- Maryland regulators issued a water and wetlands permit for a short pipeline extension proposed by TransCanada's Columbia Gas Pipeline aimed at supporting economic growth and residential customers in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia.
- The 3.5-mile pipeline will move 47,500 Dth/d from an interconnection in Pennsylvania to Mountaineer Gas' system in Morgan County, West Virginia.
- TransCanada acquired Columbia Pipeline Group two years ago in a bid to expand its transmission network. In December, federal regulators issued certificates for two projects, valued at a combined $3.2 billion, to bring Marcellus and Utica shale gas to market.
While larger pipelines are needed to move gas long distances, from well to market, it is often smaller lines running the last few miles that delivers the product.
According to TransCanada Corp., the Eastern Panhandle Expansion Project aims to support economic growth in the Eastern Panhandle region of West Virginia, providing a new supply of natural gas to Mountaineer Gas. The pipeline will run from a pipeline interconnect in Fulton County, Pa., south to the meter station in Morgan County, and required a state wetlands and waterways permit.
To protect both private wells and public drinking water systems, Maryland included a requirement that all work be done in a manner that does not damage or degrade any wells during construction. Columbia Gas will be required to do pre- and post-construction monitoring of wells.
The state also approved a horizontal directional drilling plan, which TransCanada claims will minimize environmental impacts of construction. Maryland also required visual monitoring of the Potomac River and prohibited blasting without prior approval.
The project is still waiting for approvals from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and Pennsylvania regulators for the section of the project connecting West Virginia to Pennsylvania.
TransCanada has a number of pipeline projects in the works. In December, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued certificates for the Mountaineer XPress (MXP) and Gulf XPress (GXP) projects. And in January, TransCanada's Leach XPress project came online; the 160-mile project will move about 1.5 billion cubic feet/day to Southeast and Gulf Coast supply markets.