Potential customers urge approval of Southern Natural Gas project

Rayonier Advanced Materials in a filing docketed on Sept. 28 urged the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to act quickly on a natural gas pipeline project application from Southern Natural Gas Co. LLC (SNG) since the company desperately needs gas from the project to serve its plant in Jesup, Georgia.

SNG has asked FERC for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity to construct, install and abandon certain pipeline, meter and compressor facilities in Marengo County, Alabama; Duval and Nassau counties, Florida: Glynn, Liberty, Upson and Wayne counties, Georgia; and Saint Bernard Parish, Louisiana.

“We are contacting you today to request your timely approval of this matter,” said the Rayonier letter. “Rayonier Advanced Materials owns and operates a dissolving pulp plant in Jesup, Georgia, employing more than 800 residents of Southeast Georgia. We operate our facility in compliance with all federal and state environmental regulations. Recently, new Boiler MACT regulations have resulted in a substantial projected increase in our natural gas consumption beginning in 2016. Our ability to operate the facility in compliance with these new regulations hinges on access to new volumes of natural gas. Without access to this new volume of gas, our ability to continue our operations and its nearly $1 billion of economic impact in the region will be jeopardized.”

International Paper filed a similar, June 30 letter with FERC, noting that it has executed a binding precedent agreement with Southern Natural Gas to provide natural gas transportation services under the Southern Natural Gas and Elba Express pipeline expansion projects. The company added: “These pipeline expansion projects are necessary for both the Savannah, Georgia and Eastover, South Carolina Paper Mills to replace the majority or all coal firing with natural gas. These fuel replacements are part of the strategy for International Paper to comply with Federal Regulations for National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) codified at 40 CFR 63 Subpart DDDDD for industrial boilers. Additional benefits include reducing SO2 emissions at both facilities which are important for compliance with the 1-hr SO2 National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) and Regional Haze requirements (applicable to the Savannah Mill).”

In May 2014, SNG requested from FERC a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity to add approximately 235 million cubic feet per day of new firm transportation capacity to Southern’s system. The proposed project is known as the Zone 3 Expansion Project, and would provide certain customers in its system’s Zone 3 with new supply sources at the existing Elba Express Co. LLC interconnections with Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Co. in Hart County, Georgia, and Anderson County, South Carolina.

SNG would upgrade, replace, and construct certain compression and pipeline facilities in Marengo County, Alabama (including installing a 3.3-mile-long, 36-inch-diameter pipeline loop); Duval and Nassau counties, Florida (including one new compressor station in Nassau County); Glynn, Liberty, Upson and Wayne counties, Georgia; and Saint Bernard Parish, Louisiana.

Rayonier has permitted new gas-fired capacity at its Georgia plant

Incidentally, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division in December 2014 issued an air permit amendment to Rayonier for the Jesup facility that said: “Rayonier Performance Fibers, LLC has proposed the construction and operation of two new package boilers, the decommissioning of two existing boilers, and the modification of an existing boiler. The new boilers (No. 4 and No. 5 Power Boilers) will each have a rated heat input capacity of 361 MMBtu/hr while firing natural gas and a rated heat input capacity of 348 MMBtu/hr while firing ultra-low sulfur diesel as a backup fuel.

“The existing No. 1 Power Boiler (160 MMBtu/hr) and existing No. 2 Power Boiler (250 MMBtu/hr) will be decommissioned. The existing No. 3 Power Boiler has a heat capacity of 485 MMBtu/hr and is currently permitted to burn biomass (including but not limited to bark, wood and dissolved air flotation (DAF) solids), fuel oil, natural gas, and landfill gas.

“The proposed project will remove the capability to fire fuel oil in the No. 3 Power Boiler and increase the natural gas firing capacity. The proposed project is necessary for Rayonier Performance Fibers, LLC to comply with the Boiler MACT (40 CFR 63 Subpart DDDDD). Rayonier Performance Fibers, LLC has been granted a compliance date extension for the emission limits in the Boiler MACT. The compliance deadline is January 31, 2017, rather than January 31, 2016.”

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.