PLAINS TWP. — The owner of the Transco Pipeline, which travels through Luzerne County as it carries natural gas from the Gulf Coast to New York, hosted an informational open house Wednesday at The Woodlands Inn & Resort to provide details to the public on an expansion project and to gather feedback.
While the Transco pipeline — owned by Williams — runs east/west across Luzerne County, only about 4.2 miles of new 42-inch diameter pipe would be laid in Slocum and Dorrance townships in what is called the “Dorrance Loop.” Another 3.4 miles will be laid in Buck Township, which is part of the “Franklin Loop” that extends into Tunkhannock and Tobyhanna townships in Monroe County, Williams spokesman Chris Stockton said.
“The Transco is not just one line. It could be one, but it could be up to five running next to each other,” Stockton explained as he pointed to a local map with pipeline diagrams set up at one of several informational tables on the left side of the Grand Ballroom.
Just west of the Dorrance Loop, there are three adjacent Transco pipes, but one of them ends, and the other two continue east. The 4.2 miles of new pipe would connect with at least one other Transco pipe in that vicinity, and possibly smaller gathering lines.
Also proposed in the project locally is the upgrade of the company’s Bear Creek Compressor Station in Buck Township.
Six turbines are installed there now. The company already received approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a seventh, and Williams will seek to add an eighth in this project, said Ray Terrazan, senior environmental specialist with Williams.
More turbines will allow more gas to move through the pipeline faster, said Jeannie Woodruff, of ERM — Williams’ air quality consultant. She said the new turbines will have to meet more stringent emissions standards than those installed previously. And the turbines operate in enclosures.
As for what residents living in the vicinity of the compressor station can expect, “our hope is that they don’t hear or see anything,” Stockston said, adding the station must meet the FERC’s acceptable range for noise levels.
The FERC has the final say-so on this proposed project, and commission representatives had a booth set up at the back of the ballroom to answer questions and take feedback.
On the right, more Williams representatives manned tables with aerial maps showing property lines and detailed pipeline locations, so land owners could ask questions and point out concerns.
Frank Petroski brought his wife, Dawn, and daughter Kristen so the family could get some specifics about the project, part of which begins in and runs through their Slocum Township farm.
Petroski said Williams has easements on his land for two existing pipelines, and the 4.2-mile stretch of new pipeline will begin at his farm and run between the two existing pipelines, he said, pointing to an aerial map.
Petroski said Williams created pasture land over the pipelines years ago, and he uses the land to grow hay to feed his horses and cows. The project could disrupt that hay production and he might have to buy feed. He wanted specific time frames on the work so he knows what to expect, and if construction vehicles would be traveling up his driveway.
Petroski said he learned the work was scheduled to begin in January 2015 if the project is approved, and construction vehicles would not be very near his home. And, Williams would pay him the cost of the feed if his production is pushed off schedule. “Williams, over the years, has been very helpful,” he said.
Stockton said Williams needs to expand the pipeline by about 25 miles of new pipe to accommodate growth and new customers. He said there is more demand now than ever for natural gas because many companies are converting to it, given that an abundance of Marcellus Shale gas in the Northeast has driven down prices.
Most of the expansion projects are in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, but there are some facility upgrades in some other states. The distance from the start of the pipeline in the Gulf of Mexico to the end in New York City is about 2,000 miles, but there are 10,000 miles of pipe in the entire system, Stockton said.