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Columbia Gas files for Buckeye Xpress project, banking on Appalachian gas growth

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Essential Energy Insights - January 2021


Columbia Gas files for Buckeye Xpress project, banking on Appalachian gas growth

Columbia Gas Transmission LLC applied for a project to replace an aging natural gas pipeline system in Ohio and West Virginia in anticipation of future growth from Appalachian Basin producers, increasing capacity along the pipeline by 275,000 Dth/d.

The TransCanada Corp. company on March 26 filed an abbreviated application asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to approve the Buckeye Xpress project. The project would replace 60.8 miles of 20-inch-diameter and 24-inch-diameter natural gas pipeline with 66.2 miles of new 36-inch-diameter pipeline on Columbia Gas' R-system in Vinton, Jackson, Gallia and Lawrence counties in Ohio and Wayne County, W.Va. The new pipeline facilities would offer increased safety and reliability, as well as the incremental firm capacity, Columbia Gas said.

Columbia Gas asked for authorization of the project by Jan. 31, 2019, to meet a planned in-service date of November 2020.

Once the proposed larger-diameter and upgraded facilities for Columbia Gas' R-801 pipeline are in service, the company would be able to meet expected growth in transportation demand from Appalachian drillers to delivery points in Kentucky and West Virginia without requiring greenfield construction. The replacement project would result in minimal incremental environmental and landowner impacts, with no new landowners impacted, according to the application.

"The modernization of the R-System is necessary to provide continued safe and reliable natural gas transportation to Columbia's system," the developer said in the application. "Constructing a larger capacity pipeline than immediately necessary in a location where there is potential for future growth in demand for service on the pipeline is appropriate as it minimizes potential environmental and landowner impacts that occur."

Columbia Gas estimated the total construction cost for the project to be $709 million. The project would also include four new mainline valves and four new tie-in assemblies; modifications to Columbia Gas' existing Ceredo compressor station; two sets of bidirectional launchers/receivers, which would increase Columbia Gas' transportation capacity to its Leach point of delivery and the TCO Pool market; installation of a new 0.2-mile lateral pipeline and crossover pipeline to maintain feed to existing points of delivery; and in-place abandonment of a 1.1-mile distribution line.

The project is fully supported by Columbia Gas' existing contracts as part of a larger modernization effort. During an open season for the project's capacity, Columbia Gas received bids for over 1 Bcf/d for R-system capacity from various parties. No binding agreements have been executed for the project yet. (FERC docket CP18-137)

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