US authority approves Atlantic Sunrise pipeline project

Williams has reported that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has approved the Company’s request to place its Atlantic Sunrise project into full service. The Company plans to place the project into full service on 6 October 2018.

Backed by long-term shipper commitments, the historic project increases the design capacity of the Transco pipeline, the largest-volume natural gas pipeline system in the US, by 1.7 billion ft3/d (approximately 12%) to 15.8 billion ft3/d. In the process, the project further strengthens and extends the bi-directional flow of the Transco system, directly connecting Marcellus gas supplies with markets as far south as Alabama.

“This project makes the largest-volume pipeline system in the country even larger, further executing on our strategy to connect premier natural gas supply areas with the best markets in the country,” said Alan Armstrong, Williams President and Chief Executive Officer. “The project is significant for Pennsylvania and natural gas-consuming markets all along the East Coast, alleviating infrastructure bottlenecks and providing millions of consumers direct access to one of the most abundant, cost-effective natural gas supply sources in the country.”

Williams Chief Operating Officer Micheal Dunn added, “I’m proud of our project team for their focus and carefully executing this complex project in a safe and environmentally responsible manner. Their efforts have truly distinguished this project, positively collaborating with regulators, key stakeholders and communities to overcome challenges and install this critical infrastructure thoughtfully without experiencing any significant injuries or environmental issues. Even in the final months of construction, as some segments of the project area sustained more than 20 in. of rainfall, our teams acted quickly to restore the right-of-way and ensure environmental compliance requirements were met.”

Greenfield construction on the Pennsylvania portion of the project began in September 2017. The project featured the installation of 186 miles of greenfield pipe, 12 miles of pipe looping, 2.5 miles of pipe replacement, two new compressor stations and compressor station modifications in five states.

Gene Barr, President and CEO of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, said, “Projects like Atlantic Sunrise are allowing Pennsylvania to maximise the tremendous economic and energy benefits of the Marcellus Shale, spurring renewed investment into the manufacturing sector and creating opportunity for Pennsylvanians across the state. This multi-billion dollar private infrastructure investment is supporting current and future natural gas production and investment in Pennsylvania, which will ultimately boost employment and tax revenues for the state. Atlantic Sunrise has been a tremendous economic boom that will no doubt yield benefits, both economic and environmental, for the commonwealth for decades to come.”

Throughout the permitting and construction process, Williams worked closely with permitting agencies to minimise environmental and stakeholder impacts, making modifications to more than half of the original pipeline route. In addition, Williams worked with local stakeholders to provide an additional US$2.5 million for environmental conservation projects located within the project area.

The greenfield segment of the Atlantic Sunrise project, known as the Central Penn Line, is jointly owned by Transco and Meade Pipeline Co LLC (Meade). Meade is owned by WGL Midstream, Cabot Oil and Gas and EIF Vega Midstream.

Transco delivers natural gas to customers through its more than 10 000 mile pipeline network with a mainline extending 1800 miles from South Texas to New York City. The system is a major provider of cost-effective natural gas services that reach US markets in 12 Southeast and Atlantic Seaboard states, including major metropolitan areas in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.