Monday, March 30, 2015

U.S. Support for Nuclear Energy at 51%

A slim majority of Americans (51%) now favor the use of nuclear energy for electricity in the U.S., while 43% oppose it. This level of support is similar to what Gallup found when it last measured these attitudes two years ago, but it is down from the peak of 62% five years ago. Current support is on the low end of what Gallup has found in the past 20 years, with the 46% reading in 2001 the only time that it sank lower.

Trend: Slight Majority in U.S. Favors Nuclear Energy

The high point in support for the use of nuclear power, in 2010, was recorded shortly after President Barack Obama announced that the federal government would provide loan guarantees for the construction of two nuclear reactors, the first to be built in the U.S. in three decades.
Support has generally dropped since then. However, between 2011 and 2012, support was stable, with 57% favoring nuclear energy. This is notable given that Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster took place shortly after polling in 2011.
The latest result comes from Gallup's annual Environment poll, conducted March 5-8. (Gallup, 3/30/2015)

Constitution Pipeline

Williams, a leading energy infrastructure company, has partnered with Cabot Oil & Gas,Piedmont Natural Gas, and WGL  Holdings to develop a major transmission pipeline project to connect abundant Appalachian natural gas supplies in northern Pennsylvania with major northeastern markets.  The name of the project is Constitution Pipeline.
The approximately 124-mile Constitution Pipeline has been designed with a capacity to transport 650,000 dekatherms of natural gas per day (enough natural gas to serve approximately 3 million homes). Buried underground, the 30-inch pipeline will extend from Susquehanna County, Pa., to the Iroquois Gas Transmission and Tennessee Gas Pipeline systems in Schoharie County, N.Y. The pipeline route stretches from Susquehanna County, Pa., into Broome County, N.Y., Chenango County, N.Y., Delaware County, N.Y., and terminates in Schoharie County, N.Y.
The Center generally supports such important American energy infrastructure projects.
Natural Gas Production
The Constitution Pipeline has been designed to transport natural gas that has already been produced in Pennsylvania. The pipeline is not dependent upon nor does it require the development of new natural gas wells along the project’s proposed path. The pipeline is already fully contracted with long-term commitments from established natural gas producers currently operating in Pennsylvania.
Permitting Process
On Dec. 2, 2014, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued an Order granting a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for the Constitution Pipeline project (docket number CP13-499). To view the Order, click here. FERC issued this document to signify that approval has been granted to build and operate the pipeline. The certificate details the conditions of the approval, including the final route FERC has authorized, and construction and mitigation measures that must be followed.
Constitution Pipeline Company initiated a pre-filing environmental review of the proposed pipeline route in April 2012. The FERC pre-filing process solicits early input from citizens, governmental entities and other interested parties to identify and address issues with potential facility locations. The company hosted a series of public open houses during the summer of 2012 in the affected areas to formally introduce the proposal to the public and solicit feedback.
The FERC  issued its Final Environmental Impact Statement on the project on Oct. 24, 2014, concluding that environmental impacts would be reduced to “less than significant levels” with the implementation of proposed mitigation measures by the company and FERC.
Local Natural Gas Service
Constitution Pipeline would be considered an “open access pipeline,” meaning that local municipalities or public utilities could potentially tap the line in the future to provide residential, commercial and industrial natural gas service.  One such provider Constitution is working with is Leatherstocking Gas Company, LLC. In March 2014 Constitution Pipeline and Leatherstocking announced an agreement to install four delivery interconnects along

Constitution’s proposed pipeline route for the purpose of facilitating potential local natural gas service. Leatherstocking’s plan is to develop local natural gas distribution systems within Broome, Chenango, Delaware, and Madison Counties in New York State and Susquehanna County in Pennsylvania in locations currently without natural gas service. (Constitution Pipeline)

