Proposed 550-mile Pipeline to take Marcellus, Utica Gas to the Southeast

Stephanie Ritenbaugh

Richmond, Va.-based energy company Dominion has submitted a request asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to begin its environmental review of a proposed $4.5 billion to $5 billion, 550-mile natural gas pipeline.

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline would bring 1.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica shale plays to North Carolina and Virginia. 

Four major U.S. energy companies – Dominion, Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas and AGL Resources – plan to build and own the pipeline, which would run from Harrison County, W.Va., southeast through Virginia with an extension to Chesapeake, Va., and then south through eastern North Carolina to Robeson County.

The pipeline would help meet the growing demand in Virginia and North Carolina by providing access to natural gas production from the Marcellus and Utica shale basins of West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio, according to Dominion.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration's 2014 Annual Energy Outlook reported that overall, demand for natural gas grew by 50 percent and 37 percent in North Carolina and Virginia, respectively, between 2008 and 2012.

“This is the formal beginning of a comprehensive and detailed review process by the FERC and other agencies that will examine this project from every angle,” said Diane Leopold, president of the company's Dominion Energy business unit.

The FERC review process solicits input from local, state and federal entities as well as private citizens. It includes an environmental and public safety review. The project will need the approvals of 40 federal, state and local regulatory agencies before construction can begin.

Dominion said it expects to file its FERC application next summer, receive the FERC certificate of public convenience and necessity in 2016 and begin construction shortly thereafter. The pipeline is expected to be in service by late 2018.