Garden State Expansion project

(FERC docket number CP18-18)

The Garden State Expansion project recently complet­ed construction of a new compressor station in Borden­town, which connects to the above-described Southern Reliability Link Pipeline, and increased the capacity of an existing compressor station in Mercer County. This is a Transco Williams FERC approved project. The com­pressor station has been built and is technically in op­eration – but won’t be in service until the SRL Pipeline, which is being challenged in the courts, is constructed. However, as noted below, this compressor can be used to support other pipelines.

Chesterfield and Bordentown Township continue to ap­peal both FERC’s approval of the compressor station itself and the New Jersey BPU’s approval of the Southern Reli­ability Link pipeline. Both towns and the New Jersey Sierra Club and Pinelands Preservation Alliance have also appealed the New Jersey Pinelands Commission vote to permit the pipeline to proceed through a portion of the protected Pinelands Reserve on the joint base.

Attorneys for Chesterfield and Bordentown townships, which opposed approval of the station and pipeline be­cause of the safety and pollution risks they may pose to nearby homes and businesses, sent their own letters to FERC arguing that allowing the station to go into ser­vice was “completely premature” given the uncertain status surrounding the Southern Reliability Link.

“As opponents have been arguing all along, with (the pipeline) there is no need for the GSE compressor in Chesterfield,” Chesterfield’s attorney John Gillespie wrote. “The GSE compressor was designed and con­structed in response to a single shipper’s request, and that single shipper’s project very realistically may nev­er come into existence.”

A March 19, 2018 article in Marcellus News stated that the lawsuit by Chesterfield and Bordentown asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit to overturn FERC’s previous decision to allow the project was unsuccessful.

The same article addressed the issue of this project being built only for the SRL pipeline saying, “So if the Southern Reliability Link pipeline isn’t yet built, where will the extra Marcellus molecules flowing through Transco’s pipeline go? Don’t worry–there’s plenty of other markets where Williams can sell the extra gas until the short pipeline through the scrub pines gets built.”

The new compressor station in Chesterfield can push gas north to the newly bi-directional Trenton Woodbury Line up to the expanded compressor station in Lawrence Town­ship (also part of the Garden Expansion) and would tie directly into the proposed Greenfield Compressor Station 206 in Somerset, described as part of the NESE project.

This compressor station can be used if SRL isn’t built. While Transco said it was just for SRL, it can tie into the Trenton Woodbury line (as stated above), it can get gas from Compressor station #200 in Chester County PA (also included in the NESE project) and it could receive gas from PennEast.

The EIA data base shows two Garden State Expansion phases as follows:

  • Phase 1, completed 9/9/17, 20 MMcf/d
  • Phase 2, completed 3/16/18, 120 MMcf/d

Articles on this project consistently show that its total capacity is 180 MMcfd (million cubic feet per day).

The FERC Environmental Assessment (docket no. CP15- 89-000) shows total annual GHG CO2e emissions from operation of the compressors of 39,174 tons per year (0.04M tons per year). This is very low compared to oth­er compressors because these are electric-driven and do not burn methane for power. Emissions are mainly from blowdowns and methane leaks at the compressor. The EA does not have separate measures of CO2 or methane.

While this project is a compressor station the additional gas (180 MMcfd) will be transported by pipelines. There­fore, it is appropriate to compute the GHG emissions of this additional gas associated with these compressors.

Based on the assumptions described in Appendix I of our report, the estimated GHG emissions would be:

  • Emissions from the combustion of the gas the com­pressor/pipeline would carry = 3.53 MMt (million metric tons) CO2
  • Total emissions from methane leaked across the gas supply chain (extraction to consumption) (Pennsyl­vania and New Jersey) = 2.55 MMt CO2e
  • Emissions from methane leaked during transportation and consumption in New Jersey = 0.43 MMt CO2e
  • Total emissions from compressor/pipeline in New Jersey = 4.00 MMt CO2e