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Rockies Express' Seneca line expands its pool of potential shippers

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Essential Energy Insights - January 2021


Rockies Express' Seneca line expands its pool of potential shippers

receivedFERC approval to place its Seneca natural gas lateral into open-access transportationservice, which expands the lateral's options in terms of the shippers it can serve.

On April7, FERC issued a certificate under the Natural Gas Act to allow the new operationof its pipeline and compression facilities in Noble and Monroe counties in Ohio.The facilities were originally built by Rockies Express to provide service underSection 311 of the Natural Gas Policy Act. No new construction was required or authorizedin the order.

RockiesExpress needed the new certificate to provide service on the Seneca lateral underthe Natural Gas Act and the company's Subpart G blanket certificate. It an abbreviated applicationin March 2015.

An interstatepipeline may provide service under Natural Gas Policy Act Section 311 if the serviceprovided is on behalf of an intrastate pipeline or LDC, but the requirement limitsthe shippers that can be served by the pipeline. FERC observed that Rockies Expresshas a shipper on the lateral with a 20-year contract for the full amount of firmservice under Section 311, but the commission said "no unused or released SenecaLateral capacity can be made available to interruptible or other firm shippers unlessthat service can also meet the statutory 'on behalf of' requirements of NGPA section311."

The Senecalateral, almost 15 miles of pipeline and a compressor station with five compressors,extends from MarkWest Energy PartnersLP's Seneca processing plant in Noble County to an interconnection withthe Rockies Express mainline in that county. The lateral's facilities are designedto provide up to 600,000 Dth/d of gas transportation service.

RockiesExpress proposed incremental firm and interruptible recourse rates for service onthe lateral under the Natural Gas Act based on costs to build the facilities, approximately$136 million. (CP15-102)

RockiesExpress placed the Seneca lateralin service in June 2014, and it beefed up the initial capacity of the lateral inthe following months to the current design capacity.