Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) has secured approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to commission Phase 1B of the $4.2bn Rover pipeline.

The addition of the Phase 1B facilities enables the 1,146km pipeline to transport up to 1.7 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas, while taking the project closer to its 3.25 billion cubic feet per day capacity.

The Rover Pipeline is an interstate natural gas pipeline system, designed to transport natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica Shale areas to the US markets and also to the Union Gas Dawn Storage Hub in the Canadian province of Ontario.

Following the commissioning of Phase 1B, the shippers of the pipeline would gain access to six more receipt points from Seneca via Clarington areas of the Marcellus and Utica supply basins. The incremental receipt capacity will be 2.45 billion cubic feet per day, stated ETP.

Since late August, the Rover pipeline had commenced partial service from Cadiz to Defiance in Ohio with a capability of transporting 1 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas.

The final phase of the pipeline is anticipated to begin operations by the end of the first quarter of 2018.

In October, ETP received approval from FERC to commence operations at three compressor units on the Rover pipeline at the Mainline Compressor Station 1 located in Ohio’s Carroll County. Phase 1A of the pipeline project had started operations in late August.

Prior to that, in August, ETP agreed to sell 32.44% stake in an entity associated with the Rover pipeline project to Blackstone for a sum of $1.57bn.

The Rover pipeline project is being constructed by HoldCo and Rover Pipeline. It will run through Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and Michigan and is expected to transport supply cheap, reliable and locally sourced natural gas to distribution points in western Ohio, Michigan, West Virginia and Canada.