FERC Delay Pushes Back NFG’s Northern Access Pipeline Project

National Fuel Gas Company (NFG), the Buffalo-based utility giant with both a drilling subsidiary (Seneca Resources) and a midstream/pipeline subsidiary (Empire Pipeline) filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in March 2015 for a pipeline project they call Northern Access 2016 (later renamed to simply Northern Access Project, dropping the “2016” part). The $455 million project includes building 97 miles of new pipeline along a power line corridor from northwestern Pennsylvania up to Erie County, NY. The project also calls for 3 miles of new pipeline further up, in Niagara County, along with a new compressor station in the Town of Pendleton (see NFG’s Marcellus Pipeline from NWPA to NY Hits Resistence). In July 2016, FERC issued a favorable Environmental Assessment, paving the path for full approval (see NFG’s Northern Access Pipeline Gets Favorable FERC Review). NFG had hoped to have the project done and in-service by November of this year. However, due to foot-dragging by FERC, NFG has just announced a revision. They now say the project can’t get completed until “the second quarter of the Company’s 2018 fiscal year.” NFG doesn’t operate on a calendar year for reporting, they’re a quarter ahead. So the Company’s 2Q18 means 1Q18 for everyone else. Translation: NFG hopes to have it built and in-service by March 2018. In addition to the “bad news” of the delay, NFG sprinkled in some good news about production in 4Q16: due to an increase in Marcellus production, NFG’s calendar 4Q16 production (for subsidiary Seneca Resources) was up 16% over the same period in 2015…

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