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Eight northeast gas line projects set for 2019: Update

  • Market: Natural gas
  • 15/02/19

Updates total projects and in-service date for Supply Header project in tenth paragraph.

At least eight major natural gas pipeline expansions are scheduled to begin service in the US northeast this year, boosting capacity by as much as 6.1 Bcf/d (173mn m³/d), according to an Argus analysis.

Booming output from the Appalachian shale region, combined with spikes in heating demand in the US northeast, makes the area fertile ground for pipeline expansions. Developers have regularly announced major projects to unleash more gas from Appalachia since the advent of hydraulic fracturing lead to a drilling boom there.

December production from Appalachia topped 31.1 Bcf/d, according to the most recent data from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). Regional output in December was 16pc higher than a year earlier, and the agency estimates output in January climbed to more than 31.3 Bcf/d.

Expansions in recent years have increasingly met with pushback as residents, environmentalists and some state regulators take issue with use of the fuel and pipeline construction, often leading to delays. Two projects on tap for early 2019 were delayed from their original late 2018 in-service dates: Columbia Gas Transmission's 2.7 Bcf/d Mountaineer XPress expansion in West Virginia and Dominion's 284mn cf/d Eastern Market Access project in Maryland and Virginia.

The $3bn Mountaineer XPress line has begun partial service of about 1.4 Bcf/d and this week said it will be ready to begin full flows as early as 25 February.

Dominion this week declined to tell Argus what its estimated in-service date for the $147mn Eastern Market Access project is, saying it is currently in discussions with customers.

EQT's 580mn cf/d Equitrans Expansion project is scheduled to begin flows in Pennsylvania and West Virginia by the end of March. The project is designed to deliver volumes onto the 1.9 Bcf/d Mountain Valley pipeline, which has been pushed back to the fourth quarter. Construction on Equitrans is complete according to filings with the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), but the line has not yet requested approval to start service.

NJR Pipeline's 242mn cf/d Adelphia Gateway project is scheduled to start up in early 2019 and received a positive environmental review from FERC last month. The project has a relatively small footprint in Pennsylvania and Delaware, primarily involving acquiring and converting an existing 84-mile (135km) mainline and a 4.5-mile lateral.

National Fuel Gas this month said its 113mn cf/d Line N to Monaca expansion is proceeding on schedule for start up in June. The project will expand the company's Line N in Pennsylvania to boost takeaway capacity from the Appalachian shale.

Dominion had two projects scheduled to begin flowing in late 2019: the 1.5 Bcf/d Supply Header expansion and the 116mn cf/d Sweden Valley project. The company has since delayed the Supply Header project to late 2020, as it would primarily funnel gas from Pennsylvania and West Virginia into the 1.5 Bcf/d Atlantic Coast pipeline, which has been delayed to 2021. The $50mn Sweden Valley project in Pennsylvania and Ohio would ship Appalachian gas to a new interconnection with Tennessee Gas pipeline.

At the tail end of this year, the Transcontinental Gas pipeline will expand its service in New Jersey just in time to meet winter heating demand with its 184mn cf/d Rivervale South to Market project. FERC has already approved that expansion.


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