Courtesy Penn State Extension
In October, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved five natural gas pipeline projects in the Mid-Atlantic area, which will increase movement of Utica and Marcellus Shales and enhance the plastics outlook.
The projects include:
Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) – this 303 mile pipeline is expected to carry up to two billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) from Wetzel County, WV to Pittsylvania, VA with a price tag of $3.5 billion. The MVP will be built by Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC, a joint venture, with EQT Midstream Partners holding a major interest in the venture as well as being the operator.
Equitrans Expansion Project (EEP) – as the name suggests, the project consists mainly of expansions of the pipeline, along with the replacement of a 4800 horsepower compressor station with a 31,300 in Wetzel County, WV. EEP will transport up to 0.6 Bcf/d and will be utilizing existing interconnects as well as the proposed interconnect with MVP.
Supply Header Project (SHP) – The project’s 38 miles of pipeline and upgrades to compressor stations in the Westmoreland, Greene, Marshall and Wetzel counties will move 1.5 Bcf/d and add an additional 69,200 horsepower of additional compression. One of the main customers for this project is Atlantic Coastline Pipeline.
Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) – This 600-mile pipeline will move up to 1.5 Bcf/d and originate in Harrison County, WV, traveling to Greensville County, VA, ending in Robeson County, NC. Lateral extensions will extend to Chesapeake VA, and to two Dominion Energy electric generating operations in Brunswick and Greensville Counties in NC. Dominion Energy, Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas and Southern Company Gas are the four leading companies in the ACP development, with Dominion Energy the lead in construction and operation of the pipeline.
Eastern Shore 2017 Expansion Project – The project will provide 33 miles of pipeline looping in PA, MD, and DE, about 17 miles of pipeline extension and 2 pressure control stations in DE, upgrades to existing metering facilities in Lancaster County, PA and a new compressor unit installed at the Chester County PA compressor station. The project will provide 0.061 Bcf/d from PA to DE.
These projects are important to help provide the necessary infrastructure to get the gas to markets. In 2016, FERC approved close to 40 pipeline projects, covering 1,200 miles and over 14 Bcf/d with more than $10 billion in new investment. FERC has not recently approved projects since February of this year.
These projects moving forward will be a boost for petrochemical facilities considering operations in the East. Shell Chemical Appalachia is constructing an ethylene cracker facility in Beaver County, just north of Pittsburgh. PTTGC America is expected to decide by the end of the year if it will pursue construction of a world-scale ethane cracker in Belmont County, Ohio. While Odebrecht and Braskem withdrew plans for a cracker in WV last year, analysts say the project may be restored at some point if the LyondellBasell takeover of Braskem occurs. Ethane has been stranded in the area due to infrastructure deficits. What ethane that is being rejected would easily provide for many large chemical plants in the region with little need to increase drilling activity.