Dominion Transmission, the natural gas transportation subsidiary of Dominion Resources (NYSE:D), has placed its Appalachian Gateway Project into service on time and within budget. Read the news release.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on June 16, 2011, approved Dominion Transmission’s Appalachian Gateway Project. Read the order issuing the certificate. Dominion Transmission’s next steps include acceptance of the FERC certificate and submission of a request for FERC authorization to commence construction. Upon receiving that approval, construction will start as soon as possible.
The FERC issued an Environmental Assessment for the project earlier. Dominion started the FERC pre-filing process in October 2009 and the certificate application for project approval was filed on June 1, 2010.
The project docket number is CP10-448-000. The filing may be viewed on the Web at http://www.ferc.gov using the "eLibrary" link. Enter the docket number, excluding the last three digits in the docket number field, to access the document. For assistance, please contact FERC Online Support at FERCOnlineSupport@ferc.gov or toll free at (866) 208-3676, or TTY, contact (202) 502-8659.
Copies of the filing are available at libraries in areas that would be affected by the project.
Conventional production of natural gas is increasing in the Appalachian region of West Virginia and Pennsylvania. The region is also experiencing a strong emergence of non-conventional production from coal bed methane and Marcellus shale gas. This production growth and new supplies from other regions, like the Rockies, are competing for gas pipeline capacity within the Appalachian region.
Dominion Transmission, Dominion Resources' natural gas transmission and storage subsidiary, developed the Appalachian Gateway Project to provide firm transportation services for these new Appalachian gas supplies from the supply areas to the market. Dominion's existing natural gas pipeline system is uniquely positioned in the Appalachian region, as its pipelines traverse the areas of significant supply growth.
The Gateway Project is designed to help meet the demand for natural gas in the Mid-Atlantic and northeastern United States. These new supplies are ultimately delivered to homes, businesses, industries and power plants throughout the regions.
Dominion has installed new natural gas pipeline facilities in West Virginia and Pennsylvania in an effort to deliver Appalachian natural gas production to markets in the eastern U.S.
The facilities include about 110 miles of 20-, 24- and 30-inch diameter pipeline between West Virginia and Pennsylvania, as well as four new gas compressor stations, adding about 17,800 horsepower.
Dominion delivers this natural gas to an interconnect with Texas Eastern Transmission at Oakford in Delmont, Pa. Total firm transportation delivery for the Appalachian Gateway Project is 484,260 dekatherms of natural gas per day.
New compressor stations in West Virginia:
Dominion is committed to working with landowners and other stakeholders to understand and address interests and concerns about the project. The company's goal is to develop a project that provides benefits to natural gas customers and the community. We will work with all governing bodies and the local community to ensure they are aware of our project and updated as it progresses. Our policy is to work with the agencies responsible to ensure that our facilities are developed and operated to meet or exceed all safety, environmental, regulatory and legal requirements.
Land agents representing Dominion have contacted all property owners along the preferred pipeline route, as well as alternate routes.
The land agents have attempted to gather important property information from the owners and worked with landowners to obtain permission for Dominion to enter the property to conduct the necessary surveys and studies required for the new pipeline projects, compressor stations or associated facilities. Learn about the survey process.
Every representative of Dominion will carry picture identification, including a toll-free number by which you can verify that person's authority.
Dominion takes pride in our long-standing commitment of working with landowners and seeking input from them. Throughout the process and following completion, we will remain dedicated to working with communities regarding their needs and interests. We are confident that landowners and other stakeholders will see this commitment reflected in every contact with company and contract personnel.
Landowners affected by a proposed natural gas pipeline regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission have certain rights and Dominion works whenever possible to facilitate this process. These rights range from being able to look at project correspondence to becoming an intervenor and being able to appeal any FERC decisions in federal court.
These rights include:
To learn more, see "Citizens' Guides" on FERC's web site at www.ferc.gov or call 1-866-208-3372.
Dominion pipelines will play an increasingly critical role in meeting the energy needs of the United States' economy in coming years. Natural gas is the energy of choice for many Americans, and demand is expected to grow by at least 20 percent over the next decade. The Appalachian Gateway Project will help provide greater reliability as it augments current energy supply sources.
The process for the project generally follows the schedule outlined below:
|Public Open House Meetings||Fall 2009|
|Individually Contact Affected Landowners||Ongoing|
|Engineering Surveys and Studies||Through Spring 2010|
|Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Application||June 2010|
|Easement Acquisition||Begin Early 2010|
|Construct Pipeline Facilities||Summer 2011|
|Ready for Service||September 2012|
At steel rolling mills where the pipe is fabricated, pipeline representatives carefully inspect new pipe to assure that it meets industry and federal government safety standards. For corrosion control, the outside surface is treated with a protective coating.
