Completed Pipeline Projects Increase Natural Gas Capacity in U.S.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) Natural Gas Pipeline Project Tracker showed that new natural gas pipeline capacity increased by approximately 4.4. billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) with four new pipelines came into service between November 2020 and January 2021.
The four projects ranged from Michigan to Texas to West Virginia. Here is a look at the four new pipelines:
Saginaw Trail Pipeline
Consumer Energy’s $610 million intrastate Saginaw Trail Pipeline entered service in late November, according to EIA. This pipeline replaced and expanded natural gas pipelines and infrastructure in Saginaw, Genesee, and Oakland Counties in Michigan, increasing natural gas capacity by 0.2 Bcf/d.
According to Consumer Energy, the Phase 4 of the project, 28.2 miles from Grand Blanc CG to Clawson Control, included:
- Crews of union skilled trades workers removed old pipe along the Saginaw Trail Pipeline route and installed a new, larger pipeline.
- While the pipeline travels primarily through rural agricultural areas, it was rerouted around two large urban areas of Saginaw and Flint.
- In addition to replacing pipe, city gate facilities where gas pressure is regulated was rebuilt for safe delivery to homes and businesses.
- There were no service interruptions during pipe construction.
“Major construction was completed in 2020 and the new pipeline is operating safely. Restoration work is scheduled to continue through summer 2022,” said Consumer Energy.
Buckeye Xpress Project
Columbia Gas Transmission (CGT) completed a $709 million Buckeye Xpress Project that included infrastructure improvements and replaced 66 miles of existing natural gas pipeline with more reliable 36-inch pipe in Ohio and West Virginia.
The EIA said the 0.3 Bcf/d project increases transportation capacity out of the Appalachia Basin into CGT’s interconnection in Leach, Kentucky, and the TCO Pool in West Virginia.
According to CGT in advance of the project: “A 20-inch pipeline (R 501) is proposed for decommissioning due to the specific pipe design used and the length of time it has been in service. This line is proposed to be decommissioned and replaced with a new, 36-inch pipeline (R 801), which will provide continued safe and reliable service to existing and anticipated future customers. Replacement of the R-501 type pipe is required for compliance with United States Department of Transportation (“USDOT”) regulations that prohibit wrinkle bends on steel pipe operating at a pressure that produces a hoop stress of 30 percent or more of specified minimum yield strength.”
Permian Highway Pipeline
EIA said that Kinder Morgan’s Permian Highway Pipeline (PHP) entered service in early January 2021.
The 430-mile PHP brings 2.1 Bcf/d of additional natural gas capacity from the Waha Hub, located in West Texas near production activities in the Permian Basin, to Katy, Texas, near Houston on the Gulf Coast. The PHP also has additional connections to Mexico.
“We are extremely pleased to have placed PHP in service. We are very proud of our team’s ability to execute and that we were able to complete this critical infrastructure project in the midst of a global pandemic. PHP will continue to provide environmental benefits and economic value to the State of Texas for many years to come,” said Kinder Morgan Natural Gas Midstream President Sital Mody. “We believe that the Permian Basin will remain an important supply basin for decades, and our strong network of pipelines provides the ability to connect this supply to critical markets along the Gulf Coast.”
Agua Blanca Expansion Project
The WhiteWater Midstream/MPLX’s Agua Blanca Expansion Project entered service in late January, according to the EIA. The pipeline connects to nearly 20 natural gas processing sites in the Delaware Basin in West Texas and will transport an additional 1.8 Bcf.d of natural gas to the Waha Hub.
This project also connects with the Whistler Pipeline, which is scheduled to be completed in the third quarter of 2021 and will move an additional 2.0 Bcf/d of natural gas from the Permian Basin to the Texas Gulf Coast.
“We are excited to bring this expansion into service ahead of schedule while continuing to provide reliable and transparent transportation services to producers and processors in Texas and New Mexico,” said WhiteWater Midstream (WWM) Chief Executive Officer Christer Rundlof. “WWM remains committed to developing premier Permian basin residue assets as markets normalize and growth resumes.”
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