Questions and Answers concerning the proposed Northeast Supply Diversification Project:
Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company’s Northeast Supply Diversification Project may generate a number of questions about plans for the proposed project and how these plans could potentially affect the environment and property crossed by our pipeline right of way.
Questions Addressed Here Include:
Protecting Significant Cultural Sites and Environmentally Sensitive
and More Information:
Pipelines and This Project:
Who is Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company?
Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company (Tennessee), a subsidiary of El Paso Corporation, is headquartered in Houston, Texas, and owns and operates one of the nation's largest interstate natural gas pipeline systems. For more than 50 years, Tennessee has been transporting natural gas from U.S. Gulf Coast supply areas to consumption markets in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New Jersey, New York, and the New England region with clean, efficient supplies of natural gas.
Who is Kinder Morgan?
Kinder Morgan is the largest midstream energy and natural gas pipeline company in North America with more than 75,000 miles of pipelines and approximately 180 terminals. In addition to natural gas, we transport refined petroleum products, crude oil, carbon dioxide (CO2) and more. We also store or handle a variety of products and materials at our terminals such as petroleum products, crude oil, chemicals, ethanol, coal, petroleum coke, steel and more.
With approximately 62,000 miles of pipelines, Kinder Morgan is the largest natural gas transporter in the United State. Our pipelines reach deep into the traditional Gulf Coast supply areas, the prolific Rockies supply basins, and the shale plays that will play a significant role in meeting the nation's long-term natural gas supply. We serve the major consuming markets of the Northeast, Southeast, Rockies, and Southwest.
Key assets in this business segment include the Texas Intrastate Pipeline Group (Texas is the largest producer and consumer of natural gas in the United States), Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America, (which serves the high-demand Chicago market), Tennessee Gas Pipeline that services New York City and Boston; Southern Natural Gas serving the Southeast United States; and the El Paso Natural Gas pipeline serving the entire southwest United States.
How are you different from your competitors?
Tennessee truly believes in being ‘The Neighbor to Have,’ which is a key element of our corporate vision and something that we strive to live by each and every day. We are fully committed to talking with every person and organization that may have an interest in or be affected by the project, from state and federal officials to local communities and citizens. We believe in two-way dialogue. We are explaining, and equally importantly, we are listening.
As an example, our outreach includes a comprehensive approach with stakeholders, including elected officials and regulatory agencies. We believe it is important that state regulatory and elected officials are aware of our intentions early in the process, and it is also very important to us to hear their concerns and get their feedback. We use a combination of letters, phone calls, and courtesy visits to get information to these stakeholders. The effort will subsequently include county and local outreach.
We’re proud of doing our business differently and, hopefully, in a positive and professional manner. It’s all a part of being honest and seeking to do our business in keeping with our corporate values, which are excellence, integrity, accountability, stewardship, and safety.
It should be noted that before we reach the stage of obtaining right-of-way easements from individual landowners for installing a pipeline, we have to first survey the potential pipeline route for suitability. Again, we’re proud of our approach.
We prefer to meet with landowners in-person, face-to-face, to discuss the project, hear their concerns, and obtain written permission to conduct surveys; we do not send them letters and expect them to support us. We make personal phone calls to schedule the face-to-face meetings or, if a landowner cannot be reached by phone, we will make a personal visit to the person’s home. It is vital that we form positive relationships where our proposed pipeline may someday be located. If we are not granted permission, we must obtain the best data that we can by using other means, such as by examining existing maps and aerial photography.
We have found that our open, up-front outreach program is a tried-and-true method, keeping those with a vested interest informed and doing so in a transparent manner. The outreach process will also involve open public meetings — and even more dialogue and feedback — later on in the project. Also, once we have been assigned a docket number by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, we will be sending out correspondence with more information to landowners and others as required by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. We value the longstanding relationships we have established throughout the years with thousands of landowners across the country, whom we consider to be our “community partners” in areas where we have operations.
For shippers, our projects are integrated into Tennessee’s existing pipeline system, providing more flexibility and efficiency and greater market access than other proposed projects. Tennessee believes that this project provides the infrastructure to help meet the region’s energy needs.
Do you have local offices and contacts?
If you have any other questions, please contact Susan King at (860) 763-6008, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. An additional toll-free number is 1-866-683-5587.