The pipeline will require an easement for construction, as well as for maintenance after construction. The construction area is cleared and graded, and a trench is dug for the pipeline. Stringing of the lengths of pipe occurs along the trench. Pipe is bent as needed to follow the natural contour of the land. Pipe welding is a crucial task and is performed only by welders who have met specific industry standards and who have proven their qualifications through programs and hands-on testing. Each weld is examined visually and is tested with X-ray or ultrasonic equipment to assure its integrity.
All pipe that is not covered by a factory coating receives a protective coating at the construction site. All coatings are inspected before the pipe is buried. Once in the ground and before being placed in service, the pipeline is filled with water or inert gas and tested to assure its ability to withstand the approved pressure.
Safety is Dominion's top priority. We incorporate this core value into the design of all of our facilities and strive to exceed all safety regulations in the operation of our facilities. Dominion complies with safety regulations established by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Occupational Safety and Health Administration and FERC to ensure protection for the public and our employees.
A core component of our safety program is our Integrity Management Program under which we implement enhanced safety measures on portions of our system located closest to populated areas, as required by the DOT. Four components anchor our safety program:
Safeguarding efforts continue when the pipe is installed. Markers alert the public to the presence of a pipeline, identify pipeline rights-of-way and provide an emergency phone number.
The safety of our pipeline system always has received high priority, and we at Dominion are proud of an excellent safety record as a result. Of course, Dominion's goal is to either comply with or to exceed all the appropriate safety regulations and standards for the industry. Take a closer look at gas pipeline safety.
The two main hazards for a pipeline are puncture and corrosion. Dominion uses pipelines made of only high-strength materials that meet or exceed the standards of the natural gas industry and federal regulations. Our pipelines are made resistant to corrosion by cathodic protection. A small electrical current is relayed through the soil around the buried pipe to minimize corrosion of the pipe.
Even though pipelines operate underground and out of sight, they can be inspected from internally using modern technology. Dominion uses "smart pigging" to measure and analyze conditions along the pipeline's inner and outer walls. The "pig" device travels through the pipelines and electronically reads and records the slightest change in pipe wall thickness. These changes can pinpoint potential problems.
Throughout the pipeline system, the pressure of the gas in the pipes is monitored to make sure it remains well within the limits established by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Sophisticated computer and telecommunications equipment can detect fluctuations and control flows. Dominion's gas control centers operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so we are aware immediately if the pressure within a pipeline falls. In the event of such a pressure drop in one area, the control center acts to stop the gas flow to the problem area by selectively isolating sections of the pipeline. Inspections can then determine the cause of the problem and guide repairs.
This constant monitoring and rapid response to change ensures that the system operates safely and enhances the reliability of our service to customers.
Additionally, Dominion belongs to One-Call Systems that allow anyone planning to dig, excavate, blast or otherwise disturb the ground in the vicinity of the pipeline to make one telephone call to verify the location of a pipeline. In Pennsylvania, call 1-800-242-1776 and in West Virginia, call 1-800-245-4848. Or, call the national number 811. We have found the One-Call System to be a very effective method of protecting the pipelines.
Dominion also communicates at least annually with persons living along our pipeline rights-of-way as well as with law enforcement, fire and government officials in the areas in which we operate facilities.
In addition, we patrol our pipelines in order to detect any activity that may be taking place along the pipeline. If we spot any un-reported construction activity, we contact the contractor immediately to assure the safety of the pipeline and surrounding area.
Dominion maintains our rights-of-way by manually or mechanically mowing the grass and trimming the trees.
To address security or terrorism threats, the federal government provided pipeline security contingency planning guidance and requested all pipeline operators to submit a written statement concerning security preparedness. In 2002, the U.S. Department of Transportation, in coordination with the U.S. Department of Energy and agencies that became the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, published a pipeline security information circular. The circular defined critical pipeline facilities, identified appropriate measures for protecting critical facilities (based on the national threat advisory system) and defined a process by which the federal government would verify that operators had taken appropriate action and implemented satisfactory security procedures and plans. Dominion prepared a written statement confirming that the company has:
By developing a pipeline security plan, Dominion improved the security of pipeline systems and developed the knowledge and processes for making security-related decisions. Dominion will continue to:
Natural gas is a clean-burning fuel, preferred for use in homes, factories and commercial buildings. It has become a fuel of choice for electric power generation because it burns cleanly and efficiently.
