CPES: Natural Gas Infrastructure Projects Serving Customers in Connecticut


On April 13, 2016, the Connecticut Power and Energy Society (CPES) heard from representatives of the natural gas industry on infrastructure projects progressing within Connecticut and throughout New England.

Left to Right:
Michael Dirrane, Steve Leahy, Cynthia Armstrong, Gregg Therrien,  Robert Perless,  Chris Luca

As background, moderator Stephen Leahy, Vice President of Policy & Analysis for the Northeast Gas Association, explained that there are five interstate natural gas pipelines serving New England: (1) the Algonquin Gas Transmission Pipeline, (2) the Tennessee Gas Pipeline, (3) the Iroquois Gas Transmission System, (4) the Portland Natural Gas Transmission System, and (5) the Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline. There are also several liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities serving the region, including Distrigas in Everett, Massachusetts and Canaport in Saint John, New Brunswick.

Michael Dirrane, Director of Marketing for Spectra Energy, discussed the infrastructure projects in progress and proposed along the Algonquin and Maritimes transmission systems, including the Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) project, the Atlantic Bridge project, and the Access Northeast project. According to Dirrane, the AIM project will add 20% more gas capacity to the Algonquin pipeline, enabling additional supplies of Marcellus Shale gas to reach customers in Connecticut. The project has an in-service date of November 2016.

Cynthia Armstrong, Director of Marketing & Business Development for Portland Natural Gas Transmission System (PNGTS), provided background on PNGTS, which began serving New England in 1999 and now consists of more than 300 miles of pipeline. She explained that PNGTS delivers gas into the Algonquin and Tennessee pipelines, back-feeding the region’s natural gas transmission system from the east.

Rob Perless, Project Development Manager for Iroquois Gas Transmission System, provided background on the Iroquois system, which commenced operations in 1991 and was designed to bring Canadian gas down to the New York and New England markets. Perless provided an update on the Constitution Pipeline project, which has faced significant regulatory delays in the State of New York. Perless also provided an update on the project Iroquois plans to submit in response to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s Request for Proposals (RFP) for natural gas expansion projects.

Gregg Therrien, Director of Gas Construction for Connecticut Natural Gas and The Southern Connecticut Gas Company, discussed expansion projects on the local gas distribution system in Connecticut. Many of these projects, he explained, were made possible by the 2013 Comprehensive Energy Strategy and legislation passed in 2014 to enable the recovery of costs associated with gas expansion projects over a 25-year period.

Christopher Luca, Program Manager of Gas Expansion for Eversource, discussed the Wilton, Connecticut expansion project, a 3.6-mile distribution system expansion project which began on August 1, 2014 and concluded on October 24, 2014. The project involved extensive community engagement to ensure construction met the Town’s desired timeline, particularly for a local school and the downtown business district. This project would not have been possible, Luca said, without the Comprehensive Energy Strategy and the legislation passed to implement it.