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National Fuel to take Pa. compressor out of service given falling production

FERC allowed National Fuel Gas Supply Corp. to abandon a compressor station and switch a natural gas line from a transmission function to a gathering function because of a decline in gas production in Pennsylvania.

The National Fuel Gas Co. company received the order approving abandonment on March 29. FERC is down to two out of five commissioners and as a result has no quorum. Pamela Boudreau, acting director of the Division of Pipeline Certificates in the FERC Office of Energy Projects, released the order under delegated authority to "take appropriate action" on uncontested applications.

FERC agreed with National Fuel that the Heath compressor station is no longer needed for the pipeline system due to declining production volumes through natural depletion in the area of Jefferson County, Pa., which is outside the core zones of Pennsylvania's portions of the Marcellus Shale. The commission observed that the abandonment would help National Fuel streamline operations "by eliminating certain operating costs associated with maintaining facilities that do not provide sufficient revenue to support such costs and that are no longer necessary for operating National Fuel's system."

The commission noted that no National Fuel customers would see a loss of service.

FERC also said National Fuel had showed that its Line FM-92 fits a gathering function, due to its short length, configuration, operating pressure and location among other factors.

In October 2016, National Fuel filed an abbreviated application for a certificate to make the changes to its Pennsylvania facilities. The company said the compressor station was no longer needed because of low production volumes and because "due to its age, [it] is obsolete and replacement parts are not readily available." (FERC docket CP17-2)