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2 more gas projects clear FERC's gates, adding Permian, southeastern US capacity

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2 more gas projects clear FERC's gates, adding Permian, southeastern US capacity

The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Oct. 17 voted 2-1 to advance two more natural gas pipeline projects: a 500 MMcf/d project adding southbound capacity from the Permian Basin, and a 296 MMcf/d project boosting deliveries to the Mid-Atlantic and the Southeast.

In doing so, FERC's recently strengthened Republican majority continued to work through a handful of pending applications that had been waiting months for decisions after receiving their environmental reports. Splits among commissioners over the proper scope of FERC's greenhouse gas considerations appeared to slow action by the agency earlier this year.

Gaining FERC certificate approval on Oct. 15 was Natural Gas Pipeline Co. of America LLC's 17-mile, 500 MMcf/d Lockridge Extension Pipeline project. The Permian Basin area expansion will provide southbound transportation to the Waha Hub and on to an interconnection with NGPL's Trans-Pecos Pipeline. The 30-inch-diameter project will provide shippers the option to move gas southbound and target exports to Mexico. (FERC docket CP 19-52)

The expansion is one of several projects being undertaken by NGPL parent company Kinder Morgan Inc. as the midstream developer targets growing demand for production takeaway capacity from the Permian. Targeting an in-service date by fourth-quarter 2020, the project would provide long-term service to Lucid Energy Delaware LLC at 460,000 Dth/d and EOG Resources Inc. at 40,000 Dth/d.

Williams expansion

FERC also approved Williams Cos. Inc.'s 7.7-mile Southeastern Trail project, intended to add 296 MMcf/d of gas delivery capacity for Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern states in time for the 2020 to 2021 winter heating season. The operator has agreements with utility and local distribution companies in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia to take the gas. (FERC docket CP 18-186)

Williams previously sought action by May 1, and then June 14, so it could complete work for a November 2020 start.

Williams spokesman Christopher Stockton said the developer expects to begin construction this fall and is maintaining the November 2020 target for beginning service.

In addition to the pipeline, the project entails additional compression or other modifications at three existing stations in Virginia and modifying 21 existing facilities in South Carolina, Georgia and Louisiana.

Voting on Oct. 17, Commissioner Richard Glick dissented in part on both pipeline approvals over what he continued to cast as inadequate consideration of greenhouse gas emissions as well as their impact on climate change. He expressed concern the order on the Lockridge project excluded references to climate change, an approach he called "very inconsistent with what the courts have been telling us" to do. He also suggested the environmental assessment for the project left out discussions of climate change previously found in FERC reports, such as mentions of the link to human activity and the connection between greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.

Maya Weber and Emmanuel Corral are reporters with S&P Global Platts. S&P Global Market Intelligence and S&P Global Platts are owned by S&P Global Inc.