Rockaway Lateral Project
Williams’ Transco pipeline quietly, safely and reliably delivers natural gas to its customers through its 10,000-mile pipeline system, extending from South Texas to New York City. The Transco pipeline is a major transporter of natural gas, to the northeast and southeast United States, delivering domestic natural gas produced along the Gulf Coast, Appalachia and Mid-Continent.
Williams has developed a pipeline project to provide another natural gas delivery point from its Transco pipeline to the Rockaways and New York City. The project would involve the construction of a 3.2-mile, 26-inch pipeline lateral (approximately 2.9 miles of offshore pipeline and 0.3 miles of onshore pipeline) interconnecting with a 26” lateral pipeline proposed to be constructed by our customer, National Grid. The Rockaway Delivery Lateral Project is designed to create a new delivery point and deliver additional natural gas volumes to National Grid during the second half of 2014. There are no LNG terminal facilities related to or proposed as part of this project.
Natural Gas Demand
Demand for natural gas in the northeastern U.S. is increasing, in large part due to the environmental advantages of natural gas over other fossil fuels. National Grid, the largest distributor of natural gas in the northeast, is coordinating its efforts with Williams, one of its major providers, to meet the growing demand for natural gas in its market area.
In recent years, the supply/demand balance has been tight in the Brooklyn/ Western Long Island region. This delicate balance is beginning to tip as environmental and economic drivers have spurred a recent growth in oil-to-natural gas conversions. Without additional pipeline capacity to serve the Rockaways and New York City, National Grid will be challenged to maintain system reliability and growth.
Williams’ Transco pipeline provides a connection between New York City and abundant, domestic natural gas supplies. National Grid has asked Williams to develop a new delivery point on its existing Transco pipeline system to provide additional service and reliability to the New York City area. The Transco pipeline currently transports about half of the natural gas consumed in New York City.
The proposed project would create an additional delivery point from the existing Transco system into National Grid’s distribution network, enhancing service reliability and serving growth in the region.
Selecting a Pipeline Route
The process of siting natural gas pipeline facilities is comprised of many variables. Federal regulations require that the pipeline company conduct numerous studies and analyze a number of alternatives before filing an application.
Williams is committed to working to select facility locations that have the least impact on the community, the environment and other considerations, while balancing the needs of customers. Early involvement from stakeholders will help Williams identify and address issues related to project design or siting.
The proposed 3.2-mile 26-inch lateral consists of approximately 2.9 miles of offshore pipeline and 0.3 miles of onshore pipeline. The preferred route avoids residential, commercial and sensitive environmental areas. Under the preferred route, the majority of the onshore pipeline is located within Gateway National Recreation Area, primarily extending beneath a pitch-and-putt golf course located within the Jacob Riis Park to a tie-in point with a proposed National Grid pipeline. Fort Tilden is located to the west of the proposed pipeline. A parking lot and additional land within Jacob Riis Park are located to the east.
The sea to shore portion of the pipeline (approximately one mile) would be constructed using subsurface directional drilling technology, allowing Williams to avoid all impacts to the beach, near-shore areas, as well as onshore portions of Jacob Riis Park. The planned route takes the line under Jacob Riis Park to a tie-in point with a proposed National Grid pipeline located outside of Gateway National Recreation Area.
The project will also involve the construction of a meter and regulator station, which is necessary to measure, condition and control the flow of natural gas before it enters the local natural gas distribution system. Attempting to avoid the aesthetic impacts normally associated with the design and siting of metering facilities, Williams is exploring the possible placement of the facility on Floyd Bennett Field, inside one of the hangar buildings. The hangar buildings are historically significant, but currently in serious disrepair. The current plan would facilitate the rehabilitation of the hanger’s exterior to its historically accurate original condition.
Natural Gas Supply Enhancement Act
In November 2012 the House of Representatives approved the New York City Natural Gas Supply Enhancement Act that would authorize the Secretary of Interior to allow the construction and operation of natural gas pipeline facilities in the Queens and Brooklyn portions of the Gateway National Recreation Area. The bill was passed by the Senate on Sept. 22, 2012.
This legislation, which is specific to Gateway National Recreation Area, does not authorize the construction of any new natural gas pipeline facilities. It does, however, give the Secretary of the Interior the authority to make a decision whether or not to enter into lease and right-of-way agreements for natural gas facilities within Gateway’s jurisdictional boundaries.
Transco is an interstate natural gas transmission pipeline and therefore subject to the jurisdiction of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). An application seeking authorization to construct the pipeline was filed Jan. 7, 2013. The project was assigned docket number CP13-36. All documents and correspondence submitted to or issued by FERC regarding the project can be accessed by referencing the docket number on the FERC website. All affected parties are encouraged to participate in the FERC review process.
On Feb. 28, 2014, the FERC published its final environmental review of Transco’s Rockaway Lateral. The FERC action is a key step toward the commission’s decision on the projects, which is expected this spring. Transco would expect to begin construction in May and bring the projects into service in November 2014.
National Grid’s project is governed by the New York Public Service Commission as it is entirely intrastate in nature. National Grid’s project was analyzed under the City Environmental Quality Review (CEQR) and the City issued a declaration on the project in December 2011.
For more information on the regulatory process, click here.
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