Williams Partners has secured an approval from the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission(FERC) for the $3bn Atlantic Sunrise natural gas pipeline expansion.

The project involves expansion of the existing Transco natural gas pipeline required to connect the abundant, cost-effective Marcellus gas supplies in Pennsylvania with markets in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern US.

The expansion of the existing Transco natural gas pipeline is designed to increase deliveries by 1.7 billion cubic feet per day.

Williams Partners Atlantic-Gulf operating area senior vice-president Rory Miller said: “While we are still reviewing details of the certificate order, we are pleased FERC has approved this much-needed energy infrastructure project which will leverage existing infrastructure to help millions of Americans gain access to affordable Pennsylvania-produced natural gas.”

“Today, Pennsylvania is the second-largest producer of natural gas in the US. Projects like Atlantic Sunrise will help the state maximize the tremendous economic benefits that this local resource holds.”

Expected to create 8,000 jobs, the project is scheduled to be commissioned in mid-2018.

Williams Partners plans to commence construction on the mainline portion of the project facilities in mid-2017, upon securing all necessary regulatory approvals.

Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry president and CEO Gene Barr said: “Williams' Atlantic Sunrise pipeline project is a nearly $3 billion investment that will encourage continued production of natural gas in the shale regions and investment in manufacturing throughout Pennsylvania.

“Infrastructure like this is needed to strengthen our energy portfolio, which also includes coal, nuclear and renewables.”

The project compromises approximately 200 miles of pipe, including about 185 miles of new natural gas pipeline in Pennsylvania, 11 miles of pipeline looping in Pennsylvania, 2.5 miles of pipeline replacements in Virginia and associated equipment and facilities.

Image: Pennsylvania is said to be the second-largest natural gas producer in the US. Photo: courtesy of supakitmod/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.