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The Army Corp of Engineers’ announcement that it will issue the final permit to complete the Dakota Access Pipeline generated a lot of headlines, but it is just one of a handful of positive developments on the pipeline front in February, with three Marcellus and Utica shale projects being of particular note.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved two important pipelines last week — the Atlantic Sunrise and the Rover — that will deliver Marcellus and Utica gas to markets across the country. A third pipeline slated to carry Marcellus and Utica gas, Atlantic Coast, also moved a step closer to approval recently with FERC releasing its draft environmental assessment for the project in January.
As EID has discussed previously, there is a growing need for infrastructure to move gas developed in the Marcellus and Utica plays of Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio to consumers within those states and beyond. It’s a need that is both understood and supported by voters in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Virginia, as a recent National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) poll showed:
Despite the findings of the NAM poll, each of these projects have been met with opposition from a small but vocal minority, led by groups like the Sierra Club, that are eager to keep all natural gas in the ground by any means necessary, including making false claims.
The Rover is a new natural gas pipeline that will transport 3.25 Bcf of natural gas daily approximately 713 miles. It will have three points of origin — one in Southwestern Pennsylvania, one in Western West Virginia, and one in Southeastern Ohio — that will meet at an interconnect in Defiance, Ohio, and eventually end in Livingston County, Michigan. (Map 1 Illustrates)
Once complete, Rover will deliver Marcellus and Utica gas not only to consumers in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and Michigan, but also other markets across the U.S. and Canada.
This pipeline could have tremendous economic benefits for these four states, with total investments of approximately $4.2 billion:
The Rover is scheduled to be built this year, according to Detroit News:
“Energy Transfer spokeswoman Vicki Granado said the company is on schedule to complete its pipeline this year.
’Currently, we have said that we anticipate we will meet the targeted in-service goals of July 2017 for Phase I and November 2017 for Phase II,’ she wrote in an email.”
The approval and progress made by FERC toward these pipelines is monumental and is a step in the right direction to get Marcellus and Utica gas into markets across the country and the world.
But at the same time, several pipelines that have faced opposition from a vocal minority are still awaiting FERC approval, with the Penn East Pipeline being a prime example. Additionally, pipelines like the Constitution and Atlantic Sunrise are being held up at the state level, despite having all the necessary federal permits to begin construction and the growing need for more natural gas.
Although February has been a month of considerable pipeline progress, challenges remain in developing the infrastructure needed to deliver the American people shale gas, resulting in energy costs falling to all-time lows.