Aerial Tracking of VOC & Methane Emissions

Sensitive instruments to track methane, VOCs and other airborne toxins from New Mexico to North Dakota
The Four Corners area (red) is the major U.S. hot spot for methane emissions in this map showing how much emissions varied from average background concentrations from 2003-2009 (dark colors are lower than average; lighter colors are higher). Image Credit:  NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Michigan.
The Four Corners area (red) is the major U.S. hot spot for methane emissions in this map showing how much emissions varied from average background concentrations from 2003-2009 (dark colors are lower than average; lighter colors are higher). Image courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Michigan.
A recent National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) study of satellite data showing a hotspot of potent heat-trapping methane pollution  is adding to the study what escapes to the air—and how it is transformed in the atmosphere and affects air quality and climate.
Scientists hope to learn much more about the massive quantities of pollution escaping from fossil fuel development areas in the next few months as they launch this year’s  Shale Oil and Natural Gas Nexus (SONGNEX 2015) field campaign, using airborne instruments to measure greenhouse gases and other toxic emissions.
CIRES and NOAA research has shown that many different volatile organic compounds are emitted in the production fields, and that the amount emitted depends greatly on the equipment and production practices in use.  The VOCs are key starting ingredients that lead to the production of ozone, a lower-atmosphere pollutant regulated because of its health effects.
Other chemical reactions transform the emissions and gases in the air into airborne fine particles, which are also an air quality issue.
Methane emissions are a particular focus because, molecule-for-molecule, it is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Methane’s lower overall abundance in the atmosphere (compared to CO2) leads to its ranking as the second most important greenhouse gas emitted by human activities. Previous NOAA and CIRES work has shown that production activities in some basins emit far more methane than others.
The scientists hope their spring flights will provide a detailed and nuanced picture of emissions from industrial fossil fuel development zones. The missions will focus on basins that represent a mixture of oil and gas production regions at various stages of development.
More than a dozen instruments will fly aboard the Lockheed NOAA WP-3D Orion research aircraft to sample the air above fields in the Four Corners area to Texas, to Oklahoma, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, and North Dakota.  Flights will be based out of Colorado and Texas beginning in late March and extending throughout the month of April.  (Summit County Citizen Voice, 3/28/2015)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Crude Oil Storage at Cushing, but not Storage Capacity Utilization Rate, at Record Level

graph of weekly crude oil inventory and storage capacities at Cushing, Oklahoma, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Weekly Petroleum Status Report and Working and Net Available Shell Storage Capacity

After increasing for 15 consecutive weeks, crude oil storage at Cushing, Oklahoma, reached 54.4 million barrels on March 13, according to EIA's Weekly Petroleum Status Report. This volume is the highest on record, but not the highest percent of storage utilization, as working storage capacity at Cushing has also increased over time.
Storage levels at Cushing are significant, because Cushing serves as the delivery point for the United Statescrude oil benchmark, West Texas Intermediate. Sited in central Oklahoma, Cushing is home to both a network of crude oil pipelines and storage capacity. The 70.8 million barrels of storage capacity in Cushing represent more than 60% of all crude oil working storage capacity in the Midwest (as defined by Petroleum Administration for Defense District 2) and about 19% of all commercial crude oil storage in the United States.
Although inventory levels at Cushing are at their record high, storage utilization (inventories as a percent of working storage capacity) are not at record levels. Capacity utilization at Cushing is now 77%, a large increase from a recent low of 27% in October 2014. However, utilization reached 91% in March 2011, soon after EIA begansurveying storage capacity twice a year, starting in September 2010.  (DOE-EIA)

