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FERC approves Tennessee Gas' 135,000-Dth/d Orion gas expansion

FERC granted authorization for Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co.s Orion natural gas expansion project that will add 135,000 Dth/d of west-to-east transportation capacity in northeast Pennsylvania.

The Feb. 2 order allows construction and operation of roughly 12.9 miles of new 36-inch-diameter pipeline loop and the modification of an existing compressor unit. The expansion project will enable Tennessee Gas, a Kinder Morgan Inc. company, to add firm transportation service on its 300 Line from a receipt point with Williams Field Services Co. LLC in Susquehanna County, Pa., to an interconnection with Columbia Gas Transmission LLC in Pike County, Pa.

Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. and two South Jersey Industries Inc. units committed to the entire additional capacity in three long-term binding agreements. Tennessee Gas also held a reverse open season but did not receive any bids to turn back capacity, according to FERC.

Tennessee Gas had pressed for an approval order by February, which the company said would allow it to "assist with the growing demand for energy in the form of cleaner burning natural gas in the Middle Atlantic and New England regions of the United States." Tennessee Gas had originally anticipated that FERC would grant authorization for the roughly $144 million Orion expansion by Nov. 1, 2016, after the project received a positive environmental assessment in August 2016. The project has an expected June 1, 2018, in-service date.

The FERC certificate came the day before former Chairman Norman Bay's departure Feb. 3, which leaves the commission without a quorum and has the potential to delay approvals of gas pipeline projects. (FERC docket CP16-4)