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Company Files Federal Application to Convert Pipeline to Carry Natural Gas Liquids

The company that is considering repurposing a natural gas pipeline across Kentucky to carry a different product has filed a federal application for the conversion.

Kinder Morgan is proposing converting part of the Tennessee Gas Pipeline to carry natural gas liquids, or NGLs. NGLs are the byproducts of natural gas drilling; they include hydrocarbons like propane, butane and ethane, and can be used in manufacturing processes.

The project will be called theUtica Marcellus Texas Pipeline. In the application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Kinder Morgan makes its case for taking the pipeline out of natural gas service, switching its flow, and converting it to carry NGLs instead.

“The lack of sufficient NGL pipeline capacity in the Northeast and Midwest traps NGLs in the Northeast and Midwest and prevents NGLs from reaching the markets with high demand for NGLs, many of which are located in the Gulf Coast region,” the company said in the application. “Once the conversion activities are complete, the UMTP Project will help meet the demand for NGL takeaway capacity from the Utica and Marcellus production regions.”

It could be a year or more before the commission approves or rejects the project.

As WFPL reported in January, the project has concerned many communities along the path of the pipeline. The main regulatory hurdle for Kinder Morgan is the application with FERC. The commission is mostly focused on whether abandoning the natural gas pipeline is in the interest of ratepayers, and not whether carrying NGLs is in their best interest.

A separate federal agency—the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration —has already warned against converting and reversing the flow in certain types of pipelines.

So far; the following companies have filed to intervene in the case, which means they have an interest in the outcome and will be granted legal standing:

•    Calpine Energy Services; L.P.
•    Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. and Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc.
•    Piedmont Natural Gas Company; Inc.
•    The Tennessee Customers Group (includes Resources Corp.; City of Clarksville Gas and Water Department; City of Corinth Public Utilities Commission; Delta Natural Gas Company Inc.; Greater Dickson Gas Authority; Hardeman Fayette Utility District; Henderson Utility Department; Holly Springs Utility Department; Humphreys County Utility District; Town of Linden; Morehead Utility Plant Board; Portland Natural Gas System; Savannah Utilities; Springfield Gas System; City of Waynesboro; West Tennessee Public Utility District; Athens Utilities; City of Florence, Alabama; Hartselle Utilities; City of Huntsville, Alabama; Municipal Gas Authority of Mississippi; North Alabama Gas District; Tuscumbia Utilities and Sheffield Utilities.
•    New York State Electric & Gas Corporation
•    Tennessee Valley Authority
•    Repsol Energy North America Corporation
•    UGI Distribution Companies
•    Tenaska Marketing Ventures

You can find all the filings in Kinder Morgan's FERC application here; search for docket number CP15-88.

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