Nuclear Matters & Center Support For Nuclear Power Plants

Nuclear Matters announced today that 15 organizations have joined the campaign as Partners, coalescing in their support for existing nuclear energy plants and the need to ensure they are preserved. The diverse cross-section of voices includes environmental, consumer and academic groups, among others. They will work alongside Nuclear Matters’ Leadership Council to raise awareness around the value of the existing nuclear fleet for their benefits in terms of reliability, carbon-free generation, and economic impact.
“In my role as co-chair of Nuclear Matters, I’ve heard first-hand from a range of organizations and individuals who are in strong support of our existing nuclear fleet,” said former Senator Evan Bayh. “The fact that many of these organizations have joined Nuclear Matters as Partners is representative of the serious and growing desire that exists across the country to do everything we can to ensure that these plants are preserved.”
“As an organization whose mission it is to apply practical environmental solutions to ensure a cleaner energy future, our partnership with Nuclear Matters is well-suited,” said Norris McDonald, President of the African American Environmentalist Association. “Given that our existing nuclear energy fleet provides 63 percent of the nation’s carbon-free energy, it plays a key role in helping to address environmental challenges, including meeting proposed rules laid out by the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce carbon emissions.”
Below is a complete list of the organizations that have partnered with Nuclear Matters and will join the campaign in various events and initiatives across the country:
  • African American Environmentalist Association
  • Carolinas Nuclear Cluster (CNC)
  • Center for Environment, Commerce and Energy
  • Citizens for Nuclear Technology Awareness
  • Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA)
  • Energy for Carolinas (E4C)
  • Energy Information Center
  • Environmentalists for Nuclear Energy - USA
  • Go Nuclear
  • Illinois Clean Energy Coalition
  • National Museum of Nuclear Science and History
  • North American Young Generation in Nuclear (NAYGN)
  • Nuclear Advocacy Network
  • Nuclear Fuels Reprocessing Coalition
  • U.S. Women in Nuclear
About Nuclear Matters
The mission of Nuclear Matters is to inform the public about the clear benefits that nuclear energy provides to our nation, to raise awareness of the economic challenges to nuclear energy that threaten those benefits, and to work with stakeholders to explore possible policy solutions that properly value nuclear energy as a reliable, affordable and carbon-free electricity resource that is essential to America’s energy future.
Supporters of Nuclear Matters include a range of companies and organizations in the energy industry, including Ameren Missouri, American Nuclear Insurers, Arizona Public Service Company, AREVA, Black & Veatch, POWER Burns and Roe, Centrus Energy Corp. Dominion, Duke Energy, Energy Future Holdings Corporation, Energy Northwest, Entergy Corporation, Exelon Corporation, FirstEnergy Corporation, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, Lightbridge Corporation, Nebraska Public Power District, NextEra Energy Inc., Omaha Public Power District, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, South Texas Project Nuclear Operating Company, Southern Company, Tennessee Valley Authority, and Westinghouse Electric Corporation.
Media Contacts
For Nuclear Matters:
Alexandra Meredith
(212) 446-1887
Joe Germani
(212) 446-1899

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The White House Announces Greenhouse Gas Reduction Initiative

Today President Obama signed an Executive Order to cut the Federal Government’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 40 percent from 2008 levels. The President’s initiative also increases the share of electricity that the federal government uses from renewable sources to 30 percent by 2025.
Following the signing at the White House, the President traveled to the Department of Energy to tour the building’s rooftop solar panels and to host a meeting with executives from some of the largest Federal suppliers to discuss how their new and existing GHG reduction targets are helping address climate change, while at the same time helping their company’s bottom line by reducing energy costs.

The President is following through with the commitment he made in China last year to reduce economy-wide emissions 26-28 percent by 2025. 
For more information, please see the White House Fact Sheet and Blog. (The White House)

Friday, March 13, 2015



The chart in the listing at the link above contains all Orders issued by the Office of Natural Gas Regulatory Activities in 2014 through December 31st. The orders include all new or renewed authority to Import and Export Natural Gas and/or Liquefied Natural Gas, as well as all procedural orders; i.e., vacates, name changes. To download applications, click here and select the "View (blankets), PDF (exports)" tab. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

New California Groundwater Law

Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (“SGMA”)

As of January 1, 2015, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (“SGMA”), an ambitious attempt that Governor Jerry Brown signed last September in order to regulate the use of groundwater on a more universal scale, has now gone into effect.   

