Two large pipeline projects aimed at alleviating a glut of natural gas coming from the Marcellus shale moved ahead in the federal permitting process this week.
Houston-based Columbia Pipeline Group said its proposal to build the $2 billion, 165-mile Mountaineer Xpress in West Virginia entered a pre-filing phase before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Moving from Marshall County to Wayne County along the state’s western border with the Ohio River, the pipeline would connect processing points and other lines, “providing producers in the Marcellus and Utica shale areas new transportation options to move gas out of the capacity-constrained supply basin and into the interstate market,” the company said.
Columbia has started reaching out to landowners in the project’s path and, pending the FERC’s approval, will start construction in the fall of 2017 with hopes to start moving 2.7 billion cubic feet of gas per day a year later.
On the northeastern end of the Marcellus, a venture led by six midstream and utility companies applied to the FERC for permits to move ahead with construction of the PennEast Pipeline. The $1 billion, 118-mile system of 36-inch pipes would move gas from shale fields north of Wilkes Barre to New Jersey and the Philadelphia suburbs.
“New pipeline capacity like that of PennEast is the key to unlocking the competitive advantage of abundant Pennsylvania natural gas,” David Taylor, president of the Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association, said in a PennEast announcement.
A coalition of environmental groups opposed to natural gas development renewed its pledge to block the project, scheduled to begin construction in 2017.
“If approved, the PennEast pipeline would impact hundreds of important water resources, thousands of residents, and lock our region into a future of fossil fuel dependence,” said Joseph Otis Minott, executive director of the Philadelphia-based Clean Air Council.
Industry leaders say such pipelines will deliver cheaper and cleaner-burning gas to areas where high demand and low supply have boosted energy prices. Within the gas-producing areas, a shortage of pipelines creates a glut that has pushed prices down to multi-year lows.
Approval from the FERC will involve environmental reviews as a well as a determination that the pipeline is financially necessary.
This article was written by DAVID CONTI from The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.