In a bid to succeed in a part of Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale where two other companies have failed, officials with a midstream subsidiary of UGI Corp. will attend Tuesday night’s public hearing before the Luzerne County Planning Commission to field questions about the company’s proposal to build a natural gas pipeline and compressor station.
UGI Energy Services Inc. wants to construct 27.4 miles of pipeline across Wyoming and Luzerne counties. The balance of the project, 23.4 miles, would be a 24-inch diameter pipeline starting at the current terminus of UGI’s Auburn Pipeline in Wyoming and running southeast into Luzerne, with a new interconnection with the Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line (Transco) at West Wyoming Borough.
Lillian Harris, manager of regulatory affairs for UGI Corp., told NGI’s Shale Daily the company is proposing to build a three-unit compressor station with about 200,000 Dth/d of capacity in West Wyoming to connect with the Transco line.
Harris said the company also plans to build four miles of 12-inch diameter pipeline, which would run south from the Transco interconnect and enter the city of Wilkes-Barre, where it would connect to the natural gas distribution system operated by UGI Utilities Inc., another subsidiary.
UGI’s Auburn Pipeline connects to the Tennessee Pipeline and entered service last October.
But Harris said UGI’s proposal has run into opposition for several reasons, including residents’ anger that West Wyoming Borough doesn’t handle its own zoning affairs.
“They’re not the decision-makers; Luzerne County is. But nevertheless they’re catching a whole lot of heat from the local residents,” Smith said Friday. “They’re either confused that the borough is in fact a decision-maker and isn’t doing anything about the project, or that the borough is somehow not doing enough, even if they aren’t the decision maker.”
Anthony Palischak, one of the county’s three zoning board members, told NGI’s Shale Daily on Thursday that he wasn’t familiar with the site for the proposed compressor station but planned to drive out there over the weekend.
“They’re going to have a big crowd at the meeting, I’m almost positive,” Palischak said. “We’re going to have to hold it in the [county] judge’s chambers.”
Elizabeth Martin, one of the three supervisors for Luzerne’s Dallas Township, told NGI’s Shale Daily that local opposition derailed plans by two companies — Chief Gathering LLC, a subsidiary of Chief Oil & Gas LLC, and Williams Field Services LLC, a subsidiary of Williams Partners LP — to build similar pipelines connecting the Tennessee Pipeline in Susquehanna County with the Transco in Luzerne (see Shale Daily, Sept. 28, 2011).
Harris said it’s a challenge where UGI plans to be successful.
“There has been significant interest in having the utilities get more infusion of Marcellus supply into their portfolios in Pennsylvania, and just in reducing natural gas costs,” Harris said. “UGI Energy Services decided that it would at least attempt to try to build this pipeline.
“We’re right smack in the middle of the planning and permitting stage. We’ve submitted our permit applications to the DEP [Department of Environmental Protection] and they’re under way, so we’re not expecting to put a shovel into the ground until the spring of 2013.”
Harris added that the company has already secured more than half of the right-of-way needed to build the pipeline and is confident that it would get all of the property needed. She said an estimated completion date for the first phase of the pipeline — from the Auburn Pipeline terminus to the Transco interconnection — would be in service by late summer or fall of 2013. Harris said there was currently no project timetable for the smaller, second phase to Wilkes-Barre.
“We’ve made a lot of changes to our plans in the last couple of weeks,” Harris said. “[Since May], our emissions numbers are far different because we’ve made some changes to our engines on the catalysts. We’re at really good levels in terms of the percentage of the thresholds for the EPA [U.S. Environmental Protection EPA] standards on NOx [nitrogen oxides], CO [carbon monoxide] and VOCs [volatile organic compounds].
“We’re pretty confident of what we’re going to be able to achieve with this project.”
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