By Casey Junkins | April 14, 2015 | The Intelligencer/ The Wheeling News-Register
WHEELING, W.Va. — Williams Energy plans to service 7 million homes from New York City to Georgia with about 1.7 billion cubic feet of Marcellus Shale natural gas daily via its $2.1 billion Atlantic Sunrise pipeline project.
If the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission grants approval, the Atlantic Sunrise will join several other pipeline projects designed to ship the natural gas drawn from West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio to metropolitan markets.
“Atlantic Sunrise is a vital piece of North American energy infrastructure needed to transport low-cost, abundant supplies of natural gas from the Marcellus producing region in Pennsylvania to hungry markets along the Atlantic Seaboard,” Rory Miller, senior vice president of Williams Energy Atlantic-Gulf operating area, said. “Shippers have signed long-term commitments for the expansion’s entire capacity, which represents enough natural gas to serve approximately 7 million homes.”
In Marshall County, Tulsa, Okla.-based Williams operates the Fort Beeler processing plant along U.S. 250, the Oak Grove plant along Fork Ridge Road and the Moundsville fractionator along W.Va. 2. These plants work as a cohesive unit to strip natural gas liquids away from the dry methane so all products can go to market.
Recently, the federal Energy Information Administration showed natural gas companies working in the Marcellus formation are now producing about 14.6 billion cubic feet daily, compared to just 1.3 Bcf per day in 2010. These yields could continue increasing once new pipeline projects are placed into service, the agency believes.
Williams officials hope to place the Atlantic Sunrise into service before the end of 2017 to keep up with demand for infrastructure. The new project will be an expansion and extension of Williams’ Transco pipeline system, which runs some 10,200 miles from south Texas to New York City, providing natural gas to numerous metropolitan areas along the way.
A Penn State University report indicates the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline’s design and construction would support about 8,000 temporary jobs, as well as 29 full-time jobs once the operation is running.
“Penn State’s report clearly shows how vital this project and others like it are for Pennsylvania’s economy,” Pennsylvania Chamber of Business & Industry President Gene Barr said. “We need to take advantage of all of our natural resources, and the best way to do that is through more gas infrastructure. The Atlantic Sunrise expansion to the Transco pipeline is projected to support thousands of jobs during construction and thousands more in the drilling and supply chain industries.”
The Atlantic Sunrise joins the following transportation systems developing to move Marcellus and Utica shale natural gas to large markets: the $5 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline designed to ship gas to North Carolina; the Leach XPress that will send gas toward Huntington, W.Va.; the Mountain Valley Pipeline, which will ship gas southward from Wetzel County; and the Texas Eastern Transmission’s Gulf Markets Expansion project, operated by Spectra Energy, which will carry gas from the Upper Ohio Valley to Gulf Coast states.