While the courts have shut down one major pipeline, government agencies have ruled against others and one major project has been canceled, Tulsa’s Williams Cos. scored approval this week for a major natural gas pipeline in the East. It’s one touted as helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The company won Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approval to move forward with the Leidy South Project, one that will create 582,400 dekatherms daily of additional pipeline capacity to provide enough natural gas to serve the equivalent of more than 2.5 million homes in Pennsylvania. Williams describes it as a project that will “further enable power plants to convert from coal to cleaner-burning natural gas.”
The project will connect supplies of natural gas produced by Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. and Seneca Resources Company, LLC in the Marcellus and Utica regions of Pennsylvania with demand markets along the Atlantic Seaboard by the 2021-2022 winter heating season. UGI Utilities Inc. is a local distribution company that will be using its capacity to directly serve its customers in northeast Pennsylvania.
“As the United States switches to clean power to energize our electric grids, Williams is excited and proud to be the backbone that connects the best supplies of dry gas with our country’s largest demand centers,” said Alan Armstrong, president and chief executive officer of Williams. “This project represents one of many opportunities to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions with right here, right now available solutions as coal-fired electric generation plants are replaced with natural gas units to reliably balance the intermittency of new renewable resources. In fact, there remain more than 80 coal plants in the states Transco serves that can potentially be displaced by clean, efficient and affordable natural gas.”
By maximizing the use of the existing Transco transmission corridor and expanding existing facilities in Pennsylvania, the Leidy South Project will substantially reduce the amount of new infrastructure and land use required to meet these needs – minimizing community and environmental impact and allowing residential, commercial and power generation customers to efficiently access natural gas supplies on the Transco system.
In addition, the construction of the project’s two greenfield compressor facilities is estimated to generate $100 million in economic activity within Pennsylvania, supporting 680 jobs with estimated payroll of $28 million, and produce $1.3 million in state tax revenue, according to third-party researchers.
With the growing urgency to transition to a low-carbon fuel future, Williams and its natural gas-focused strategy provide a practical and immediate path to reduce industry emissions, support the viability of renewables and grow a clean energy economy.
Williams is promoting the project as boosting natural gas to help significantly reduce U.S. emissions, saying it plays a “critical role in bringing this clean and affordable resource to electric generation, industry and homes, resulting in cleaner air.”
Transco is the nation’s largest-volume interstate natural gas pipeline system. It delivers natural gas to customers through its approximately 10,000-mile pipeline network whose mainline extends nearly 1,800 miles between South Texas and New York City.
The system is a major provider of cost-effective natural gas services that reach U.S. markets in 12 Southeast and Atlantic Seaboard states, including major metropolitan areas in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.