Local Control

In enacting the SGMA, the California legislature sought to “manage groundwater basins through the actions of local governmental agencies to the greatest extent feasible.”   For the most part, any local agency with water supply, water management or land use responsibilities in a given groundwater basin (or a combination of such agencies) can become the groundwater sustainability agency for that basin.
The SGMA gives sustainability agencies a number of powers and authorities in addition to those they already may possess. Agencies are authorized, among other things, to conduct investigations; require registration of facilities that extract groundwater; require said facilities to measure the amount of water they extract; acquire property including water rights; regulate, limit or allocate groundwater extraction; and authorize transfers of groundwater allocations.  They also have the power to “impose fees, including . . . permit fees and fees on groundwater extraction” to support their activities, and to bring enforcement actions seeking civil penalties for violations relating to rules implemented pursuant to the SGMA. 
The SGMA’s use of local planning and management – as opposed to purely centralized state control – is intended to provide valuable opportunities for informed and proactive water users to have a say in groundwater sustainability planning from the start.
State Oversight and Intervention
While the SGMA generally emphasizes local management of groundwater resources, it does provide for state involvement on a number of levels. For example, DWR must develop and publish best management practices for sustainable groundwater management, and it is responsible for reviewing sustainability plans every five years to ensure compliance with the SGMA.   In addition, the State Water Resources Control Board (“SWRCB” or “State Board”) can “designate a basin as a probationary basin” for failure to develop a groundwater sustainability plan where one is needed, or for implementation of an insufficient plan.  If a local agency fails to remedy the problem that led to a designation, the State Board may adopt its own interim sustainability plan for the basin.
DWR is also tasked with establishing the initial priority for the state’s groundwater basins, a job of considerable consequence given that many of the SGMA’s requirements apply only to those basins designated as high or medium priority.  DWR has announced that the basin designations it finalized under the California Statewide Groundwater Elevation Monitoring program will serve as the initial prioritization required by the SGMA. [More at Marten Law]

Calif State Can't Protect Groundwater & L.A. DWP Can't Collect Bills

The agencies charged with overseeing oil production and protecting California's water sources from the industry's pollution all fell down on the job. The California Department of Conservation, the department's Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources and the state Water Resources Control Board promised  a top-down overhaul of their regulation of the disposal of oil field wastewater.

Some state legislators have characterized agency practices as corrupt and inept.  Agency officials have attributed the errors to haphazard record-keeping and antiquated data collection. And they have said that initial tests on nine drinking water supply wells found no benzene or other contaminants. The federal Environmental Protection Agency has called the state's errors "shocking" and said California's oil field wastewater injection program does not comply with the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.

State legislators believed it was not a lack of regulation (new laws). but a lack of enforcement of existing regulations.  State regulatory officials have noted that the oil industry's technology had outpaced the state's regulations, many of which have remained unchanged for decades.

Meanwhile, the botched rollout of a new billing system at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power disrupted the utility's ability to collect unpaid bills, helping to drive the total to $681 million late last year, a state audit of the system has found.

Customer confusion over late and estimated bills after a new "Customer Care & Billing" system went live in September 2013 produced a flood of calls to DWP's customer service lines. As officials diverted the workforce to answering phone calls and issuing corrected bills, collections fell further behind, the audit found.

Before the system went live, the DWP carried about $436 million in uncollected bills. The billing problem added another $245 million to the debt. The total shortfall includes both residential and commercial billings.

The L.A. City Attorney filed a lawsuit alleging that PricewaterhouseCoopers intentionally misled DWP managers about its ability to help the utility implement the system. The global accounting firm responded that it did its job well and that the DWP was trying to make the vendor a scapegoat.  (L.A.Times, 3/10/2015, L.A. Times, 3/10/2015)

Thursday, March 05, 2015

House Bill Introduced To Keep Ethanol From Ruining Boat Motors

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Reform Act of 2015 was introduced Feb. 4 by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Virginia) and co-sponsors Jim Costa (D-California), Peter Welsh (D-Vermont) and Steve Womack (R-Arkansas) to reform the RFS. Costa, Goodlatte, Welsh and Womack’s bill proposes to eliminate corn-based ethanol blending and cap ethanol blending into conventional at 10 percent, commonly referred to as ethanol 10 or E10. The sponsors believe ethanol is ruining the engines of boats, chainsaws and snowmobiles across the country. This bill will remove the remaining consumer subsidy of the ethanol industry, the mandated blending of ethanol into gasoline.

