FERC issues favorable report for compressor station

By Keefe Borden19 April 2022

The GTN has been in operation since 1961. (map: GTN)

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission recently issued a favorable environmental assessment for a proposed compressor station in northern Oregon to be operated by TC Energy.

The decision to allow the construction of the Coyote Springs Compressor Station was an important step forward in the expansion of the Gas Transmission Northwest (GTN), a 1,377-mile pipeline system that transports natural gas from Canada to Washington, Oregon and California.

The pipeline currently has a capacity to deliver as much as 2.7 Bcf/d, but TC Energy is planning to expand the capacity. Gas Transmission Northwest, a division of TC Energy, plans to build and operate a 1586 hp compressor station, named the Coyote Springs Compressor Station, in Morrow County, Oregon as part of that expansion.

The favorable environmental assessment was not certain. Earlier this year, the environmental group Columbia Riverkeeper challenged the new station and told the FERC the facility was not a routine activity, a designation which would have made the permit for the expansion more expansive.

Columbia Riverkeeper called the FERC’s initial review of the proposed compressor station was not sufficient and did not adequately address the impact on the climate that an larger capacity would have.

The $335 million expansion project would allow the pipeline system to handle an additional 250,000 Dth/d of product and is expected to go into operation between 2021 and 2023.

In addition to the 1,586hp Solar Saturn 20 turbine natural gas-fired compressor unit, the facility would include one emergency generator, three space heaters and one fuel gas heater. It would also have a turbine air inlet system, enclosure ventilation system with fans, and ducting; turbine exhaust/silencer and station blowdown silencer; lube oil cooler, dry seal boost module, and station process gas suction scrubber, according to the statement issued by the FERC.

GTN has told the FERC that construction would take 11 months after all permits are obtained. The project would affect 30.8 acres of land during construction and 10 acres of land during operation, the FERC said.

In addition to the construction of the Coyote Springs compressor station, GTN also plans to modify and operate three existing compressor stations in Idaho, Washington, and Oregon.

As part of the expansion, GTN plans a software upgrade three existing Solar Turbine Titan 130 gas-fired, turbine compressors. The updated software will boost power from 14,300 hp to 23,470 hp at the existing Athol Compressor Station in Kootenai County, Idaho, at the existing Starbuck Compressor Station in Walla Walla County, Washington; and at the existing Kent Compressor Station in Sherman County, Oregon, according to the Federal Register.

GTN also plans to install a new 23,470 hp Solar Turbine Titan 130 gas-fired turbine compressor and associated piping and three new gas cooling bays and associated piping at the Starbuck Compressor Station and to expand the compressor station and install four new gas cooling bays and associated piping at the Kent Compressor Station, according to the Federal Register.

GTN has told the FERC its project would increase its ability to meet growing market demand for gas and provide additional operating flexibility.

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