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Northern Natural approved for new stage of Northern Lights gas expansion


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Essential Energy Insights, April 2021

Northern Natural approved for new stage of Northern Lights gas expansion

FERC approved Northern Natural Gas Co.'s Northern Lights 2017 natural gas transportation project to provide additional winter peak-day firm service of about 76,000 Dth/d to residential, commercial and industrial customers.

FERC issued a certificate to Northern Natural, a Berkshire Hathaway Energy company, in a Jan. 30 order that included 15 environmental and construction conditions. FERC staff gave the Northern Lights 2017 project, part of a larger Northern Lights expansion project to upgrade the Northern Natural system over years, a positive environmental review in November 2016. Northern Natural applied for the project in June 2016.

Northern Natural made agreements with four shippers for 75,937 Dth/d of incremental winter peak-day firm service starting Nov. 1 in the pipeline's market area. Through the Northern Lights 2017 project, Northern is to provide 50,103 Dth/d to CenterPoint Energy Inc.'s CenterPoint Energy Minnesota Gas, 19,913 Dth/d to Xcel Energy Inc., 5,258 Dth/d to Al-Corn Clean Fuel and 663 Dth/d to Midwest Natural Gas Inc.

Northern Natural has a 14,700-mile pipeline system stretching from southwest Texas to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, divided into a field area and a market area. The market area lies north of a compressor station in Clay County, Kan., and includes pipeline laid out in a grid that receives gas from supply basins through third-party interstate pipelines and Northern Natural's own transmission facilities.

The approximately $44.1 million Northern Lights 2017 project is proposed to install new facilities in Isanti, Sherburne and Rice counties in Minnesota. The project will include about 2.8 miles of 12-inch-diameter pipeline extending west from the end of the St. Cloud branch line loop; about two miles of 8-inch-diameter pipeline extending south from the end of the Princeton branch line loop; and one 15,900-horsepower, gas-driven compressor unit at the Faribault compressor station in Rice County, which will contribute to Northern's B, C and D lines. (FERC docket CP16-472)