The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission allowed Enbridge Inc. and DTE Energy Co., the developers of the 1.5-Bcf/d Nexus natural gas pipeline, to start building the major Marcellus Shale conduit across the Midwest.
In an Oct. 11 authorization to proceed with construction issued to Nexus Gas Transmission LLC, a joint venture of Enbridge and DTE, FERC said it had confirmed the receipt of all required federal permits.
The commission withheld construction authorization from certain sections of the project, and it required additional supplemental filings with additional plans for these areas. The parts left out of the authorization included two trail crossings, two sections of karst terrain characterized by erosion and sinkholes, and horizontal directional drill sites.
Enbridge and DTE have projected construction could take seven to 10 months.
"After more than three years of public and agency review, we are pleased to have received this authorization from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to proceed with construction activities in Ohio and Michigan," Nexus spokesman Adam Parker said. "This receipt marks another key milestone that authorizes the project to commence construction activities in the days ahead and keeps the project on track to meet its targeted in-service late in the third quarter of 2018."
FERC issued a certificate for the over $2 billion project in late August, after the project application had waited through the six months the commission was without a voting quorum. The Nexus pipeline is designed to carry Marcellus and Utica shale gas through Ohio and Michigan to Ontario. The pipeline will include 256.6 miles of 36-inch diameter greenfield pipeline construction, four new compressor stations and an interconnect to Kinder Morgan Inc.'s Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. system.
The authorization also did not include Texas Eastern Transmission LP facilities for the Texas Eastern Appalachian Lease project, or TEAL, which is connected to the Nexus pipeline. The TEAL project in Ohio will include 4.4 miles of 36-inch-diameter loop, a short section of 30-inch-diameter interconnecting pipeline, a new compressor station and modifications to a different compressor station. The 950,155 Dth/d of capacity provided by the TEAL will be leased to Nexus. (FERC dockets CP16-22, CP16-23, CP16-24, CP16-102)
On Sept. 22, the Sierra Club asked FERC for a rehearing of the commission's approval of the Nexus pipeline based on an Aug. 22 decision by the U.S. Appeals Court for the D.C. Circuit. In the decision, which was related to another Enbridge project, the Sabal Trail pipeline for Florida, the court asked FERC to do more analysis of greenhouse gas emissions from power plants at the downstream end of the pipeline.