Dominion works with federal, state and local agencies to design the pipeline route to assure that the impact on the natural and human environment is minimized.
Among the federal programs or regulations that will be reviewed for any project impact and any related compliance are: Endangered Species Act of 1973, National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, Clean Water Act (including the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System program), Clean Air Act, Archaeological and Historic Act of 1974, Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, National Wilderness Act, National Parks and Recreation Act of 1978, and Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.
The project also will be reviewed for potential impacts under state and local regulatory programs for environmental issues related to streams, wetlands, threatened and endangered species, air, etc., including programs that implement the federal programs listed above.
Although the pipeline will be visible during construction, it will be underground when completed and the area surrounding it will be restored. The pipe will be buried deeply enough (with at least three feet of cover) and the land will be appropriately restored for agricultural land to again be used for that purpose. As with all of our pipeline projects, Dominion will work with the appropriate regulatory agencies and landowners throughout the construction process.
Dominion filed an application for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for its Appalachian Gateway Project on June 1, 2010. As part of FERC's regulations, Dominion is required to provide some helpful information to each landowner who may be affected by the construction of natural gas facilities. Dominion will give each affected landowner an individual packet of information that describes:
The project name and docket number are important to know if you want to contact either Dominion or FERC with questions or access information concerning this project. The name of this project is the Appalachian Gateway Project. The FERC docket number is CP10-448-000.
Dominion's interstate pipeline company, Dominion Transmission, plans to build facilities in 10 counties in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Facilities will include about 110 miles of pipeline, including segments in Marshall and Kanawha counties in West Virginia and Greene, Washington and Westmoreland counties in Pennsylvania.
In addition, in West Virginia, plans include four new compressor stations - Chelyan Station in Kanawha County, Burch Ridge Station in Marshall County, Morrison Junction Station in Harrison County and Lewis-Wetzel Station in Wetzel County - and upgrades or modifications at two existing compressor stations - Schutte Station in Doddridge County and Pepper Station in Barbour County.
Dominion is one of the nation's largest producers and transporters of energy. Click here to learn more about Dominion.
Dominion's representatives will contact affected landowners to discuss this project and its timing, and to secure the rights to conduct the surveys and environmental studies necessary for Dominion's application to FERC. Dominion also will negotiate for the acquisition of the easements for the pipeline right-of-way, access roads, gate settings, measuring and regulating stations, as well as purchase the property for compressor station sites.
A complete copy of Dominion's certificate application will be available to be viewed in each county that the Appalachian Gateway Project facilities are located.
Additionally, FERC has developed a pamphlet explaining the certificate process that can be viewed online. This pamphlet, "An Interstate Natural Gas Facility on My Land - What Do I Need To Know," addresses the basic concerns of landowners.
Dominion typically strives to secure all the property rights needed for the project's rights-of-way through binding, mutual agreements with landowners. Generally, Dominion seeks a type of agreement called an easement agreement or a right-of-way agreement.
The landowner still owns the property when Dominion secures an easement agreement that affects that property, but the landowner cannot undertake any activity within the easement that would conflict with Dominion's ability to utilize its easement rights. Activities that do not impact Dominion are allowed. Dominion is able to provide you with guidelines for activities in the vicinity of gas transmission pipelines. The easement agreement is a written, legal document and, like a deed or a lease, it is typically recorded at the county courthouse.
When Dominion builds a permanent structure such as a compressor station, it prefers to purchase the land for the facility and obtain a deed for the property so that Dominion has full and complete ownership.
On rare occasions, Dominion may be unable to reach an agreement with the affected landowner. In those cases and when FERC has determined that there is a public need for the pipeline, FERC will grant the pipeline company access to the land under the federal Natural Gas Act, which allows Dominion to secure the property by eminent domain (the right of the government to take private land for public use). State or federal courts then supervise the fair compensation and treatment of the landowner.
Both the United States Constitution and state constitutions require the payment of just compensation to property owners who must relinquish some of their property for a public use, such as natural gas pipelines, electric and water service, highways, railroads, airports or other similar facilities. The landowner will be paid for any property rights that are acquired through eminent domain.
Your attorney can advise you about easements and other property interests, can assist you in negotiations, and can represent you if eminent domain becomes necessary. Please be assured that Dominion will make every reasonable effort to reach an agreement with each affected landowner and to avoid the use of eminent domain for this project.
To get information, e-mail Appalachian.Gateway.Project@dom.com, or call: