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Dominion denies pipeline expansion plans

Published by , Senior Editor
World Pipelines,

A Dominion spokeswoman says no decision has been made about expanding the about US$5 billion project beyond West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina.

But remarks from an energy company executive and interviews with others in the industry suggest that the developers of a disputed natural gas pipeline on the East Coast are considering a major expansion into South Carolina.

A Dominion Energy Executive told attendees of a clean-energy conference in South Carolina recently that “everybody knows” the project won’t end in North Carolina, as the plans currently describe. Instead, he said it will expand – and could do so in South Carolina, where it could bring in almost 1 billion ft3/d (28 million m3/d) of natural gas.

Opponents of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline are charging that pipeline developers are planning to extend the pipeline into South Carolina instead of ending the line in Pembroke.

Pipeline developers, however, say that is not true.

Dan Weekley, a Senior Executive of Dominion Energy, the lead developer and eventual operator of the proposed 600 mile natural gas pipeline that would run from West Virginia, through Virginia and North Carolina and end in Pembroke, was secretly recorded recently during a presentation to industry representatives saying that the pipeline would extend into South Carolina.

“Everyone knows it’s not going to end in Lumberton … We could deliver gas into South Carolina whichever way the pipeline turns – because it will turn … We’ll turn one way or the other,” Weekley said.

Dominion in a strong response to the allegations contends it has no specific plans to expand the pipeline.

“From the very beginning we have been clear and consistent that the infrastructure could be expanded in the future, while continuing to meet the needs already identified in Virginia and North Carolina,” according to a statement.

“Dan Weekley’s remarks were made in response to a comment from the panel moderator, noting that South Carolina also desperately needs more natural gas and natural gas infrastructure… Dan responded that the focus is on completing the project as proposed, but it could be expanded in the future. As Dan noted, the nature and timing of any future project would depend on market needs that have not yet been specified.

“Absolutely no decision has been made about a potential expansion beyond what has been filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission,” the statement continued. “And, any expansion would have to go through a full regulatory review process. If the ACP were expanded at some point in the future to reach new markets, that would have absolutely no impact on our public utility customers in Virginia and North Carolina. We have 20 year contracts with those utilities, and those contracts are binding.”

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