What is the Northeast Supply Diversification Project?
As proposed, the Northeast Supply Diversification Project (“Project”) will provide up to 250,000 dekatherms per day of incremental firm transportation capacity from the developing Marcellus Shale region along its Tennessee's 300 Line system to serve existing markets in New England and at Niagara.
Tennessee will provide incremental firm transportation service through a combination of pipeline looping, compressor station modifications, and the use of existing and off-system capacity. The Project involves the installation of approximately 7 miles of 30-inch diameter pipeline looping located in Bradford and Tioga County, Pennsylvania west of Tennessee’s Station 317, compressor station and other facility modifications located in Niagara and Erie County, New York along its jointly owned Niagara Spur lateral, and the utilization of existing and third-party pipeline capacity.
Tennessee has executed binding, 15-year term agreements with Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation, Anadarko Energy Services Company, a subsidiary of Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, and Seneca Resources Corporation, a subsidiary of National Fuel Gas Company, for up to 250,000 dekatherms per day of incremental firm transportation capacity.
To accommodate shippers’ requested transportation paths from Marcellus to New England and at Niagara, Tennessee combined its original NSD Project, which provided transportation to New England, with its MLN Project, which provided transport to Niagara. The combined project is now called the NSD Project.
To minimize impacts from construction, the planned pipeline looping will generally follow an existing Tennessee pipeline corridor wherever practicable. Tennessee expects its construction efforts will meet all applicable local, state, and federal regulatory safety requirements and environmental regulations.
Tennessee expects to file a certificate application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in late 2010. Following receipt of all applicable approvals, construction is anticipated to begin in the first half of 2012. The Project is planned to be in service by November 1, 2012.
Tennessee has been serving the northeastern United States for more than 50 years. The success of this Project will continue to build upon Tennessee’s long tradition of providing reliable energy service to the region. The Project will support Tennessee’s commitment to serve growing markets with safe and reliable deliveries of natural gas.
What is the purpose of the Northeast Supply Diversification Project?
The purpose of this project is to expand Tennessee’s system to transport new diversified natural gas supplies by increasing transportation capacity between growing Marcellus supplies and markets in New England and Niagara.
Existing natural gas distribution companies and municipal gas systems will potentially have an opportunity to have gas transported by the project delivered into their systems. Electric utilities and major industrial customers can access this important new source of natural gas, also. The project will increase reliability and diversification of natural gas supplies into the northeastern United States, benefiting residential, commercial, industrial, and electric generation customers.
Is the project needed?
As the demand for more environmentally friendly and sustainable power generation has increased, so has the demand for natural gas. The Northeast continues to require increased supplies of natural gas for residential and commercial loads. The mix of supplies of natural gas from different producing areas changes over time; therefore, the nation’s distribution infrastructure must adjust to meet these changes. Growth in production of natural gas from the Rocky Mountains is a very important source of energy for the United States, while natural gas from Canada—which helped support much of the nation’s growth in the 1990s—is declining. New infrastructure is needed to respond to these changes in supply and demand.
What is the proposed route of the pipeline?
The proposed pipeline route would generally follow an existing Tennessee pipeline corridor wherever practicable.
Why was this proposed route chosen?
The proposed route is preliminary and the final route has not yet been chosen. Extensive environmental studies and regulatory review must be conducted before a route is finalized. Environmental impact will be minimized by paralleling existing pipeline and power transmission utility corridors as much as possible. To the extent possible it avoids high density areas. Engineers and environmental specialists examine publicly available information, such as maps and studies, to help locate possible routes. Additional surveys are also necessary to evaluate the environmental impacts and constructability in a given area. The proposed route is the result of initial studies.
As practicable, existing natural gas pipeline corridors and rights of way would be used to construct the project. Direct routes are optimum, with minimal environmental impact. Engineers and environmental specialists examine publicly available information, such as maps and studies, to help locate possible routes. Environmental impact will be minimized by paralleling existing pipeline and power transmission utility corridors.
What is a natural gas pipeline and how does it work?
