Multiparty Settlement Ensures Gas Flows to Northeastern Markets
As development of the Marcellus shale natural gas formation accelerated in 2010, Texas Eastern Transmission, a major interstate pipeline, and its large utility customers began to develop new quality specifications for natural gas shipped on the pipeline. Although Appalachian natural gas has long included high concentrations of ethane, and that gas previously met pipeline quality specifications and posed no threat to pipelines or consumer equipment, the large utilities wanted the ethane removed from the gas stream – at the producer's cost. The principal market for ethane is the petrochemical manufacturing region in Texas and Louisiana and there is no existing pipeline or other reasonable means of shipping the ethane. Representing long-time gas producer association clients Independent Oil & Gas Association of West Virginia, Inc. and Independent Oil & Gas Association of Pennsylvania, Pierce Atwood led the efforts to forge a multiparty settlement of the quality specifications at FERC. Pierce Atwood's efforts avoided costly litigation and secured the producers and pipelines upstream of Texas Eastern significant flexibility and gas quality standards that ensure Marcellus shale gas and traditional Appalachian supplies will meet pipeline specifications and flow to critical northeastern market.