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Today in Energy

November 7, 2019

New natural gas pipelines are adding capacity from the South Central, Northeast regions

natural gas pipeline capacity added in 2019 from selected regions
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Natural Gas Pipeline Projects Tracker
Note: Projects labeled as in service are in service as of November 1.

The United States is expected to add between 16 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) and 17 Bcf/d of natural gas pipeline capacity in 2019, most of which was built to provide additional takeaway capacity out of supply basins. Of the 134 active natural gas pipeline projects the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) tracks, 46 have entered or are expected to enter service in 2019. These projects will increase deliveries by pipeline to Mexico or to liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facilities in the Gulf Coast region.

More than 40% of this new pipeline capacity—7.2 Bcf/d—delivers natural gas to locations within the South Central region. Many of these pipeline projects will provide additional takeaway capacity out of the Permian Basin in western Texas or enable additional Permian natural gas production to reach the interstate pipeline system. Some of these pipelines include

  • Kinder Morgan’s 2.0 Bcf/d Gulf Coast Express Pipeline, which provides takeaway capacity from the Waha Hub in the Permian Basin (near the Texas-New Mexico border) to demand markets on the Gulf Coast at the Agua Dulce Hub
  • ONEOK'S Roadrunner Eastbound Expansion, which added about 1.0 Bcf/d of bidirectional capacity on the pipeline, and the 300 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) WesTex Expansion, which added northbound takeaway capacity out of the Permian Basin
  • El Paso Natural Gas Pipeline’s 320 MMcf/d Northern Delaware Basin Expansion Project, which is still under construction and will add additional capacity to the El Paso system in western Texas, allowing additional volumes to flow westward on the system

The remainder of the natural gas pipeline projects slated for completion in the South Central region in 2019 will deliver natural gas to demand centers, in particular to LNG export facilities on the Gulf Coast. Cheniere’s 1.4 Bcf/d MIDSHIP Pipeline is still under construction. When completed, it will connect natural gas supply from Oklahoma to the Sabine Pass LNG facility in Louisiana, providing additional sources of secure supply to the export terminal.

The Texas East Transmission Company (TETCO) completed expansions to its existing pipeline infrastructure during the second quarter of 2019, including the 400 MMcf/d Stratton Ridge Expansion, for additional deliveries to the Freeport LNG facility on the Texas Gulf Coast.

The only pipeline project in the South Central region in 2019 that moves natural gas outside its region is the 2.6 Bcf/d Valley Crossing Pipeline, which exports to markets in Mexico. This pipeline connects to the newly built Sur de Texas-Tuxpan pipeline, a 497-mile underwater project that was also completed in 2019 and transports U.S. natural gas to the southern Mexican state of Veracruz.

natural gas pipelines in Texas
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

After the South Central region, the Northeast region built the most additional natural gas pipeline capacity in 2019, providing additional outlets for natural gas produced in the Appalachian Basin. Most of this new pipeline capacity is the result of projects that were originally slated to enter service in 2018.

The largest projects in the Northeast already completed in 2019 are Millennium Pipeline’s 223 MMcf/d Eastern System Upgrade Project, which increased deliverability to customers in Pennsylvania and New York, and Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Company’s 190 MMcf/d Rivervale South to Market Project, which increased deliverability into the New York City market.

The remainder of the new pipeline capacity in the Northeast connects natural gas supply to the NEXUS pipeline in the Midwest (the completed Appalachia Lease Project Phase 2) or to market hubs within the Northeast.

Additional information on these and other natural gas pipeline projects is available in EIA’s Natural Gas Pipeline Project Tracker, which is updated quarterly.

Principal contributor: Katie Dyl