In February 2013, the EPA approved a new blender pump configuration for gas stations seeking to use a common hose and nozzle to dispense E10 and E15 fuels. The combination of E10 and E15 at the same gas pump could result in boaters being confused and filling their boats with E15 instead of E10. According to BoatUS, boaters are prohibited from using E15 in their vessels.

More than 60 percent of BoatUS members fill their boat’s fuel tanks at roadside gas stations where the higher blend ethanol fuels are often the cheapest fuel at the pump. This creates a huge potential for misfueling and puts boaters at risk,

According to The Hill, the Renewable Fuel Association (RFA), an ethanol lobby, opposes the proposed bill. The lobby reportedly issued a study last week at the National Ethanol Conference in Texas presenting the economic benefits of ethanol. Specifically, the study reported 14.3 billion gallons of ethanol was produced in 2014, potentially offsetting 515 million barrels of foreign oil.

RFA has promoted increased use of ethanol blends. The RFS became law in 2005 and required
biofuels such as corn-based ethanol to be blended with gasoline. Several years later, the EPA permitted gas stations to use E15 blends in an attempt to keep pace with the standard’s mandates. The EPA reportedly approved E15 blends to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, the American Automobile Association challenged the EPA’s claim in 2012, issuing a statement that E15 potentially damaged fuel lines. An investigative report published by the Associated Press (AP) in November 2013 corroborated claims of the harms caused by fuels with corn-based ethanol.

 “The government’s predictions of the benefits have proven so inaccurate that independent scientists question whether it will ever achieve its central environmental goal: reducing greenhouse gases,” the AP report stated. “The numbers behind the ethanol mandate have become so unworkable that, for the first time, the EPA is soon expected to reduce the amount of ethanol required to be added to the gasoline supply.”

When the bill was introduced Feb. 4, the EPA reportedly did not set blend mandates for 2015 and 2016.  [See more]  (The Log, 2/26/2015)

Senate Fails To Override President Obama's Veto of Keystone XL Pipeline

The Senate failed on Wednesday to override President Obama’s veto of legislation approving the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline, falling five votes short of the two-thirds majority needed in a 62-37 vote.
It’s the first time Congress has voted on whether to override a veto from Obama and could be a sign of things to come, with Republicans in charge of the House and Senate.

Eight Democrats voted with Republicans to override Obama: Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Mark Warner (Va.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Bob Casey Jr. (Pa.), Michael Bennet (Colo.), Tom Carper (Del.) and Jon Tester (Mont.).
Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), who backs the pipeline, missed the vote.  
The eight Democrats also voted to approve the $8 billion oil sands project in January. Sixty-seven votes are needed to override a presidential veto.

Keystone proponents vowed to continue the fight for the pipeline despite the failure.
Obama’s rejection of the Keystone bill came within hours of Republicans sending it to the White House. It was the third veto of his presidency but his first major veto.
It’s also the first time Obama has vetoed legislation sent to his desk by the new Republican majorities in both chambers.  (The Hill, 3/4/2015)

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

How Did L.A./Long Beach Shutdown Affect Air Quality?

Dozens of ships backed up off the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports in February, unable to unload cargo because of a protracted labor dispute. Work resumed at the ports after a few days, but the slowdown in shipping traffic raised concerns that emissions from waiting vessels would degrade Southern California air quality.

Ports and air pollution

The backup, largely a result of stalled negotiations between the dockworkers union and employers, boosted emissions from cargo ships. Normally, the vessels would be docked and plugged into shore power. Instead, more than 30 ships at a time were anchored off the ports, burning diesel fuel and releasing exhaust. But because the cargo wasn't getting off the ships, the onshore activity of cargo handling equipment, trucks and trains also slowed down and may have reduced pollution from land-based sources.  That could cancel out the increased emissions from ships offshore.

Have the waiting ships worsened pollution in harbor communities? No, according to port official. Air quality monitoring stations in the Port of Los Angeles and neighboring Wilmington and San Pedro have measured pollution levels similar to or lower than they were at the same time last year.

