TransCanada gets FERC approvals for three pipeline projects

TransCanada on Tuesday announced its Leach Xpress Pipeline in Ohio, West Virginia and western Pennsylvania was placed into service on Jan. 1, Kallanish Energy reports.

The company also said the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has issued certificates of public convenience for two additional pipeline projects to ship natural gas from the Appalachian Basin: the Mountain Xpress and the Gulf Xpress projects.

The Leach Xpress project includes 160 miles of 16-inch pipeline, three compressor stations and modifications to an existing compressor station.

The project, costing $1.6 billion, will move roughly 1.5 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of natural gas from the Utica and Marcellus shales. The project was developed by Columbia Pipeline, now part of TransCanada. It will move Appalachian Basin natural gas to the Gulf Coast and the Southeast.

"Successful completion of Leach XPress is a prime example of TransCanada's North American strategy of connecting prolific and growing supply basins with markets eager to access reliable, reasonably priced sources of energy," said Russ Girling, TransCanada president and CEO, in a statement.

The 170-mile Mountaineer Xpress in West Virginia would move 2.7 Bcf/d of natural gas in a 36-inch line, making it the second-largest pipeline by volume moving Marcellus and Utica gas, behind the Rover Pipeline. It also calls for three new compressor stations to be built and three existing stations to be upgraded.

The Gulf Xpress in Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi would allow bidirectional flow and move about 860 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) of natural gas. It includes seven new compressor stations and an upgrade to one station.

The two projects together will cost roughly $3.2 billion.

Once remaining regulatory approvals are obtained, TransCanada plans to begin right-of-way preparation and construction activities on both projects, with an anticipated in-service date in late 2018.

"FERC's approval of Mountaineer XPress and Gulf XPress allows us to continue delivering on our commitment to create new outlets for our customers, transporting Marcellus and Utica shale gas to key markets in the U.S. and beyond," said Stanley Chapman III, TransCanada's executive vice president and president, U.S. Natural Gas Pipelines.

Both projects are supported by long-term, fixed-fee, firm transportation service agreements, TransCanada said.