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FERC approves 205,000-Dth/d Empire Pipeline expansion for US Northeast, Canada

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved a compression-based Empire Pipeline Inc. expansion project designed to provide 205,000 Dth/d of additional firm natural gas transportation service to local distribution markets in the U.S. Northeast and Canada.

FERC issued a Natural Gas Act certificate to the National Fuel Gas Co. company's Empire North expansion project in a March 7 order. The project will include construction and abandonment of facilities in Tioga County, Pa., and Ontario County, N.Y.

Almost all of the project's incremental firm gas transportation capacity has been claimed under 15-year agreements. Three companies, Repsol Oil & Gas USA LLC, EnergyMark LLC and Empire affiliate National Fuel Gas Distribution Corp., signed up for the service.

Empire applied for the project, estimated at the time to cost about $143 million, in February 2018. The company asked FERC to grant the authorizations by Jan. 1, 2019, to give the company enough time to complete the expansion by a Nov. 1, 2019, in-service date requested by project shippers. The company received an environmental review from the commission in October 2018. The FERC staff concluded that approval of the expansion would not cause significant harm to the environment.

The project will include two new compressor stations, one in Tioga County and one in Ontario County, that would raise the pressure on the system. The expansion will also incorporate the abandonment of a 24-inch pipeline in Tioga County. (FERC docket CP18-89)