with its Northern Access Project in Pennsylvania and New York. The project, which was approved by FERC in October (see Shale Daily, Oct. 24, 2011), is designed to transport 320,000 Dth/d of gas from the Ellisburg Compressor Station in Potter County, PA, to its connection with the Niagara Spur Loop Line (NSLL) at East Aurora, NY [CP11-128]. The NSLL is a 49-mile, 30-inch diameter pipeline extending from an interconnection with TransCanada Pipeline Ltd. at the U.S-Canadian border at Niagara to East Aurora. NSLL is jointly owned by National Fuel, Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. and Dominion Inc.

On Monday FERC approved National Fuel’s request to begin construction of the Ellisburg Compressor Station expansion and associated Rose Lake Meter Station, and the 4,740 hp East Aurora Compressor Station and associated East Eden Meter Station in Erie County, NY.

The Commission also approved National Fuel’s request to begin construction of its Line N 2012 Expansion Project, which would increase the takeaway capacity from the Marcellus to serve Northeast markets [CP11-512]. The project, which would have available capacity of 150,000 Dth/d, would run through Washington and Greene counties in Pennsylvania, ending at Texas Eastern’s Holbrook Compressor Station.

The expansion, which has a cost of $40 million, calls for the replacement of 4.85 miles of 24-inch diameter pipeline and installation of two 10,280 hp gas-fired turbine-driven compressors at the Buffalo Compressor Station. The expansion received a favorable environmental assessment from FERC in December (see Shale Daily, Dec. 27, 2011). National Fuel has targeted in-service for November.

FERC also approved a Texas Eastern request to begin construction of its Philadelphia Lateral Expansion in Delaware County, PA [CP11-508]. The $14.8 million project would enable Texas Eastern to provide up to 27,000 Dth/d of firm lateral line transportation service for Grays Ferry Cogeneration Partnership and Paulsboro Refining Co., FERC said.

Other regions would increasingly feel the impact of Marcellus production as pipelines race to catch up, according to a recent analysis by LCI Energy Insight and Energy Ventures Analysis (see Shale Daily, Feb. 21). The Marcellus is projected to account for more than 40% of expected increases in U.S. shale production this year and the Northeast, formerly a gas “have-not,” is increasingly pushing its production outward, the analysts said.

Williams Partners LP this week modified the open season for Atlantic Access, a proposed expansion of the Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line (Transco) interstate pipeline, as a result of discussions with potential shippers (see Shale Daily, April 18; Feb. 7). Transco is increasing the total firm transportation capacity, offering additional firm transportation paths and revising the proposed in-service date to December 2015. The proposed Atlantic Access project would increase capacity for the pipeline from 1.8 million Dth/d to 2.3 million Dth/d in order to transport growing supplies of natural gas from northern Pennsylvania bi-directionally along Transco’s existing Leidy Line to Leidy and other premium markets along the Atlantic seaboard.