Dominion JV to Build Atlantic Coast Pipeline

RICHMOND, Va. -- Four major U.S. energy companies -- Dominion, Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas and AGL Resources -- have formed a joint venture to build and own the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The pipeline would provide a new route for direct access to the burgeoning production in the Marcellus and Utica shale plays of Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, the companies said.

The 550-mile natural gas pipeline, projected to cost between $4.5 billion and $5 billion, would run from Harrison County, W.Va., southeast through Virginia with an extension to Chesapeake, Va., and then south through central North Carolina to Robeson County.

The partnership, called Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC, will own the pipeline initially proposed by Dominion as the Southeast Reliability Project. It is designed in part to meet the needs identified in requests for proposals last April by Duke Energy and Piedmont, and in June by Virginia Power Services Energy. It would deliver natural gas to additional customers in growing markets in Virginia and North Carolina.

The CEOs of the four companies are Thomas F. Farrell II of Dominion, Lynn J. Good of Duke Energy, Thomas E. Skains of Piedmont Natural Gas and John W. Somerhalder II of AGL Resources.

"The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is a transformational project for our region. It will create thousands of construction jobs during development and significant new revenue for state and local governments throughout North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia," they said in a joint statement. "The expanded source of gas will also help fuel economic development across the region as businesses and homes rely more on natural gas. The project will also provide more reliable access to new sources of natural gas, keeping consumers' energy costs down -- even during the coldest and hottest weather."  

Dominion, which operates nearly 8,000 miles of interstate pipeline in six states as well as one of the nation's largest natural gas storage systems, is to build and operate the Atlantic Coast Pipeline on behalf of the venture.

Ownership stakes are Dominion, 45%; Duke Energy, 40%; Piedmont, 10%; and AGL Resources, 5%. Subsidiaries and affiliates of all four plan to be customers of the pipeline under 20-year contracts, pending regulatory approvals. PSNC Energy also plans to be a customer under a 20-year contract, pending regulatory approvals.

Dominion has begun surveying to determine the best route, one that meets operational and reliability needs while minimizing the impact on the environment, the company said. It plans to make a pre-filing request with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission this fall on behalf of Atlantic Coast Pipeline. It expects to file its FERC application next summer, receive the FERC Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity the following summer and begin construction shortly thereafter.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.
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