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Dominion releases update on pipeline

Dominion says it has secured 20-year customer agreements for 96 percent of the capacity of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP).

“Our customers are the largest electric and gas utilities in Virginia and North Carolina, and together they serve millions of customers every day,” said Diane Leopold, president of Dominion Energy, in a conference call with members of the media Tuesday. “Our customer agreements clearly demonstrate the urgent public need for this project and the tangible benefits it will provide to millions of energy consumers in the region.”

ACP is a joint effort — being led by Dominion — to build a 550-mile natural gas pipeline through West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina.

The pipeline, if approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), would span Buckingham, Cumberland and Prince Edward counties.

“Over the last 18 months, we have surveyed more than 450 miles of the proposed route, and we’ve evaluated more than 6,000 miles of potential routes, in order to choose the best path,” Leopold said. “We’ve performed those surveys with the permission of the overwhelming majority of landowners. We’ve received permission to survey about 90 percent of the originally proposed route, and we’re already making significant progress in obtaining permission to survey the alternative routes we’ve adopted in the last month or so.”

She said the data Dominion has collected has helped improve the route in many ways.

“We’ve made numerous major route adjustments and hundreds of minor modifications to avoid or minimize impacts to sensitive areas. While there are still additional areas that we need to survey, particularly along the alternative routes, we are very pleased with the progress we’ve made so far.”

Easements have been signed with more than 500 landowners, she said. “For a project that is more than two years away from being in service, that is a sign of significant progress.”

Dominion has taken steps to secure the materials it needs to build the pipeline, Leopold said during the call. “In February of last year, we announced an agreement with Pennsylvania-based Dura-Bond Industries to manufacture more than $400 million of steel pipe for the project. Beginning in just a few weeks, our large-diameter pipe will begin rolling off the assembly line at Dura-Bond’s mill in Steelton, Pa., and the manufacturing process will continue over the next 12 months.”

In September, she said Dominion filed a certificate application with the FERC.

“After reviewing our application and receiving input from stakeholders, last December FERC requested that we provide some additional information to supplement the application. Over the last few months, we have provided this information, including evaluating several alternative routes to address agency and public input. A significant part of that effort involved working with the U.S. Forest Service to identify an alternative route that avoids sensitive areas in the national forests.”

She said Dominion anticipates completing its responses to FERC in April.

“We are confident the agency will be in a position to complete a draft Environmental Impact Statement, which is the next important milestone for the project. We believe that will put us on track to receive a certificate in ample time to keep us on schedule to reach our in-service date at the end of 2018.”