Emissions from the ships are still contributing to smog across the region. The impact could have been more evident if sea breezes that blow pollution inland replace Santa Ana winds, which  sweep pollution toward to the ocean.

How big a pollution source are the ports? The San Pedro Bay ports are the largest single source of air pollution in Southern California, generating about 10% of the region's smog-forming emissions, according to the South Coast air district. The seaports are major hubs of freight activity, attracting thousands of ships, trucks and locomotives that transport goods but also pollute the air. Container ships, with their enormous diesel engines, are the largest air pollution source at the complex.

Diesel emissions from the ports have the greatest health consequences for harbor-area neighborhoods like San Pedro, Wilmington and West Long Beach, where studies have shown that residents have higher rates of asthma and face the region's highest cancer risk from air pollution. The ports also contribute to dirty air across Southern California. Ships, trucks and trains that carry goods through the port, across the country and overseas spew pollutants that blow inland and drive up basin-wide levels of smog and soot.

Norris McDonald at L.A./Long Beach Port Area During Strike

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have slashed emissions since adopting their 2006 Clean Air Action Plan. The rules include a ban on old, dirty diesel trucks and requirements that docked vessels to turn off their engines and plug into the electrical grid. Near the shore, ocean vessels are also required to burn low-sulfur fuel that reduces the amount of pollution they release.  (L.A. Times, 2/17/2015)

Gulf of Mexico Oil Production Expected To Increase

graph of monthly oil production from the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, as explained in the article text

Because of the long timelines associated with Gulf of Mexico (GOM) projects, the recent downturn in oil prices is expected to have minimal direct impact on GOM crude oil production through 2016. EIA projects GOM production to reach 1.52 million barrels per day (bbl/d) in 2015 and 1.61 million bbl/d in 2016, or about 16% and 17% of total U.S. crude oil production in those two years, respectively.
The forecasted production growth is driven both by new projects and the redevelopment and expansion of older producing fields. Five deepwater projects began in the last three months of 2014: Stone Energy-operated Cardamom Deep and Cardona projects, Chevron-operated Jack/St. Malo fields, Murphy Oil-operated Dalmatian, and Hess-operated Tubular Bells. Also occurring at the end of 2014 was the redevelopment of Mars (Mars B) and Na Kika (Na Kika Phase 3), both of which are mature fields. Cardamom Deep, Jack/St. Malo, and Tubular Bells were slated for a late 2014 start-up, as well. Although industry press releases have indicated they have started producing, their production data have not yet been reported to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) under the U.S. Department of the Interior.
graph of daily U.S. deepwater Gulf of Mexico field start-ups, as explained in the article text

The relatively high number of fields that came online in 2014 and are scheduled for 2015 and 2016 production start-ups reflects the revival of interest and activity in the GOM following the moratorium on deepwater drilling after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon incident. While the moratorium officially lasted from April 30 to October 12, 2010, there were relatively few field start-ups in 2011 through 2013.
Thirteen fields are expected to start up in the next two years, eight in 2015 and five in 2016. Development of offshore fields requires both surface and subsea production equipment. The high cost of surface structures limits their application to large fields. Those fields with reserves not large enough to justify the necessary capital expenditure use subsea infrastructure to connect to nearby existing platforms. This approach, known as a subsea tieback, can reduce project costs and start-up times. More than half of the projects starting up in 2015 and 2016 will be subsea tiebacks to existing production platforms. These new projects, combined with continuing production from the developments brought online in late 2014, are forecast to add 265,000 bbl/d by the end of 2015. The production estimates for 2015 and 2016 (see first graph) include adjustments to account for seasonal shut-ins from hurricanes.

