New $1.5 billion natural gas pipeline proposed for northern Ohio

Source: The Plain Dealer

The odds of an extended boom in Ohio’s Utica Shale gas production just got a lot more favorable.

Two major pipeline corporations and a large diversified energy company are proposing a major new gas transmission line to run 250 miles across northern Ohio.

The large-diameter pipeline would connect with existing transmission lines and storage facilities in Michigan and Canada — linking eastern Ohio’s emerging shale gas fields to customers throughout Ohio, Michigan and Ontario and potentially throughout the Midwest.

The Nexus Gas Transmission line is a joint project of Houston-based Spectra Energy Corp., Enbridge Inc. of Canada and Detroit-based DTE Energy.

The three announced on Tuesday that they had signed an agreement to develop the new transmission line at a potential cost of $1.3 billion to $1.5 billion.

The plan, said Spectra Energy spokeswoman Wendy Olson, would be to use existing gas and power line corridors, minimizing the impact on neighbors and on the environment.

The companies said the Nexus Transmission line would have to be approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which would also approve the rates the new partnership would charge customers.

The pipeline would be 30-to-36 inches in diameter, said Enbridge spokesman Larry Springer, depending on how many customers and producers sign agreements to use the line. At that size, the line would be capable of moving at least 1 billion cubic feet of gas a day. The target date for operation is November 2015.

The written agreement signals that the companies have gathered enough interest both from gas producers as well as potential customers to take the next, more formal step in its development, said analysts.

The agreement commits the three to continue toward development — providing they receive formal commitments to use the line from producers and customers.

“It’s another enormous investment in Ohio and more jobs for Ohioans,” said Robert Nichols, spokesman for Gov. John Kasich. “The industry obviously sees Ohio as a good place to do business.”