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Nexus to FERC: 'Ready for the commission's decision'

With the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission about to regain a voting quorum, the developers behind Nexus Gas Partners LLC jumped to ask the agency to approve their 1.5-Bcf/d pipeline project.

Spectra Energy Partners LP Chairman and President William Yardley sent acting Chairman Cheryl LaFleur and incoming Commissioners Neil Chatterjee and Robert Powelson a letter on Aug. 4 asking them to immediately authorize the Nexus project. Copies of the letter went to Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and members of the U.S. Congress. The project is a joint venture of Spectra Energy parent Enbridge Inc. and DTE Energy Co.

"NEXUS believes that the record supporting final action on the certificate request is complete and ready for the commission's decision," Yardley said.

The project received a positive final environmental impact statement on Nov. 30, 2016. In January, the project sponsors asked the commission to issue a certificate order. Yardley said the project has secured voluntary easements for over 93% of the project's route and has met all requirements for authorization.

With the early February resignation of former Commissioner Norman Bay, which took the commission below the minimum number of commissioners required to vote, a six-month waiting period began for the pipeline that caused a delay in the in-service date. Instead of coming online at the end of 2017, the pipeline's in-service date pushed to 2018. Enbridge executives had voiced frustrations with the lack of quorum impacting the project during the 2017 second-quarter earnings call.

The U.S. Senate voted to confirm Republicans Chatterjee and Powelson on Aug. 3 to the commission. Chatterjee has served as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's energy adviser. Powelson was a commissioner on the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners.

The Nexus project would install a 36-inch-diameter pipeline running about 256 miles from the Marcellus Shale through Ohio and Michigan to Ontario. The project would include four new compressor stations, six new metering and regulating stations, and 16 new mainline valves. (FERC docket CP16-22)