Building More Optimism in the First Quarter

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First the Dakota Access Pipeline and Keystone XL projects get a boost. Now two more pipelines have gotten the federal go-ahead to proceed.

At the beginning of February, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved Energy Transfer’s $4.2 billion Rover Pipeline project and Williams Partners’ $3 billion Atlantic Sunrise expansion project.

Benjamin Media CEO and North American Oil & Gas Pipelines publisher Bernie Krzys reported that the announcement of $7 billion worth of new pipeline construction spurred optimism at the recent Pipe Line Contractors Association (PLCA) Convention he attended in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The Rover Pipeline consists of a new interstate pipeline and related facilities extending from the Appalachian supply area to a proposed interconnection with Vector Pipeline LP in Livingston County, Michigan. The pipeline will transport up to 3.25 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of natural gas to markets in the Midwest, Northeast, East Coast, Gulf Coast and Canada, with direct deliveries to Ohio, West Virginia, Michigan and into the Dawn Hub in Ontario, Canada, which has a broader network of distribution points back into the United States. Energy Transfer expects to commission the pipeline in two phases, with Phase I being in service by July and Phase II coming online in November.

The pipeline will gather gas from processing plants in West Virginia, eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania for delivery to the Midwest Hub near Defiance, Ohio, where roughly 68 percent of the gas will be delivered via interconnects with existing pipelines in Ohio and West Virginia for distribution to markets across the United States. The remaining 32 percent will be transported to Michigan markets and the Dawn Hub in Ontario via the Vector pipeline.

The Atlantic Sunrise project is an expansion of the existing Transco natural gas pipeline. The project will connect Marcellus shale gas supplies with markets in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast United States. With Pennsylvania ranking as the second-largest producer of natural gas in the United States, Rory Miller, senior vice president of Williams Partners’ Atlantic-Gulf operating area, says projects like Atlantic Sunrise will help the state “maximize the tremendous economic benefits that this local resource holds.”

Williams expects to begin construction on the mainline portion of the project facilities in mid-2017. These mainline facilities will create a much-needed path from the northern part of the Transco system to markets along the eastern seaboard for a portion of the project capacity in time for the 2017-2018 heating season. Construction on the Central Penn Line, the greenfield portion of the project, is targeted to begin early in the third quarter this year, allowing the full project capacity to be placed into service in mid-2018.

The Atlantic Sunrise expansion project consists of approximately 200 miles of pipe, including about 185 miles of new natural gas pipeline in Pennsylvania, 11 miles of pipeline looping in Pennsylvania, 2.5 miles of pipeline replacements in Virginia and associated equipment and facilities.

Already in the first quarter of 2017, the pipeline industry has reason for
optimism for the year ahead. Market conditions are pointing toward more pipelines gaining approval, which should kickstart the industry after the recent downturn.

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