Williams Partners L.P. (NYSE: WPZ) today announced it has received Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approval to expand Transco, the nation’s largest natural gas pipeline system, to provide service to a customer’s new, gas-fired, power-generation plant in Virginia. A unit of Dominion (NYSE:D) plans to construct the 1,358-megawatt facility in Brunswick County, Va., to replace generating capacity from retiring coal-fired plants.
The approximately $300 million Transco Virginia Southside Expansion is designed to provide 270,000 dekatherms per day (dth/d) of incremental transportation capacity in Virginia and North Carolina by September 2015. Of the total expanded capacity, more than 90 percent will serve Dominion Virginia Power’s new power plant; the remainder will serve Piedmont Natural Gas Company’s (NYSE:PNY) local-distribution business in North Carolina.
The Virginia Southside Expansion is part of $2.2 billion of Transco growth projects that Williams Partners has previously announced it plans to bring into service between 2013 and 2017. Together, those projects are designed to increase Transco system capacity by more than 35 percent. The expansions, which consist of 11 projects in nine eastern states, are designed to serve customers’ demand for power generation, industries and local distribution.
“Our expansions of Transco over the last decade provide an impressive track record of our ability to execute on the growth opportunities that we and our customers create around this premier asset,” said Alan Armstrong, chief executive officer of Williams Partners’ general partner. “Since 2003, we have invested nearly $2 billion in 21 expansion projects that have increased Transco’s transportation capacity by 55 percent.“These vital infrastructure expansions connect the sizeable and growing markets along the Transco system with the new, long-lived natural gas reserves that the U.S. is blessed to have in abundant supply,” Armstrong said. “For WPZ unitholders, this Transco expansion is just one example of the $7 billion to approximately $8 billion of investments in growth projects we expect to make this year through 2015. Together, these projects are designed to grow the partnership in a way that continues to emphasize the foundation that growing fee-for-service revenues provides for the increased cash distributions we expect to make to our owners – including the majority-owner and general partner Williams,” Armstrong said.