The current low oil price adds uncertainty to the timelines of deepwater GOM projects, with projects in early development stages exposed to the greatest risk of delay. In an effort to reduce this risk, producers are collaborating to develop projects more cost-effectively, to shorten the time to final investment decision and first production, and by sharing development costs. For instance, Chevron, BP, and ConocoPhillips recently announced a collaborative effort to explore and appraise 24 jointly held offshore leases in the northwest portion of the Gulf of Mexico's Keathley Canyon. (DOE-EIA)

FERC Authorizes Algonquin Pipeline Retrofits

(Issued March 3, 2015)


On February 28, 2014, Algonquin Gas Transmission, LLC (Algonquin) filed an application in Docket No. CP14-96-000 pursuant to section 7(c) of the Natural Gas Act (NGA) and Part 157 of the Commission’s regulations for authorization to construct and operate its Algonquin Incremental Market Project (AIM Project) in New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. Algonquin also requests NGA section 7(b) authorization to abandon a meter and regulating station in New London County, Connecticut, which will be replaced as part of the project, as well as to remove and replace certain aboveground facilities.

Algonquin states that the project will enable it to provide 342,000 dekatherms (Dth) per day of firm transportation service from its existing recipient points in Ramapo, New York, to various city gate delivery points in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.

For the reasons stated below, we (FERC) will grant the requested authorizations, subject to certain conditions.

I. Background and Proposals

Algonquin is a limited liability company organized and existing under Delaware law and an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of Spectra Energy Partners, LP. Algonquin is a natural gas company as defined in the NGA, engaged in the transportation of natural 1 15 U.S.C. § 717f(c) (2012). 2 18 C.F.R. Pt. 157 (2014).Docket No. CP14-96-000 - 2 - gas in interstate commerce subject to the Commission’s jurisdiction. Algonquin’s natural gas pipeline system extends from points near Lambertville and Hanover, New Jersey, through the states of New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts, to points near the Boston area. A.

Project Proposal

Algonquin proposes to construct, install, operate, and maintain approximately 37.4 miles of pipeline and related facilities in New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. Specifically, Algonquin proposes the following activities:

• replace approximately 20.1 miles, in three segments, of 26-inch-diameter pipeline with 42-inch-diameter pipeline in Putnam, Rockland, and Westchester Counties, New York, and Fairfield County, Connecticut;

• install approximately 2.0 miles of 36-inch-diameter pipeline looping in Middlesex and Hartford Counties, Connecticut (Line 36A Loop Extension);

• replace approximately 9.1 miles of 6-inch-diameter pipeline with 16-inchdiameter pipeline on the E-1 System Lateral in New London County, Connecticut (E-1 System Lateral Take-up and Relay);

• install approximately 1.3 miles of 12-inch-diameter pipeline looping in New London County, Connecticut (E-1 System Lateral Loop); and

• install approximately 4.1 miles of 16-inch-diameter pipeline and approximately 0.8 miles of 24-inch-diameter pipeline off its existing I-4 System Lateral in Norfolk and Suffolk Counties, Massachusetts (West Roxbury Lateral).  In addition, Algonquin proposes to add 81,620 horsepower (hp) of compression at six compressor stations in New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island with the following modifications:

• install two new 15,900 hp natural gas-fired compressor units, restage one existing compressor unit, install gas cooling for the new compressor units, and modify station piping at the Stony Point Compressor Station in Rockland County, New York;

• install one new 10,320 hp natural gas-fired compressor unit, restage one existing compressor unit, replace the compressor body of one existing compressor unit, install gas cooling for the new compressor unit, and modify station piping at the Southeast Compressor Station in Putnam County, New York;Docket No. CP14-96-000 - 3 -

• restage one existing compressor unit at the Oxford Compressor Station in New Haven County, Connecticut; • install one new 15,900 hp natural gas-fired compressor unit, install gas cooling for the new compressor unit and two existing turbine-driven compressor units, and modify station piping at the Cromwell Compressor Station in Middlesex County, Connecticut;

• install one new 7,700 hp natural gas-fired compressor unit, restage two existing compressor units, install gas cooling for the new compressor unit and two existing compressor units, and modify station piping at the Chaplin Compressor Station in Windham County, Connecticut; and

• install one new 15,900 hp natural gas-fired compressor unit, restage one existing compressor unit, install gas cooling for the new compressor unit, and modify station piping at the Burrillville Compressor Station in Providence County, Rhode Island.  (FERC)