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Williams (WMB) Gets FERC Nod for Transco Expansion Project

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Williams Companies Inc.’s (WMB - Free Report) Transco Expansion Project was recently green-lit by Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), bringing in pleasant news for the company, industry advocates and natural gas users. Notably, the firm had filed an application with the FERC last year, seeking approval for its Rivervale South to Market project, which incorporates expansion of the existing Transco pipeline project to meet the increasing natural gas demand.

The expansion of the project will entail uprating of 10.35 miles of existing Transco pipeline, along with upgrades and alterations to pipeline facilities in operation, all in New Jersey. Uprating a pipeline is basically a process used to boost the permissible operating pressure in a pipeline, per its design capability.

The project is expected to provide incremental service to natural gas consumers by generating 190,000 dekatherms per day of firm transportation capacity to the northeastern markets. On completion, the project will benefit northeastern consumers, mainly in New Jersey and New York, by catering to the growing demand for heating and power generation in more than 1 million homes.

Subsequent to receipt of all the required permits, Williams is likely to commence the construction of the project in early 2019.

Notably, three other pipelines including PennEast, Eastern Market Access Project and Southeast Markets Pipeline project also got FERC nod on Aug 10, in addition to Transco expansion.

FERC brushed aside requests to reconsider the approval of the PennEast pipeline, allowing it to proceed forward. Its decision has been highly criticized by the green-campaigners.PennEast is a joint venture between Southern Company, New Jersey Resources Corporation, South Jersey Industries (SJI - Free Report) , Enbridge Inc. (ENB - Free Report) and UGI Corp. All the companies hold a 20% stake each in the project.The $1.13-billion pipeline project is expected to deliver gas to about 4.7 million households at a rate of roughly 1 billion cubic feet per day. It will help in creating additional job opportunities and a reliable fuel supply for the future.

The Southeast Markets Pipeline and Dominion Energy, Inc.’s (D - Free Report) $148-million Eastern Market Access Project in Maryland were also given final approval by FERC, as the regulatory authority believes that the benefits from the pipelines will outweigh environmental concerns.

However, FERC halted the construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline due to serious environmental and wildlife concerns, which bought about a relief to the environmental regulators. 

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