June 2024, Vol. 251, No. 6


Projects June 2024

FERC Again Approves TC Energy’s Northwest Pipeline Expansion  

TC Energy’s plan to expand the capacity of its Gas Transmission Northwest Express pipeline by 150 MMcfd received the green light from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. 

In its decision, FERC addressed arguments raised during rehearing and dismissed a stay request concerning Gas Transmission Northwest’s (GTN) proposed natural gas compression facilities project. 

The project, known as the GTN XPress Project, is a 1,377-mile (2,216-km) pipeline system that transports natural gas from Kingsgate, British Columbia, to communities in Washington, Oregon and California. The $75 million system can deliver as much as 2.7 Bcfd. 

The Commission initially authorized the project Oct. 23, 2023, permitting the installation, construction, modification and operation of certain compression facilities. 

Following the authorization, several parties — including environmental organizations and state entities — filed rehearing requests challenging the certificate order, with accompanying motions for a stay of the project pending further review. 

The states involved are concerned that the project may exceed the budget, burdening current customers. They argued that the Commission erred in allowing GTN to recover $75.1 million in expansion costs over 50 years, despite indications suggesting a shorter project lifespan of 30 to 33 years. 

In the filing, they contended that the project could result in $20 million in outstanding costs after the initial agreements lapse. Concerned that without new customers post-agreement, all customers would bear the remaining costs, they question the necessity of the project and anticipate a potential long-term decline in gas demand. 

Commissioner Allison Clements dissented from the order on rehearing for Gas Transmission Northwest’s GTN Xpress Project, citing discrepancies between GTN’s sworn affidavits and its responses to staff data requests. These contradictions, she argued, cast doubt on the necessity and benefits of the project, urging the Commission to reconsider its decision in accordance with its obligations under the Natural Gas Act and the Administrative Procedure Act.

690-Mile Permian Gas Pipeline Seeks FERC OK for 2028 Launch 

DeLa Express LLC, an affiliate of Moss Lake Partners, has formally requested approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to initiate the Pre-Filing Review Process for the proposed DeLa Express Project. 

This endeavor aims to transport natural gas from production sites in the Delaware Basin, Texas, to markets in and around Lake Charles, Louisiana and would entail the construction of 690 miles of a 42-inch natural gas transportation mainline pipeline. 

Additionally, it requires five lateral pipelines, eight compressor stations, multiple meter stations and related facilities. The DeLa Express Project is expected to provide 2 Bcfd of new liquids-rich natural gas transportation capacity. 

The proposed timeline for the project includes conducting public open houses in May and June, filing the Section 7 application in February 2025, and receiving the FERC certificate by April 2026. Construction is planned for the second quarter of 2026, with the project going into service in 2028. 

DeLa Express has already undertaken significant preparatory work, including stakeholder outreach, agency consultations, project engineering, route planning, environmental surveys and engagement with contractors.  

The company has also developed a preliminary Public Participation Plan to facilitate stakeholder communications and public information dissemination throughout the project lifecycle. 

Williams Scraps Northeast Pipeline, Pennsylvania Plan Advances 

A significant pipeline project aimed at transporting natural gas through New Jersey to New York and under two bays has been terminated by Williams. 

Conversely, the company’s plans persist for the transportation of liquefied gas from Pennsylvania via tanker trucks, despite regulatory hurdles. Environmental activists, who had vehemently opposed both initiatives, received conflicting news on May 3, as federal regulators charted distinct courses for the two ventures. 

The decision, conveyed to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), signaled the project’s cessation, as Williams chose not to pursue an extension for a crucial construction application. 

Williams corroborated its decision in a statement to AP, affirming its decision to cease pursuit of a federal certificate necessary for project continuation. The company expressed continued faith in the Northeast Supply Enhancement project’s capacity to offer a cleaner and more cost-effective alternative to heating oil. 

However, it stated that, at present, it would not seek an extension of the certificate, effectively halting the initiative. 

While the Northeast Supply Enhancement pipeline initiative met its end, plans for LNG transport through Pennsylvania and New Jersey remain on course. Delaware River Partners and Bradford County Real Estate Partners conveyed their unwavering commitment to their proposed project, involving the liquefaction of natural gas in Wyalusing, Pennsylvania. 

From there, the LNG would be transported to an export facility in Gibbstown, New Jersey, via tanker truck, as opposed to the initially proposed rail transport. Despite a federal moratorium on liquefied natural gas transport by rail last September, the companies affirmed their intentions to proceed with the project. 

They cited the design of the Wyalusing facility, which circumvents the need for rail transport, as a pivotal factor in their decision to press forward with their plans. 

Venice Pipeline Gets Approval to Begin Service in Louisiana 

Texas Eastern Transmission gained approval from U.S. regulators to start service for a natural gas pipeline associated with its Venice extension project in Louisiana. 

The Venice extension was designed to supply gas to Venture Global LNG’s Plaquemines LNG export plant in Louisiana, which is under construction and expected to enter service between 2024 and 2026. 

U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) granted Texas Eastern’s March 26 request to commence service of the 3-mile (4.8-km), 36-inch Venice extension pipeline, according to Reuters. 

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has said the $500 million Venice extension would have a capacity of 1.3 Bcfd. The Plaquemines facility is designed to process 2.6 Bcf/d to produce LNG. 

Other pipes under construction that will also provide gas to Plaquemines include Texas Eastern’s Gator Express and U.S. energy company Kinder Morgan’s Tennessee Gas Evangeline projects. 

White House Wants Enbridge Pipeline Shutdown Reconsidered 

The Biden administration asked a U.S. appeals court to tell a lower court to rethink its order that would require Enbridge to drain portions of a total 540,000 bpd — mostly Canadian oil — from its Line 5 pipeline

In friend-of-court brief, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) told the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that forcing Enbridge to drain portions of its line, which is part of the wider Mainline network, is unfair to the Canadian operator. 

The oil pipeline runs through Native American tribal land in Wisconsin, according the court records. 

The U.S. said the lower court was correct and find Enbridge is trespassing on the tribal land, but they said the court should reconsider its decision ordering Enbridge to stop operating portions of the pipeline by 2026. 

An Enbridge spokesperson said shutting the pipeline would not be in the public interest, and that the company continues to seek a solution that would not disrupt the flow of oil. The company has offered the Band $80 million to settle the dispute. 

Canada, which is also not a party to the case, had previously argued in an amicus brief that the pipeline should be kept open due to the treaty. 

Black Bear’s Ozark Supply Access Project Goes in Service 

Black Bear Transmission said subsidiary Ozark Gas Transmission placed its Supply Access Project online. 

The project includes two miles of natural gas loop pipeline, a new compressor station and two new pipeline interconnects. It aims to enhance gas supply reliability for Ozark shippers, addressing disruptions experienced during Winter Storm Uri in February 2021. 

“This project highlights Black Bear Transmission’s ability to utilize its existing pipeline infrastructure network to enhance services to customers while minimizing environmental impact,” said Rene Casadaban, CEO of Black Bear. “I am pleased with the successful execution of this project through the contracting, permitting, regulatory and construction phases and would like to thank everyone involved for their contributions.” 

These additional facilities will create access to new supply interconnections with major interstate pipelines from the east end of the Ozark Transmission system. 

Ozark Transmission’s three largest customers, Arkansas Oklahoma Gas (AOG), Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation (AECC) and Black Hills Energy signed long-term transportation agreements to support the Project. 

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