FERC seeks input on draft EIS for multi-state Columbia Gas capacity project

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on April 21 put out for comment until June 13 a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on a June 2015 application from Columbia Gas Transmission LLC to construct, own and operate certain interstate natural gas pipeline facilities in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

In July 2015, Columbia Gulf Transmission LLC also filed an application with FERC to build and operate related natural gas pipeline facilities in Kentucky. Columbia Gas and Columbia Gulf are seeking Certificates of Public Convenience and Necessity.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA), the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP), the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (PADCNR), the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP), the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR), and the Kentucky Deparment for Environmental Protection (KYDEP) participated as cooperating agencies in preparation of the draft EIS.

Columbia Gas’s proposal, referred to as the Leach XPress Project (LX Project), would involve the construction, operation, and abandonment of an existing pipeline. The proposed LX Project’s pipeline facilities would total about 160.7 miles of pipe and add approximately 143,000 horsepower (hp) of compression to transport up to 1.5 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas.

Columbia Gas would abandon 28.2 miles of the existing Line R-501 in Fairfield, Hocking, and Vinton counties, Ohio. By abandoning a segment of Line R-501 and constructing the R-801 Loop, Columbia Gas would enhance the overall reliability and flexibility of its existing R-System and increase the existing system capacity.

Various replacement and upgrade projects along its existing R-System would allow Columbia Gas to modernize the system facilities, improve system integrity, and enhance service reliability and flexibliity. According to Columbia Gas, the proposed pipeline project was developed in response to market demand for the transportation of stranded natural gas supplies from the existing production region to areas of higher demand and premium markets.

Columbia Gulf’s proposal, referred to as the Rayne XPress Expansion Project (RXE Project), would involve the construction and operation of 51,800 hp at two compressor stations in Carter, Menifee, and Montgomery counties, Kentucky, to enable up to 621,000 dekatherms per day (Dth/d) of firm transportation on its system.

Columbia Gas’ proposal includes the following:

  • two natural gas pipelines in Ohio;
  • two natural gas pipeline loops in Ohio;
  • abandonment in place of a segment of one existing natural gas pipeline in Ohio;
  • construction of new three compressor stations in Ohio and West Virginia;
  • modification of two compressor units in Ohio and the abandonment of one compressor unit at an existing compressor station in West Virginia;
  • 13 bi-directional pig launcher and/or receiver facilities;
  • nine Main Line Valves (MLVs);
  • five odorization sites at facilities located along Columbia Gas’ existing pipeline system; and
  • various appurtenant and auxiliary facilities.

LX Project facilities to be constructed would be located in:

  • Marshall and Wayne counties, West Virginia;
  • Greene County, Pennsylvania; and
  • Monroe, Noble, Muskingum, Morgan, Perry, Fairfield, Hocking, Jackson, Lawrence and Vinton counties, Ohio.

Subject to the receipt of FERC authorization and all other applicable permits, authorizations, and approvals, Columbia Gas and Columbia Gulf propose to start construction of both projects in November 2016 and continue through November 2017.

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.