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Empire Pipeline applies for 205,000-Dth/d expansion project

Empire Pipeline Inc. asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for authorization to build a project that would increase firm transportation capacity on its natural gas pipeline system by an additional 205,000 Dth/d for markets in the U.S. Northeast and Canada.

The National Fuel Gas Co. company filed an abbreviated application for the project Feb. 16. Empire asked FERC to grant the authorizations by Jan. 1, 2019, which gives it enough time to complete the Empire North project by a Nov. 1, 2019, in-service date requested by project shippers. The estimated cost of the project is $143 million.

About 93% of the project's incremental capacity would be under 15-year firm transportation agreements. Empire entered into binding precedent agreements for service with Repsol Oil & Gas USA LLC, the foundation shipper for the project; National Fuel Gas Distribution Corp., an Empire affiliate and a local distribution company; and EnergyMark LLC, an energy marketing company that serves New York residential, commercial and industrial end users.

Out of the total project capacity, 31,000 Dth/d would have a primary delivery point in upstate New York at an interconnection with Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. The remaining project capacity would have a primary delivery point at an interconnection with Transcanada Pipelines Ltd.

The project would consist of two new compressor stations in Tioga County, Pa., and Ontario County, N.Y.; modifications to a regulator station in Ontario County; modifications to a meter and regulator station in Tioga County; a boost to the Empire Connector pipeline's maximum allowable operating pressure; and removal of facilities. The Jackson compressor station in Tioga County would include two gas-fired compressor units, and the Farmington compressor station in Ontario County would consist of two electric motor-driven compressor units. The modifications to existing stations would allow for "more effective gas flow control." (FERC docket CP18-89)