The Williams Cos. Inc. reported on Oct. 18 that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has issued a certificate of public convenience and necessity authorizing the Southeastern Trail expansion project designed to serve Transco pipeline markets in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern U.S. in time for the 2020/2021 winter heating season.

The Southeastern Trail expansion project will provide 296,375 dekatherms per day of additional firm transportation capacity to utility and local distribution companies located in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. Once complete, the project will help meet growing clean energy demands in the Southeast, as well as provide access to new sources of clean domestic natural gas supply, helping push out of the energy mix less environmentally friendly sources of fuel, while enhancing system reliability.

“Southeastern Trail is a critical project that will work to bring key supplies from interconnects in the Mid-Atlantic region to growing demand centers in the Southeastern U.S.,” said Micheal Dunn, COO of Williams. “This vital project, along with additional expansion opportunities under development, will link low-cost supply to key customers in high-growth markets and continues the expansion of southbound capacity on the Transco pipeline system. Construction of this project along Transco’s existing corridor results in significantly less impact to the environment and landowners and more economical transportation rates for our customers than other greenfield projects serving these same markets.”

The Southeastern Trail expansion project will consist of about 7.7 miles of 42-inch pipeline looping facilities in Virginia, horsepower additions at existing compressor stations in Virginia, and piping and valve modifications on other existing facilities in South Carolina, Georgia and Louisiana to allow for bi-directional flow. Once complete, the project will result in a net reduction of air emissions as legacy facilities are modified with state-of-the-art horsepower technology.

Customers served by the project are PSNC Energy, South Carolina Electric & Gas, Virginia Natural Gas, the City of Buford, Ga., and the City of LaGrange, Ga.

Following the receipt of all necessary regulatory approvals, Williams anticipates beginning construction on the Southeastern Trail expansion project in the fall of 2019 with a target in-service commitment of November 2020.

The Southeastern Trail project is Williams’ third Transco project to be approved by FERC in the last ten months. With this expansion, the Transco pipeline’s system-design capacity is expected to increase to 17.5 million dekatherms per day from its current 17.2 million dekatherms per day mark. Combined with other expansion projects under construction or in various levels of permitting, Williams expects the Transco pipeline’s system-design capacity to top 18 million dekatherms per day in time for the 2020/2021 winter heating season.

Transco is the nation’s largest-volume interstate natural gas pipeline system. It delivers natural gas to customers through its approximately 10,000-mile pipeline network whose mainline extends nearly 1,800 miles between South Texas and New York City. The system is a major provider of cost-effective natural gas services that reach U.S. markets in 12 Southeast and Atlantic Seaboard states, including major metropolitan areas in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.