April 2020, Vol. 247, No. 4


Pipeline Upgrades to Increase Natural Gas Flows into New England

P&GJ Staff Report 

Several natural gas pipeline upgrades are either planned or under construction in New England, which will increase deliverability into the region over the next several years, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). 

According to EIA’s tracking of natural gas pipeline projects, four pipelines are expected to increase compression in their system by 2023, adding more than 350 MMcf/d (9.91 MMcm) of natural gas pipeline capacity into the region.

As of the end of 2019, EIA estimates pipeline capacity into New England from both Canada and New York was 5.2 BMcf/d (147.2 MMcm). During days of peak demand in the winter, most of this capacity is fully utilized, which can lead to spikes in spot natural gas and, in turn, electricity prices. These projects aim to ease the pipeline constraints into New England.

The largest of these pipeline upgrade projects, which submitted its application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on February 4, is Iroquois pipeline’s Iroquois Enhancement by Compression Project. By increasing the horsepower at three compression stations in New York and Connecticut, Iroquois pipeline will increase its capacity by 125 MMcf/d (3.540 MMcm).

The border crossing at Waddington in upstate New York, which connects to the TransCanada Mainline, is already designed to supply these additional volumes.

If approved, the project is expected to start construction in spring 2023 and be placed in service by November of that year.

On the Portland Natural Gas Transmission System, two projects will increase the volumes of Canadian natural gas imports received from the TransQuébec and Martimes pipelines in Pittsburg, New Hampshire: Portland Xpress Project Phase III, adding 24 MMcf/d (680 Mcm) capacity in 2020, and the Westbrook Xpress Project Phase II, adding 63 MMcf/d (1.784 MMcm) after its expected completion in 2021.

The previous phases of both projects have already entered service, and both projects only require modifications or upgrades at existing compressor stations.

In addition, two other projects will increase natural gas deliverability to New England from New York:

Algonquin’s Atlantic Bridge Phase II project will add 92.7 MMcf/d (2.625 MMcm) of additional capacity further into New England when the Weymouth compressor station is completed in Massachusetts. The project, which has faced numerous delays, is expected to enter service either later in 2020 or in 2021.

Tennessee Gas Pipeline’s Station 261 Upgrade Projects will provide an additional 72 MMcf/d (2.039 MMcm) of capacity. This project is expected to enter service in 2020 and involves upgrading compressor station 261 and 2.1 miles (3.4 km) of looping adjacent to the site.

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