Wednesday, October 01, 2014
It was dubbed the “king of pipelines”: a $6.7bn, 1,700-mile tubular highway transporting US natural gas east from the Rocky mountains to the gentle hills of Ohio.
Less than five years after the Rockies Express pipeline opened for business, its owners are now adding a westbound service. The reason? “Prolific and unforeseen growth of gas production” in the US northeast, they explain in a regulatory filing.
The new direction for the Rockies Express shows how pipeline companies are scrambling to keep up with breakthroughs in shale gas drilling. Unlike shale oil, which is booming in North Dakota and Texas, the strongest shale gas growth is in northeastern states.
To illustrate the fast-changing landscape, Anne Swedberg, a senior analyst at Bentek Energy, drew a large red X across an old map of announced Northeast pipeline expansion projects as she spoke at a recent conference in New York. The capacity of the projects had more than doubled in the past two months to 32bn cu ft/d.
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