Natural gas pipelines safely transport large volumes of natural gas over long distances. They are specially designed and carefully constructed. Today in the United States, there are more than 300,000 miles of interstate natural gas transmission pipelines in operation. Construction and operation of these interstate pipelines are regulated principally by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the U.S. Department of Transportation. According to the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America, interstate natural gas pipelines are considered to be one of the safest forms of transportation when operational statistics are compared with other types of transportation, such as driving a vehicle or flying in an airplane.
Natural gas is put into the pipeline at various locations: at the wellhead; at processing plants located near the gas fields after processing to remove liquids; and at interconnections with other pipelines. Pipelines are located underground and transport the natural gas with the aid of compression to customers in the pipeline's market area. Compression refers to facilities that help gas move in the pipeline by keeping it under pressure. Customers include local distribution companies, which resell the gas to residential and business customers; electric utilities, which use the natural gas to generate electricity; and large industrial customers.
Will the new pipeline transport gasoline or petroleum products?
What will be the source of the natural gas?
The Project will provide Tennessee customers access to diversified natural gas supplies from the Marcellus shale.
Who will regulate the new pipeline?
Permission is required from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in Washington, D.C., to build and operate a new interstate natural gas pipeline. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will review the application for compliance with all state and federal environmental laws before approving a route for the pipeline and before awarding permission, called a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity, to build the pipeline. The U.S. Department of Transportation also regulates the operation of interstate natural gas pipelines to make sure are operated safely and in accordance with federal laws.
When will Federal Energy Regulatory Commission complete its review?
Tennessee expects to file a certificate application under Section 7(c) of the Natural Gas Act in late 2010, requesting Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approval of the Project. Following receipt of all applicable approvals, construction is anticipated to begin in the first half of 2012. The Project is planned to be in service by November 1, 2012.
Are natural gas pipelines safe?
Natural gas pipelines are a very safe, reliable, and efficient
means of transporting natural gas.
How would the
pipeline be protected to maximize the safe transportation of natural gas?
Many forms of protection are designed and built into natural gas pipelines to ensure people and properties are well protected throughout the life of a pipeline. The manner and method of pipeline construction and operations are stringently regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Officials perform an inspection on the pipeline every three years and require pipeline operators, such as Tennessee, to continually monitor and properly manage their pipelines. Various other typical forms of protection are described below.
Incidents can be potentially avoided by:
- Designing and constructing pipelines
to meet the government safety requirements.
- Using equipment and material that meet or
exceed industry practices.
- Coating steel pipe with special protective compounds to minimize
rust or corrosion.
- X-ray inspecting of every weld joining each
section of pipe.
- Burying the pipeline to a minimum of 30 inches
of ground cover.
- Using low-voltage electricity on all surfaces
to further protect against corrosion (cathodic protection).
testing each section of pipe, using water pressures higher than
the normal operating pressures.
- Inspecting each stage of construction
by qualified inspectors.
Safe operations can be aided by:
- The establishment of field offices along the pipeline, which are manned by trained and qualified pipeline safety and operation specialists.
the pipeline on a systematic basis -- on the ground and from
the air -- to make sure that activities around the pipeline do
not disturb or damage it in any way.
- Continuously monitoring operations
electronically from our gas-control facility.
- Performing regularly scheduled maintenance.
- Installing permanent, easily seen pipeline signage markers and posts to indicate the location of the pipeline and a toll-free telephone number to provide a 24/7/365 way of contacting Tennessee.
- Each state has a call-before-you-dig, one-call organization that provides an easy way to determine if an area is has underground facilities before digging begins. Tennessee is proud to be a member of these state organizations. Additionally, a national one-call program is also now in effect using 811. Dialing 811 is an easy way to let pipeline operators know of any planned excavations near pipelines.
Additional stewardship by pipeline operators to avoid possible problems and emergencies can include:
monitoring pressures electronically from our gas-control facility.
- Training local authorities in preventing and responding to
any pipeline-related problems.
- Supporting local authorities with natural
gas transmission professionals and services.
Would the pipeline be underground?
The majority of the pipeline used to transport the natural gas would be underground.
Typically, the pipeline is covered by a minimum of three feet of
soil. The pipeline would be buried deeper to accommodate planned
surface activities, or where it crosses under roadways or beneath
major bodies of water, such as rivers and streams.
