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Liberty Utilities presents $340M pipeline and LNG storage project

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Liberty Utilities Co. has proposed a $340 million natural gas pipeline and storage project in New Hampshire to shore up the utility service territory's access to gas.

The project, dubbed Granite Bridge, would include a $117.5 million, 16-inch gas pipeline that would run roughly 30 miles and a $222.5 million, 2-Bcf LNG storage facility. Liberty Utilities announced the project in a press release.

Both the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission and the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee will need to give approvals for the pipeline. Liberty Utilities said it plans to file for approval with the PUC before the end of this year and with the Site Evaluation Committee in 2018.

The company expected the pipeline to take two years to build and the LNG facility to take two to three years once all project approvals are in place.

The utility's service territory is currently supplied by a single pipeline, company spokesman John Shore said in a Dec. 6 email. "This pipeline has constrained capacity and because of growing demand and based on our projections of future growth, we need to find additional natural gas capacity," Shore said. "If we don't bring added capacity to our service area, we could be turning down new requests for gas service in as little as just a few years. This would severely hamper economic growth in New Hampshire."

In the past 15 years, New Hampshire has seen a marked increase in the use of gas for power generation, while retaining gas demand in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors. The Granite Bridge pipeline would connect to the Portland Natural Gas Transmission System LP and Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline LLC joint facilities pipeline in Stratham, N.H., giving Liberty Utilities access to additional gas supplies from the Dawn Hub in Ontario and from LNG shipments to Saint John, New Brunswick.

The company asserted that the project is the lowest-cost option for improving reliability. It compared the Granite Bridge proposal to a $950 million alternative in which the company would expand an existing lateral. That expansion project would also require federal regulatory approvals, unlike the in-state Granite Bridge proposal, the company said.

Liberty Utilities said it would site the pipeline entirely within an existing New Hampshire Department of Transportation right of way and would avoid using eminent domain.

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