Gas supply reaches tipping point

BY STACI WILSON

For the past 50 years, natural gas has been flowing north from the Gulf of Mexico to customers on the eastern seaboard through the Transco pipeline – one of the major pieces of natural gas infrastructure in the country.

But now, the natural gas supply is at a tipping point, said Williams Companies spokesman Chris Stockton, with more coming out of Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale than the Gulf.

The $3 billion proposed Atlantic Sunrise project hopes to change the flow of the gas by 2017 – sending local natural gas to the southern states.

The interstate pipeline project is regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and is currently in the pre-file phase which includes a series of open house events. The permitting process is expected to take about three years.

After events held in Luzerne and Lycoming County, representatives from FERC as well as natural gas industry experts invited area residents, including landowners who may be affected by the project to the Monday night event held in the Mountain View Elementary gymnasium.

Although the Transco line runs into Pennsylvania, about 100 miles of new infrastructure – five to six miles in Susquehanna County – will be needed to carry gas to the pipeline.

In the county, about 50 landowners could be affected, Stockton said. Those stakeholders have been notified and Williams has reached out to them in order to gain permission to conduct surveys and meet with them.

Company representatives have also met with township supervisors and county commissioners in the project area.

Williams also plans on building a compressor station as part of the project but has not yet determined if it would be located in Susquehanna or Wyoming County.

The station will need to be located where electric service exists that can power the compressor station.

The information Williams is gathering now will be used as it prepares the application is expects to file with FERC in early 2015.

The project would increase the Transco capacity by 10 percent, according to Stockton. The pipeline now carries 11 cubic billion feet of natural gas per day. The increase equals 1.7 cubic billion of gas each day connecting with the market.

Susquehanna County Conservation District Manager Jim Garner said the district would be reviewing all of the erosion and sediment control permits filed for the project.

Williams Regulatory Compliance Specialist Ryan Stalker said “This project will provide our local producers with a new opportunity to take gas from Susquehanna County to customers up and down the eastern seaboard.”

Mike Atchie, Williams Public Outreach, said meetings were also being held Tuesday at Keystone College in Wyoming County. The majority of the added pipeline miles will cut through Wyoming County to Lehman in Luzerne County.

Breathe Easy Susquehanna County representative Rebecca Roter said, “The Atlantic Sunrise, the Constitution, any pipeline infrastructure that will move Susquehanna County shale gas to market, domestic and international, will encourage more extraction and processing of the gas right here and will amplify the impacts to the air we breathe.”

She attended the open house, asking Williams’ representatives her group’s concerns regarding compressor station, air quality and notification systems.

FERC is currently accepting comments on the proposed Atlantic Sunrise Project. Filing instructions are available at www.ferc.gov under the link ‘Documents and Filings’ and ‘efiling.’

More information about the Atlantic Sunrise Project is available at www.williams.com/atlanticsunrise.