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FERC lets Northern Natural Gas put section of Minn. projects in service

Northern Natural Gas Co. received permission from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to commence service on a natural gas pipeline loop that is part of the developer's Northern Lights 2019 and Rochester expansion projects in Minnesota.

In the July 31 notice, the commission said Northern Natural has stabilized construction areas associated with the New Prague Branch Line Loop and made good progress on restoration.

The Northern Lights 2019 expansion, estimated to cost about $158 million at the time of application, was designed to provide 101,411 Dth/d of gas transportation service to customers including Centerpoint Energy Minnesota Gas, Flint Hills Resources LP and Xcel Energy Inc. on behalf of Northern States Power Co. - Minnesota.

The Northern Lights expansion consisted of 10 miles of 24-inch-diameter greenfield pipeline in Hennepin and Wright counties in Minnesota. Other project facilities included the 4.3-mile, 8-inch-diameter extension of a branch line loop in Morrison County; a 1.6-mile, 6-inch-diameter loop in Le Sueur County; and a 3.1-mile, 24-inch-diameter extension of a line in Carver County.

The Rochester expansion, estimated at $31.4 million at the time of application, included 2.2 miles of 16-inch-diameter greenfield branch line and supporting infrastructure. The project also included increasing the maximum allowable operating pressure and relocating a pressure regulator. Minnesota Energy Resources Corp. is the sole project customer and will receive 37,093 Dth/d of transportation service.

Northern Natural, a Berkshire Hathaway Energy unit, filed an abbreviated application for the two projects in July 2018. The projects received a positive environmental review from FERC staff in November 2018. FERC approved the expansions in February 2019. (FERC docket CP18-534)