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Atlantic Coast pipeline on track amid permitting twists, Dominion official says

Dominion Energy Inc. expects to weather the federal and state permitting processes and start construction on the $5 billion-plus Atlantic Coast natural gas pipeline project later in the year.

At the level of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the fact that the commission is temporarily down to only staff-issued filings should not delay a final environmental impact statement, a Dominion official said June 6 at the LDC Gas Forum Northeast in Boston.

Dan Diefenbach, manager of facility planning and product development at Dominion Energy Transmission Inc. and Dominion Cove Point, added that after a Senate committee approved two new FERC nominees June 6, it looks likely that FERC will soon have the minimum number of commissioners to approve the project. "So as soon as the quorum is complete, we still anticipate [that we can receive] a commission order sometime this fall and move forward," he said.

Diefenbach said the final environmental document and order would allow construction to move forward soon after and the allow pipeline to go in service in the second half of 2019.

Diefenbach also said he anticipates no trouble at the state level, after Virginia announced that it would step back from what it originally said would be a hard look at the project's water crossings in the state.

Dominion, Southern Co. Gas, Duke Energy Corp. and Piedmont Natural Gas Co. Inc. back the Atlantic Coast project. The pipeline would stretch approximately 600 miles through West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina, moving about 1.5 MMDth/d of Appalachian Basin gas production to the Eastern Seaboard. (FERC docket CP15-554)

In his presentation, Diefenbach covered many other Dominion projects, including the Cove Point LNG export terminal, due in service in the fourth quarter, and the Sweden Valley project, a new pipeline that would provide 120,000 Dth/d of firm gas transportation from Pennsylvania to Ohio, expected in service in the fourth quarter of 2019.