Spectra Energy Corporation and Northeast Utilities Propose $3 Billion “Access Northeast” Pipeline Expansion Project

As reported on Bloomberg.com, Spectra Energy Corporation, a Houston-based pipeline operator, and Northeast Utilities, a Connecticut-based utility provider, have partnered in proposing a $3 billion pipeline expansion that will increase natural gas supply to the six New England states.  The project, known as “Access Northeast,” will provide fuel for power plants and home heating in an attempt to combat soaring energy prices in the New England region.  According to the report, power prices in New England reached a 6-year high last spring due to extreme cold temperatures and a shortfall in pipeline capacity, which restricted gas supply.  The proposed Access Northeast project plans to boost the capacity of Spectra’s existing Algonquin and Maritimes pipelines, by as much as 1 billion cubic feet per day and create additional delivery points for local distribution.  The project is expected to be in service by November 2018.

According to the report, Access Northeast is not the only pipeline project aimed at connecting the booming Marcellus Shale gas formation with other states: (i) Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP’s proposed “Northeast Energy Direct” project will also supply natural gas to New England, (ii) Duke Energy Corp., Dominion Resources, Inc., Piedmont Natural Gas Co. and AGL Resources Inc. have partnered to construct a $5 billion pipeline from West Virginia to North Carolina, (iii) NextEra Energy Inc. and EQT have paired up to build a 330-mile pipeline from West Virginia to the southeastern states, and (iv) Spectra is also seeking to expand its Texas Eastern pipeline system in Ohio pursuant to an agreement with American Electric Power Co. and Chesapeake Energy Corp.