Cultural Sites and Environmentally Sensitive Areas:
In general, what is Tennessee Gas Pipeline’s commitment to
protecting significant cultural sites and environmentally sensitive
Tennessee is committed to protecting significant cultural sites and environmentally sensitive areas. This commitment extends through all aspects of projects. Tennessee works with appropriate federal and state agencies to comply fully with all applicable laws and regulations. Beyond that, we have our own standards and procedures that help ensure that employed professionals and contractors do their utmost to exercise care and respect for the possible effect of our activities.
How would wetlands and culturally
important sites be protected?
This process begins by selecting a route that avoids sensitive areas whenever possible. The cooperation of the public, particularly those who own land along the proposed route, is very important to achieving this goal. This route is based on detailed professional engineering and environmental surveys and studies. Wetlands and culturally important sites that need to be avoided during construction are marked. Care is exercised around the sites during construction. Only qualified and experienced professional pipeline builders are selected for projects to minimize the impact of construction activities on these sites. Specially trained environmental inspectors look out for environmentally sensitive areas and endangered species. Consultations are held with the state historical preservation office in each state in which pipeline construction projects are planned because cultural resources must be addressed before construction actually begins. Finally, after construction, sites are thoroughly cleaned up. Then the land is restored as close as possible to its original condition.
Directional drilling is typically used under most major rivers along the proposed route. This is a highly technical and very expensive method of installing a pipeline, but it provides minimum surface disturbance.
What about existing rights
The proposed route is predominantly within and/or adjacent to existing pipeline and electric utility corridors and facilities, some of which are already owned by Tennessee. In most other cases, utility rights of way belong to other companies. As stated previously, existing rights of way are used to the extent practicable.
What is the usual width of the right of way?
A pipeline normally requires a permanent 50-foot wide right of
way. During construction, an additional 45 to 60 feet
of temporary workspace may be needed next to the permanent right of way, plus additional temporary workspace in certain areas, such
as road, railroad, or stream crossings, to accommodate particular
construction activities, and to serve as storage yards for our
construction materials. Once construction is complete, the temporary
workspace will revert to the landowner.
How close would the pipeline
get to residences?
Most often, pipelines are located well away from residences. We
can estimate the closeness of the pipeline to residences involved
in this project once we have completed surveying for the proposed
How will topsoil
be handled in cultivated areas within an easement?
Contractors clear the right of
way of trees and brush if any is present and will collect the topsoil and hold it
separate from the subsoils. After the trench for the pipeline is
dug and the pipeline is placed in the trench, the subsoil will
be used to fill the trench and the topsoil will be placed on top
of the subsoil. In cultivated land, topsoil is segregated during excavation and stored separately from subsoil.
Property Owner Interests:
What is the role of a land agent?
A land agent is a professional who works with property owners
along our preferred corridor. If you are the owner of property who may be involved in a project, you can regard the land
agent as your primary contact person.
The land agent will be available to meet with you throughout the
project to make certain you receive up-to-date information about
the project. He or she will listen to your comments and suggestions
and report those to the company. Initially, the land agent will
work with landowners to obtain permission for the company to conduct
a series of surveys along our preferred corridor. (See below for
more information on the surveys.) Ultimately, the agent will also
work with you to obtain an easement. This will provide us with
the legal rights needed to install the pipeline and related facilities.
What steps are involved in the process of determining where the
pipeline will be located?
The first step is for maps and aerial photography to be used to identify possible corridors for the pipeline. Next, the names and addresses of landowners along the preferred corridor are identified. Once the landowners in a county are known, each landowner will be contacted by a land agent.
The first major part of the process of working with each landowner is for the land agent to explain the surveys that must be conducted on their property, and to obtain permission to conduct these surveys. Generally, more property is surveyed than actually needed for pipeline construction. Once the initial information is compiled from surveys of the identified properties, further surveys may be necessary if the initial corridor is adjusted. Preferred and alternate routes will be shown to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission when pre-filing occurs early in 2008.
What surveys will need to be conducted on my property?
