FERC’s new chairman quickly advances three gas pipes

21 February 2023

Willie Phillips, the new acting chairman of the FERC, appears to be acting more quickly than his predecessor when it comes to approving new pipeline projects.

His predecessor, Richard Glick, was known to drag his feet when approving new pipeline projects. For example, he required a full environmental impact statement (EIS) for even small projects that do nothing more than add more compression or looping pipelines. Glick left at the end of 2022 when the Senate refused to hold a hearing to reappoint him. In one of his first acts as Chairman, Phillips converted what would have been full EISs for three small but important pipeline projects into much faster and less onerous environmental assessments (EAs), shaving a full nine months off the time it takes to approve the projects.

The three projects getting a streamlined EA include: Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line’s (Transco) 150,000 Dt/d Southeast Energy Connector Project; Transco’s 364,400 Dt/d Texas to Louisiana Energy Pathway Project; and Texas Eastern’s 55,000 Dt/d Appalachia to Market II and Entriken HP Replacement. All three projects will carry Marcellus/Utica molecules.

Positive final EIS for Equitrans pipe

In February 2022, Equitrans Midstream filed a request with FERC to build the Ohio Valley Connector Expansion Project (OVCX), a $160 million project that will add compression along Equitrans pipelines in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia to flow an extra 350 MMcf/d. FERC recently issued a favorable final environmental impact statement (EIS), signaling the agency will vote to issue a certificate for the project. The Ohio Valley Connector (OCV) pipeline project began service in 2016 and currently flows 850 MMcf/d of Pennsylvania and West Virginia-produced natural gas (primarily from EQT), connecting to long-distance pipelines that service the Gulf Coast and the Midwest.

With another 350 MMcf/d added from OVCX, the OVC system will flow 1.2 Bcf/d. OVCX will add pipeline connections to the Rockies Express Pipeline and Rover Pipeline in Clarington, Ohio. OVCX will also boost reliability to other pipelines, including Texas Eastern Transmission, Columbia Gas Transmission, and Eastern Gas Transmission and Storage. Most of the investment for OVCX will go toward adding new compressors at three existing compressor stations in Greene County, PA, Wetzel County, WV, and Monroe County, OH.

FERC approves new compressor in Delaware

In January 2022, Eastern Shore Natural Gas Company (ESNG), a subsidiary of Chesapeake Utilities Corporation, filed an application with FERC to construct and operate a new natural gas-fired compressor unit and ancillary facilities at its existing Bridgeville Compressor Station in Sussex County, Delaware. FERC recently issued full approval for the project, called the ESNG Southern Expansion Project. The new compressor unit will flow an extra 7.3 MMcf/d of natural gas to new residential, commercial, and industrial customers along the Delmarva Peninsula. ESNG will construct a new, 1,875-horsepower natural gas-fired compressor unit at the existing Bridgeville Compressor Station, as well as ancillary facilities. The project will cost roughly $14 million.

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