Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Little Known Facts about the Rockaway Lateral Project

1. A draft EIS was issued not for the Rockaway Project alone, but rather for two projects, the Rockaway Lateral and Northeast Connector projects. The title of the draft EIS states this clearly.

2.The Rockaway Lateral Project and the Northeast Connector are only in small part about increased supplies of gas as even FERC clearly states in the draft EIS for these projects.

3. Of recently approved or proposed expansions into the New York City area, (already approved and running as of late 2013, both Spectra's expansion and Williams other expansion, which combined provide over 1 billion cubic feet of new capacity) the Rockaway Lateral plus Northeast Connector are the projects that provide the least amount of incremental gas supply into NYC.

3. Or as FERC puts it:  "According to Transco, the Projects would ...:
 provide firm delivery lateral service of 647 thousand dekatherms per day (Mdth/d) of
natural gas to National Grid’s distribution system on the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens
County, New York through the Rockaway Project;
 provide as part of the 647 Mdth/d, 100 Mdth/d of new incremental (i.e., additional)
natural gas supply to National Grid through the Northeast Connector Project; and
 enhance the security and reliability of National Grid’s distribution system by providing
a new delivery point on the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens County that would allow
National Grid to shift existing volumes of natural gas supply from an existing delivery
point in Long Beach in Nassau County, New York.

4. Every resource report for the Rockaway Lateral project alone said the rockaway lateral would provide 647 mdth/d, 100 Mdth/d of new incremental (ie additional) natural gas supply and yet the draft EIS for the Rockaway Lateral and Northeast connector provide exactly what Transco claimed the Rockaway Lateral alone was providing. Did Transco give any information about the Northeast Connector in their 7c application? Nah. Should they have? According to these regulations, the answer appears to be yes.

5. The Rockaway project and Northeast Connector are according to FERC 85% about redistributing existing supplies. Or specifically as they say" We note that a small portion (about 15 percent by volume) of the natural gas to be provided by the Projects to National Grid is incremental (i.e., additional).The majority (about 85 percent by volume) is replacement gas, which currently is provided to National Grid via the existing delivery point in Long Beach." According to Williams this redistribution will occur during peak demand periods.

6. Coincidentally, Port Ambrose is a deepwater port project which aims to deliver imported gas that is converted from liquid to gas  into the exact same 26 inch pipe that the Rockaway Lateral is being built off. And coincidentally of course,that project is also described specifically for peak periods. The MAOP (960 psi), diameter (26 inches) for the existing New York Lower Bay Lateral, the Rockaway Lateral expansion and the new pipeline that is part of Port Ambrose project are all the same dimensions.

7. The Port Ambrose application predates the Rockaway Lateral formal 7C application by more than three months. Yet Transco claimed to have no knowledge of any potential tie-ins to their existing lateral by LNG companies when they submitted their application in January 2013. Does it seem likely from how Port Ambrose describes their project that it can be built as described without the Rockaway Lateral Project? Not without some serious alteration to Williams and National Grid's existing infrastructure it doesn't.

8. Is above ground infrastructure like this metering and regulating station which is about the size of a football field typically placed in parks or recreation areas? Nah not according to these federal regulations. In historic hangars in a federal park as an adaptive reuse and supposed park improvement? Probably a first.

The rockaway project was complicated when it just involved Williams expansion, National Grid's BQI and a bill. The project was in pre-file an extraordinarily long time and there is still 4 and half years later information on the environmental effect of the HDD exit pit that is outstanding and a lot of confusion about what it does or doesn't do. Nearly two weeks after a draft EIS that is the size of a large telephone book in print was released, Williams revealed that agencies had been in discussion on an entirely new construction time frame for the work at Riis and offshore. The new time frame? Memorial Day through Labor Day or here on the east coast what is known as prime beach season.

Has this project been accurately described by activists or covered properly in the news? Not by a long shot. Think you will read any of this somewhere else? Nah. With the exception that is of the FERC docket for the project. (CP13-36).

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