NiSource's Columbia Gas Transmission (Columbia) today received approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for a customer settlement that facilitates Columbia's comprehensive pipeline infrastructure investment plan.
The settlement, filed on September 4, 2012 and widely supported by Columbia's customers, covers the initial five years of Columbia's investment plan and contains provisions for potential extension thereafter. Among other components, key elements of the settlement identify individual infrastructure projects and establish a mechanism for recovery of Columbia's revenue requirement for infrastructure investment under the plan.
"FERC's approval of our customer settlement is a milestone in our efforts to modernize Columbia's interstate pipeline system in a balanced, thoughtful and transparent manner," said Jimmy Staton, Columbia's chief executive officer. "We acknowledge FERC for their timely review and approval, and appreciate the collaboration from our customers. We look forward to getting the job done. The work we do will help ensure safer, more reliable pipeline infrastructure for our customers and the communities across our footprint."
Under the settlement, Columbia will invest approximately $300 million per year, in addition to a $100 million investment in ongoing maintenance, over the 2013 through 2017 period on system improvements, which include:
• Replacing Aging Infrastructure – commencing the replacement of approximately 1,000 miles of existing interstate transmission pipelines, primarily bare steel (400 miles in the first five years);
• Upgrading Natural Gas Compression Systems – replacing and modernizing more than 50 critical compressor units along the pipeline system that will enhance system efficiency and improve environmental performance;
• Increasing Pipeline System Reliability – uprating pressures and looping systems where needed to ensure gas is reliably delivered to critical markets; and
• Expanding In-Line Inspection Capabilities – facilitating Columbia's ability to perform state-of-the-art maintenance and inspections without interrupting services
Infrastructure investment work will take place across Columbia's footprint, including Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. More than 7,000 direct jobs are expected to be created as a result of the infrastructure investment program. That work will cover a broad range of activities, including facility engineering and design, permitting, project management and a variety of construction trades.
Working with FERC and other federal, state and local agencies, Columbia will continue to engage key stakeholders, landowners and customers throughout the planning and construction process. More information about the company's investment projects can be found on www.ngts.com.
Columbia projects that its entire infrastructure investment plan could involve an investment of approximately $4 billion over an extended (10-15 year) period.