Approved pipeline projects (or those that are at least in the approval process) could increase Utica (Ohio) natural gas production greatly. The combined projects could add up to 6.8 Bcfd (1.9 Bm3/d) takeaway capacity by the end of 2018.
New natural gas pipelines require FERC approval as well as Clean Water Act, Coastal Zone Management Act, Clean Air Act and other necessary state permits. Approval for pipelines is often a lengthier process than it is for production projects, and so transport capacity has not kept pace with production capabilities in the Appalacian Basin which includes the Utica and Marcellus shales. This has caused the region to have lower natural gas prices relative to other trading hubs in the U.S.
According to the EIA report:
Key projects that are undergoing FERC review and may enter service in the next few years include:
- The Rover pipeline, which recently received a final environmental impact statement from FERC, is designed to transport 3.25 Bcf/d of natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica Shale areas to various market hubs.
- The Leach Xpress project, which received a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) from FERC, seeks to add 1.5 Bcf/d of natural gas takeaway capacity along the Columbia Pipeline Group’s network.
- The Rayne Xpress project, which received a DEIS, will augment the Leach Xpress project. The Rayne Xpress Project seeks to add 0.6 Bcf/d in takeaway capacity from the Columbia Pipeline system to Gulf Coast markets, which will help facilitate liquefied natural gas exports, among other uses.
- The Nexus Gas Transmission project, which received a DEIS from FERC in July 2016, is designed to deliver 1.5 Bcf/d of natural gas supplies from the Utica region to markets in northern Ohio, southeastern Michigan, the Chicago Hub in Illinois, and the Dawn Hub in Ontario, Canada.