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FERC approves Spectra's expansion project to New England

FERC approved Spectra Energy Corp's Atlantic Bridge natural gas pipeline expansion project, which will provide approximately 132,705 Dth/d of additional firm transportation to New England and Canadian markets.

The Jan. 25 FERC order granted authorization for the Algonquin Gas Transmission LLC and Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline LLC project, which involves new pipeline and compression facilities in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts. The expansion project will allow for additional gas supplies to flow north from Algonquin's receipt points in New Jersey and New York and will enable Maritimes to provide 106,276 Dth/d of firm transportation service from Massachusetts. The project is estimated to cost approximately $451.8 million.

To provide the incremental firm service, Algonquin will build, install and operate approximately 6.3 miles of 42-inch-diameter pipeline to replace parts of a 26-inch-diameter pipeline in Westchester County, N.Y., and Fairfield County, Conn.; a compressor station with one new 7,700 horsepower natural gas-fired compressor unit in Norfolk County, Mass.; and a meter and regulating station in New London County, Conn. In order to make the replacements, the commission approved certain abandonment activities as part of the project. Algonquin will also make modifications to three compressor stations in New York and Connecticut, which would add 31,950 hp of compression. Other modifications will occur at meter and regulating stations, regulator stations and aboveground facilities.

Maritimes will alter a meter and regulating station in Cumberland County, Maine, and will not add new capacity to its transmission system. Instead, Maritimes will use existing capacity to transport gas to delivery points on its pipeline system, including points on systems in Canada.

The entire capacity was signed up for in open seasons. The project shippers, which entered into long-term, 15-year firm transportation service agreements, represent five local distribution companies, two manufacturing companies and a municipal utility. FERC determined that the project would provide benefits by accommodating an increasing demand in the New England region. "These service commitments constitute strong evidence that there is market demand for the project," the order said.

FERC stipulated that the project must be completed and available for service within two years of the order date, or by Jan. 25, 2019.

An application for the project was submitted to the commission by Algonquin and Maritimes on Oct. 22, 2015, and the commission gave the project a positive environmental review May 2. Spectra owns Algonquin and the majority of Maritimes, while the remainder of Maritimes is owned by Emera Inc. and Exxon Mobil Corp. (FERC docket CP16-9)