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Upgrade for Eastern Shore Natural Gas gets FERC approval

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Upgrade for Eastern Shore Natural Gas gets FERC approval

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission granted Eastern Shore Natural Gas Co. a certificate for a proposed system expansion project that will provide additional gas transportation service to utility and industrial manufacturing companies in Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania.

FERC issued the Natural Gas Act certificate for the almost $98.6 million 2017 Expansion project on Oct. 4. Through the project, the Chesapeake Utilities Corp. unit will provide 61,162 Dth/d of additional firm transportation service from interconnections with Texas Eastern Transmission LP and Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Co. LLC in Pennsylvania to Eastern Shore's delivery zones.

The commission stipulated the project must be ready for service by Oct. 4, 2019. After open seasons, Eastern Shore entered into 15-year binding precedent agreements with six existing customers for all the service made available by the project. The precedent agreements are with Chesapeake Utilities Corp. – Delaware for 16,500 Dth/d, Chesapeake Utilities Corp. – Maryland for 3,000 Dth/d, Delaware City Refining Co. LLCfor 27,725 Dth/d, Delmarva Power & Light Co. for 10,000 Dth/d, Sandpiper Energy for 3,500 Dth/d and Easton Utilities for 437 Dth/d.

Eastern Shore filed an application for the project on Dec. 30, 2016. FERC staff issued a favorable environmental assessment on May 12.

According to one of the mitigation measures laid out by FERC staff and listed in the authorizing order, Eastern Shore must complete consultations with the U.S. National Park Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over construction and restoration activities on White Clay Creek tributaries prior to construction. A pipeline loop will cross the White Clay Creek and Big Elk Creek tributaries 16 times.

The commission acknowledged that while an alternative route could result in fewer crossings of the White Clay Creek tributaries, it would probably require the construction of greenfield pipeline. "The looping of existing systems is an accepted strategy for reducing environmental impacts compared to the development of new greenfield pipelines, which would require new and additional rights-of-way," the commission said in the order.

The system upgrade project will be built and operated in New Castle and Sussex counties in Delaware; Cecil County, Md.; and Chester and Lancaster counties in Pennsylvania.

The project will include six pipeline loops of various-diameter pipelines, running about 40 miles altogether, along the Eastern Shore system; a mainline extension in Sussex County, consisting of 16.9 miles of 10-inch-diameter pipeline; an additional 3,750-horsepower gas-fired compressor unit and other facilities at a compressor station in Chester County; upgraded and larger mainline taps, piping and valves at a meter and regulator station in Lancaster County; and two pressure control stations in Sussex County. (FERC docket CP17-28)