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Delaware River pipe expansion passes FERC environmental requirements

FERC Office of Energy Projects staff signed off on aPaulsboro Natural Gas PipelineCo. LLC proposal to increase transportation capacity of a naturalgas line under the Delaware River as the company replaces the line under ordersfrom the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

If Paulsboro Natural Gas builds and operates the proposedfacilities in line with its application and with FERC-recommended mitigation measures,commission approval of the project would not significantly affect theenvironment, FERC staff said in the July 18 environmental assessment.

Paulsboro Natural Gas submitted the proposal, called theDelaware River pipeline relocation project, to FERC on Dec. 1, 2015. Theproject would increase transportation capacity from 38 million standard cubicfeet per day of gas to 57.7 million standard cubic feet to the only customer ofthe pipeline, Paulsboro RefiningCo. LLC. The pipeline company and refinery aresubsidiaries of PBF Energy Inc.

The project was proposed to comply with a U.S. Army Corps ofEngineers directive to remove a section of the pipeline from the DelawareRiver. Corps dredging activities struck the pipeline in 2014 after the Corpsdecided to deepen the navigation channel from 40 feet to 45 feet. The damagedpipeline portion was repaired and placed back into service.

The new pipeline segment would be about 30 feet below thenavigation channel. Construction activities would take place inDelaware County, Pa., and Gloucester County, N.J. The activities would involvereplacement of approximately 2.4 miles of 6-inch and 8-inch-diameter pipelinewith 2.6 miles of 12-inch and 24-inch-diameter pipeline, including the removalof 425 feet of pipeline in the navigation channel and the abandonment in placeof another 1,324 feet of pipeline in the river.

"The decision to abandon the remaining pipeline inplace was determined to be the least environmentally damaging and the leastdisruptive to commercial and recreational maritime traffic," staff said.

The project would also include installation of a new piglauncher at a metering site and a pig receiver at a new tie-in facility, andmodification of a connection to the Paulsboro refinery.

Paulsboro Natural Gas has planned on completing the projectby June 2017, under the assumption that FERC would approve it by October 2016. (CP16-27)