FERC still reviewing pipeline

Photo by Casey Junkins Slightly higher natural gas prices are leading some producers to resume drilling and fracking in Belmont County, but industry officials are still waiting for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to approve six major interstate pipeline projects.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE –If federal regulators ultimately approve the Nexus Pipeline, the project will carry enough Marcellus and Utica shale natural gas each day to send a spacecraft on 838 round trips to the moon.

As officials with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission continue evaluating this pipeline — along with five additional major interstate pipelines that would also ship natural gas from the region — the company responsible for the Nexus Pipeline is joining another company that will be valued at an estimated $127 billion once the deal is complete. Spectra Energy, developers of the Nexus, will merge with Enbridge Inc. to form the giant pipeline company that will operate under the Enbridge badge.

“The combination of Enbridge and Spectra Energy creates what we believe will be the best, most diversified energy infrastructure company in North America, if not the world,” Spectra President and CEO Greg Ebel said of the merger. “Together, the merged company will have what we believe is the finest platform for serving customers in every region of North America and providing investors with the opportunity for superior shareholder returns.”

“We look forward to welcoming Spectra Energy employees to Enbridge as we move forward as one company. In building on our existing strengths by joining with Spectra Energy, Enbridge will be very well positioned for future growth and continued value creation,” Enbridge President and CEO Al Monaco said.

At a projected cost ranging from $1.5 billion to $2 billion, the Nexus Pipeline would send Marcellus and Utica natural gas northwest from Harrison County to the Detroit area. Spectra officials believe the project will generate 6,800 construction jobs, as well as an $830 million economic impact for Ohio.

However, the FERC continues reviewing this pipeline, including comments from some who hope regulators halt the project.

“The industry claims that natural gas is clean, but in fact the front-end process of obtaining it is no better and possibly worse than the practice of burning coal for energy,” a comment filed by Climax, Mich., resident and Nexus Pipeline opponent Gary Schoen states.

As natural gas prices slowly recover to make drilling more economically feasible for producers, they are still waiting on several pipeline projects to receive FERC approval. In addition to the Nexus, these include the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which would run from Tyler County to North Carolina; the Rover Pipeline, which would ship gas from West Virginia and Ohio to Michigan; the Leach XPress, which would run from the MarkWest Energy station in Marshall County all the way across Ohio; the Mountain Valley Pipeline, which would travel from the MarkWest Energy site in Wetzel County to a compressor station in Virginia; and the Mountaineer XPress, which would send gas from West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania south to a Columbia Pipeline Group station in Leach, Ky.

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