FERC approves Transco natural gas pipeline expansion

Williams Partners LP has received approval from the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for the $300 million Transco Virginia Southside expansion for service to Dominion’s 1,358-Mw facility in Brunswick County, Va. The gas-fired, electric power-generation plant will replace generating capacity from retiring coal-fired plants, Tulsa-based Williams said.

The 100-mile, 24-in. natural gas pipeline is expected to provide 270,000 dth/day of incremental transportation capacity by September 2015, extending from the Transco mainline in Pittsylvania County, Va., into Halifax, Charlotte, and Mecklenburg, terminating in Brunswick County, Va.

More than 90% of the capacity will serve Dominion Virginia Power’s new power plant while the remainder will serve Piedmont Natural Gas Co.’s local distribution business in North Carolina.

Transco’s plan is to place the pipe parallel to its own existing pipeline alongside the existing utility corridor. Transco also is adding more than 21,000 hp of compression at Station 165 in Pittsylvania County, Va.

The Transco growth projects, which consist of 11 projects in nine eastern states designed to increase system capacity by more than 35%, are scheduled by Williams Partners to be brought into service between 2013-17. Including the expansion, the projects total $2.2 billion.

“Since 2003, we have invested nearly $2 billion in 21 expansion projects that have increased Transco’s transportation capacity by 55%” stated Alan Armstrong, Williams’ chief executive officer.

“These vital infrastructure expansions connect the sizeable and growing markets along the Transco system with the new, long-lived natural gas reserves that the US is blessed to have in abundant supply,” Armstrong added.

Transco is a 10,200-mile pipeline system moving natural gas to the US Northeast and Southeast. Williams said current system capacity is 10.15 million dth/day, enough natural gas to serve the equivalent of more than 42 million homes.

Williams reported in April 2012 it was in discussions with potential shippers and other market inquiries about the Atlantic Access expansion of Transco, prompting the partners to increase the project’s capacity to 2.3 bcfd from 1.8 bcfd (OGJ Online, Apr. 17, 2012).

A decade earlier, Williams was fined $1.4 million by the US Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency for violating environmental rules protecting soil and water quality (OGJ Online, Feb. 1, 2002).

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