Midstream operators continued to add additional capacity to the U.S. pipeline system in 2021, but that growth was the slowest since 2016, according to a recent study by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
These operators added a total of 7.44 Bcf/d, according to the Natural Gas Pipeline Projects Tracker. The agency defines interstate pipelines as those regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which includes pipelines that cross state lines and those that transport gas for export. Export pipelines include those that cross international borders and those that lead to liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals.
About 5 billion cubic feet per day of this additional interstate pipeline capacity carries gas to and within the South Central region, which includes Texas and the Gulf Coast market. Most of the additional capacity meets growing demand from LNG exporters, the EIA reported.
Two of the three major new pipeline projects in the South Central region are tied to the Calcasieu Pass LNG export terminal, recently commissioned by Venture Global in Louisiana. The first, the TransCameron pipeline, is a 1.9 Bf/d, 24 mil lateral, which delivers feed gas to the terminal. The second new project is Enbridge’s Cameron Expansion Project, a 0.75 Bcf/d expansion on the Texas Eastern Transmission (TETCO) pipeline that connects to the TransCameron pipeline.
The Double E pipeline is another major project that has increased capacity in the south central region. It carries 1.35 Bcf/d 135 miles from southeast New Mexico to the Waha hub in West Texas.
Midstream operators added a total of 1.6 Bcf/d in the Northeast region. About half of this new capacity came from two related projects. The Leidy South 0.58 Bcf/d expansion project increases the extraction capacity of the Transcontinental Pipeline, which transports gas from the Appalachian Basin to markets on the East Coast, the EIA reported.
In addition, the National Fuel Gas Supply Corporation had a separate project, Project FM 100, which increased removal capacity by 0.33 Bcf/d, the EIA reported.