WASHINGTON, Dec. 15, 2016 - For the first time since 2010, natural gas pipeline capacity in New England has increased. For many years, some points along pipelines in the region have reached full capacity utilization rates during the winter months, according to data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Spectra Energy Corporation has almost completed its first two natural gas pipeline projects in New England, adding capacity to the region’s constrained pipeline infrastructure system ahead of upcoming winter demand.

On Nov. 1, Spectra placed part of the Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) project into service, following the late-October approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The remainder of the project is expected to be completed this month.

The $972 million AIM project will bring New England additional natural gas from the Appalachian Basin.

It’s the largest pipeline project since 2007 to transport natural gas into New England from outside the region and will provide New England with an additional 342 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) of pipeline capacity.

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EIA notes that New England natural gas pipeline constraints have contributed to relatively volatile natural gas spot prices. Average monthly natural gas prices at the Algonquin Citygate, a trading hub indicative of Boston wholesale natural gas prices, reached $15 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) during the winters of 2013 and 2015 and $25/MMBtu during the winter of 2014.

Across the U.S., EIA data show that 10 natural gas pipeline projects have been completed or are expected to be completed before the end of 2016. In all, nearly 5.9 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of additional pipeline capacity will be placed in service throughout 2016.


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