Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Williams Partners LP has received two necessary permits to continue construction on the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline in Pennsylvania. The company also received federal approval to place a portion of the project that has already been built into service.
Williams recently announced that the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have issued required permits related to environmental protection for the Atlantic Sunrise project — an expansion of the existing Transco natural gas pipeline to connect Marcellus gas supplies with markets in the Mid-Atlantic region and the Southeast.
The company received the Chapter 105 (Water Obstruction and Encroachment) and Chapter 102 (Erosion and Sediment Control) permits from PADEP on Aug. 30 and the Clean Water Act Section 404 permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Aug. 29.
The receipt of these remaining state and federal permits will allow the company to immediately commence the process of requesting a Notice to Proceed with construction from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), targeting the start of greenfield pipeline construction in Pennsylvania this fall. The full project capacity is scheduled to be placed into service in mid-2018.
Williams also reported that, in advance of the greenfield portion of the project coming into service, it has received FERC approval to place a portion of the project into service early, with partial service beginning on Sept. 1 to provide 400 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) of firm transportation service on Transco’s existing mainline facilities to various delivery points as far south as Choctaw County, Alabama.
The partial service milestone is the result of recently completed modifications to existing Transco facilities in Virginia and Maryland designed to further accommodate bi-directional flow on the existing Transco pipeline system.
“We are very pleased to have reached these important milestones for the Atlantic Sunrise project,” said Williams president and CEO Alan Armstrong. “This vital project will leverage existing infrastructure to deliver economic growth and help millions of Americans gain access to affordable Pennsylvania-produced clean-burning natural gas.”
Micheal Dunn, Williams’ executive vice president and chief operating officer, added that the project has undergone thorough scrutiny by regulators.
“The Atlantic Sunrise project has been through a rigorous, thorough review process in Pennsylvania,” Dunn said, “and we are committed to installing this important infrastructure in an environmentally responsible manner and in compliance with the state’s high environmental standards.”
The FERC authorized the project in February 2017, concluding that environmental impacts associated with the project would be reduced to “less than significant levels” with the implementation of mitigation measures proposed by the company and FERC.
Once complete, the Atlantic Sunrise expansion will help alleviate infrastructure bottlenecks in Pennsylvania, connecting Marcellus gas supplies with U.S. markets in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast. The nearly $3 billion expansion of the Transco natural gas pipeline is designed to increase deliveries by 1.7 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d). Williams’ net investment in the project is expected to be approximately $1.9 billion. Pennsylvania State University researchers forecast the Atlantic Sunrise project to directly and indirectly support approximately 8,000 jobs in 10 Pennsylvania counties during the project’s construction phase, resulting in an estimated $1.6 billion economic impact in the project area.