If the pipe don’t fit PennEast must quit!

 

My most recent PennEast comment on their two phased approach appears below.  Basically, PennEast screwed the pooch royally.  Their Adelphia Connection, which will flow a lot of gas into NJ, invalidates the original application’s assumptions.

 


My name is Michael Spille.  I am an abutter to the Certificated pipeline route and the route filed on this docket as well, and am also an intervenor in these proceedings.  I am hereby filing this comment within the scoping period for the Environmental Assessment (“EA”) on this docket.

I.    STATEMENT OF RELEVANT FACTS

On January 19, 2018, FERC granted an Order Issuing Certificates to PennEast Pipeline Company, LLC (“PennEast”) on docket CP15-558-000.  This included 990,000 dekatherms/day subscribed to by the shippers.  Of this amount, 735,000 dekatherms/day was subscribed to by subsidiaries of PennEast’s owning owning company.

On January 30th, 2020, PennEast filed an Abbreviated Application to Amend their Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity. It claimed 340,000 of capacity was subscribed to for Phase 1, but did not reveal the identities of the shippers.  However, in an Answer from PennEast filed on Feb 26, 2020, PennEast does finally reveal the identity of the shippers.  They are New Jersey Natural Gas, South Jersey Gas, UGI Energy Services, and Elizabethtown Gas.   These shippers also have capacity agreements for the original application on the CP15-558-000 docket. 

PennEast does not indicate if these subscriptions are additive to the original application (e.g. 1.1 million dekatherms/day + 340,000 dekatherms/day) or subtractive (e.g. 1.1 million dekatherms/day – 340,000 dekatherms/day).  Alternatively you can look at the full Phase 1 volume the same way (adding or subtracting 650,000 dekatherms/day to the original 1.1 million dekatherms/day).  PennEast makes it clear that delivery into NJ in phase 1 will occur via its newly proposed connection to the Adelphia Gateway pipeline.  PennEast also claims that it will soon have shippers for the remaining 310 dekatherms/day of unsubscribed capacity on phase I.

II.    STATEMENT OF ISSUES

  1. PennEast’s application has a fatal flaw in its application with the revelation that the Phase 1 shippers are the same.  If these subscriptions are indicative of new volume above and beyond the originally proposed 1.1 million dekatherms/day, then the Phase I and Phase II pipelines as proposed to do not work.  Because that would imply the need for 1.44 million dekatherms/day or more.  
  2. If the subscriptions are subtractive (e.g. they should be reduced from the 1.1 dekatherms/day of the whole project), then PennEast’s entire design in NJ is incorrect.  That’s because the gas for NJNG  (180,000 dekatherms/day), SJG (75,000 dekatherms/day), and Elizabethtown Gas (33,000 dekatherms/day) that originally was going to flow on PennEast, under the Delaware River and into NJ, will now flow into NJ via the Adelphia Pipeline.  
  3. It should be noted that NJNG’s subscription of 180,000 dekatherms/day on this abbreviated filing matches its commitment on the original application.  This argues very strongly that it is subtractive.  
  4. SJG’s 75,000 dekatherms/day commitment is not equal to its commitment on the original application (which is 105,000 dekatherms/day). but is fairly close.  It certainly seems unlikely that SJG needs another 75K on top of its commitment of 105K.  
  5. Assuming that this volume is subtractive, this would mean that a bare minimum of 213,000 dekatherms/day will be flowing into NJ via Adelphia and not directly via PennEast.  That number could be higher, as we do not know who PennEast is negotiating with for the remaining 310,000 dekatherms/day of capacity.
  6. Whether the Phase 1 shippers are additive or subtractive is irrelevant in the end, because either way it means the overall capacity numbers are wrong.  The Adelphia connection changes everything.  If the Phase 1 shippers are additive, then Phase 1 is sized too small to be able to carry the full load of Phase 1 + Phase 2 (Phase 2 could be too small as well).   If the Phase 1 shippers are subtractive, then the NJ portion is overbuilt.  In fact it’s entirely possible that the Phase 2 section is also the wrong length with the wrong interconnects, because some of them are likely satisfied already via Phase I (in particular NJNG’s).  
  7. As a result, given that a substantial amount of gas would flow into NJ via Adelphia Gateway, PennEast’s 2-phase application is completely incorrect and must be rejected.  The completely unaltered nature of Phase 2 from the original Certificate cannot stand in this abbreviated application due to the volumes of gas shipping into Adelphia.  

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Mike Spille

I'm a thinker, an analyzer, a synthesizer. Maybe not in that order. I live in West Amwell NJ with my wife Kristina, our two kids Day and Z, our two dogs Fern and Cinna, and two cats Ponce de Leon and Xavier.

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