Gas, New Projects

Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline begins moving gas Saturday

The Atlantic Sunrise natural gas pipeline will go into full service Saturday, its owner reported.

Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Williams has gotten Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approval to begin moving natural gas through the pipeline and delivering it to markets on the Eastern Seaboard, according to reports. The 200-mile Atlantic Sunrise runs beneath the ground through Pennsylvania and Maryland and connects into the Williams-owned Transco interstate pipeline extending from the Gulf Coast to the eastern U.S.

“This project makes the largest-volume pipeline system in the country even larger, further executing on our strategy to connect premier natural gas supply areas with the best markets in the country,” said Alan Armstrong, Williams president and CEO. “The project is significant for Pennsylvania and natural gas-consuming markets all along the East Coast, alleviating infrastructure bottlenecks and providing millions of consumers direct access to one of the most abundant, cost-effective natural gas supply sources in the country.”

Preliminary construction began in Pennsylvania in September 2017. Once fully operational, the Atlantic Sunrise expansion could add 1.7 million dekatherms of pipeline capacity to the Transco system and can provide enough energy for more than seven million homes, according to the pipeline website.

Natural gas provides fuel for more than one-third of U.S. electric power generation and heats more half of the nation’s homes, according to federal and company reports. System operator ISO New England earlier this year cited a lack of gas infrastructure in its region as sign of its fuel insecurity fears.

The Atlantic Sunrise runs through the prolific Marcellus Shale natural gas play, which produces close to 20 billion cubic feet per day, almost one-fifth of the nation’s natural gas output. The impact fees generation for Pennsylvania alone exceed $200 million annually, according to reports.

 “Projects like Atlantic Sunrise are allowing Pennsylvania to maximize the tremendous economic and energy benefits of the Marcellus Shale, spurring renewed investment into the manufacturing sector and creating opportunity for Pennsylvanians across the state,” Gene Barr, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, said. This multi-billion dollar private infrastructure investment is supporting current and future natural gas production and investment in Pennsylvania, which will ultimately boost employment and tax revenues for the state. Atlantic Sunrise has been a tremendous economic boom that will no doubt yield benefits, both economic and environmental, for the commonwealth for decades to come.”

Natural gas burned in power plants emits about half of the carbon pollution that coal does, plus significantly lower amounts of nitrogen oxide and other air pollutants. Critics, however, have alleged dangerous impacts to the water supply and even earthquakes when drilling wastewater is pumped back into the ground.

(Rod Walton can be reached at 918-831-9177 and [email protected]).