Companies must conduct a preliminary civil survey, as well as environmental and archaeological surveys of each parcel along the preferred corridor. The preliminary civil survey will locate the proposed centerline of the corridor and place stakes and flagging to depict the path of the centerline. The environmental survey will usually extend 150 feet out in both directions from the staked centerline to determine the size and location of wetlands and to evaluate the land for potential habitats for endangered species, including plants and animals. This survey will also locate springs, water wells, erosion-prone areas, and man-made features that can affect pipeline construction. The archaeological survey will encompass the same area as the environmental survey and will include the taking of shovel tests of approximate 18 inches in depth every 50 meters. The soil will be sifted to look for historical remains, pot shards, arrowheads, and other significant artifacts. The soil will be replaced after examination.
If a pipeline is placed on my land, will I lose the use of my
In most cases, normal activities on your property can resume as soon as the construction site is cleared and the area has been stabilized. On agricultural property, topsoil will be replaced and normal plowing and planting can resume immediately. Livestock can begin grazing as soon as the re-vegetation is complete. Many tracks of undeveloped land containing natural gas pipelines have subsequently been sold to developers who have erected homes, shopping centers, ball fields and other structures on land adjacent to the pipeline easement. However, it must be understood that the land cannot be used in a manner that would threaten or endanger the pipeline, or interfere with our ability to operate and maintain it safely and in accordance with federal statutes and regulations.
What rights do owners
have with respect to having a pipeline located on their property?
Property owners are entitled by law to receive fair and just compensation for having a pipeline easement on their property. Companies negotiate with the property owners to obtain a signed easement for the needed property rights described above. The easement agreement will describe in more detail the specific rights that the property owner and the pipeline company will have. During this process, companies also work with property owners to address specific interests or concerns they may have.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has published a pamphlet entitled, “An Interstate Natural Gas Facility on My Land? What Do I Need to Know,” which is available on this website and on Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Web site at www.Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.gov or by calling the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Office of External Affairs at 1-866-208-3372.
property owners be compensated for their land?
First, companies need to determine the fair market value of the property
and how the pipeline construction will affect it. Land agents
will work with persons familiar with the local real estate market
to help make this assessment. Offers will be based on this
information and is subject to adjustment to recognize special
factors identified by the landowner. In addition, landowners will
be compensated for specific damage to their property caused by
our survey and construction activity, such as the removal of trees
or crops. Any damage to fences will be repaired.
What happens if
an owner and a company can’t agree?
In most cases, property owners will voluntarily agree to participate in a pipeline project such as this one by signing an easement at a negotiated price. In a small number of cases, an agreement cannot be reached. Interstate natural gas pipelines do have the right of eminent domain, once a certificate of public convenience and necessity is obtained from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. But, historically, Tennessee has successfully reached amicable agreements with landowners, minimizing the use of eminent domain.
owners be able to use land within the right of way after construction?
Companies need to operate the pipeline safely, so some restrictions will apply, such as limiting the future placement of buildings or other structures, or the planting of trees within the right of way. Agricultural activities, such as growing crops and pasturing livestock, can resume as soon as the land is ready following construction.
How can a company proceed with survey activity if a landowner refuses survey
As a public service project, a pipeline company can acquire the right to conduct a survey of any parcel that might be included in the pipeline corridor by order of a local court. This right of entry only applies to conducting the surveys necessary to obtain regulatory approval of our proposed route. It is Tennessee’s strong preference to work with landowners, understand their concerns, and to avoid this action.
Communication and More Information:
Who is the primary contact
for owners of property involved in the project?
The land agent assigned to work with a landowner will be the landowner’s primary contact throughout the project. This individual is fully authorized by the company to work with landowners at each stage of the survey, route selection and easement process. You may call toll-free at 1-866-683-5587 if you have any questions or concerns.
If my property is involved with the project, when will I hear
from Tennessee Gas Pipeline or others?
You should feel free to contact your land agent any time you have a question about our project. Agents for this project have not yet been selected for all areas along the proposed route. At a minimum, your land agent will contact you as soon as our current property survey work is complete or if a re-survey of your property might be required. Some further adjustments may be necessary after we make our application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to accommodate variations required by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission staff. As a property owner, you will continue to receive information from us throughout the regulatory review process.
if I want to contact the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission directly?
You may call or write the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission at the address below:
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
Office of External Affairs
888 First Street, N.E.
Washington , DC 20426
Toll free: 1-866-208-3372
Also, the previously noted pamphlet distributed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, “An Interstate Natural Gas Facility on My Land? What Do I Need to Know,” may help to provide you with further guidance about the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission process.