There wasn’t a big media splash like you see for many economic development announcements, but news that Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. received federal approval for $100 million in local expansions is a big economic development win for West Virginia.
Last week, the Houston-based company received approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to build two compressor stations in Kanawha County as part of its Broad Run Expansion Project
The Kinder Morgan subsidiary says the project will improve gas transportation through an existing pipeline in West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee by enhancing two existing compressor stations and building four new compressor stations, the Gazette-Mail’s Andrew Brown reported Sunday.
Construction of the new compressor stations in West Virginia is expected to start by December. Once the work is completed, expected by May 2018, the upgraded pipeline system will be able to handle an additional 200 million cubic feet of gas per day, according to FERC’s order.
The project has another West Virginia connection as Antero Resources, one of West Virginia’s largest gas companies, will use all of that additional capacity once the new compressor stations are in place.
Overall, pipeline companies Dominion, EQT Midstream, Energy Transfer and Columbia Pipeline Group have filed for at least seven large-diameter pipeline projects, proposing investments of more than $16.4 billion, Brown wrote.
“Taken together, these projects represent a $5.7 billion investment in construction related spending, 18,000 construction jobs and more than $60 million in property tax revenue to local governments,” according to a Daily Mail Opinion page column authored by then-West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Executive Director Corky DeMarco in April. Well known around the state as perhaps its biggest natural gas booster, DeMarco died suddenly in July.
“And with increased access, manufacturers that use large amounts of natural gas are more likely to build in or near the Mountain State, thereby diversifying the state’s economy far beyond just the extraction of minerals,” DeMarco wrote.
While pipeline expansion projects don’t get the splashy headlines like a Toyota plant expansion or a Procter & Gamble investment does, like those high-profile projects, the long-term impact will be a big economic boost for West Virginia.