With winter once again upon us, many business and homeowners in the Northeast are wondering if we will see the elevated prices for natural gas and electric as we did last year. Venture partners Cabot Oil and Gas, Piedmont Natural Gas, Williams Partners, and WGL Holdings, Inc. have been diligently working to gain approval for a new pipeline to help address this pressing issue. Their proposed Constitution Pipeline aims to increase supply reliability and price stabilization for customers. The pipeline will be designed to connect New York’s natural gas supply with the existing Iroquois Pipeline and provide portions of the New England markets lower cost energy via an interconnect with the Tennessee Pipeline. Capacity of the pipeline is estimated to transfer up to 650,000 dekatherms of natural gas per day which would serve approximately 3 million homes.
Many landowners and citizens in communities that will be affected by the pipeline have voiced their concern of the adverse effects that the pipeline could have. The partners held various meeting throughout communities along the proposed pipeline to formally introduce the project to the public and solicit feedback. Ultimately, regardless of public feedback, the process has continued.
The Constitution Pipeline has been through a lengthy process of needed approvals from various organizations. After much deliberation, the Federal Regulatory Energy Commission (FERC) came to the decision that the benefits the project would have on the markets and customers will outweigh any negative impacts. Last week, FERC issued its certificate of public convenience and necessity for the 124-mile Constitution Pipeline. Assuming all remaining necessary regulatory approvals are passed, such as permits from other state and federal agencies, including the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and New York Department of Environmental Conservation, construction will begin.
Initially the goal was a projected start of pipeline construction in spring 2014. As that date has since passed, construction is now estimated to be completed by the winter of 2015 or 2016, although this may still be an optimistic timeframe.