Spectra Energy Corp. (NYSE:SE) is an energy company that focuses on the transmission, distribution and gathering and processing of natural gas. Headquartered in Houston, Texas and with regional locations in Jersey City; Boston, Massachusetts; Casper, Wyoming; as well as four locations throughout Canada, the company recently completed its New Jersey-New York Expansion project, which is an extension of its Texas Eastern and Algonquin gas systems.
The expansion consists of approximately 20 miles of new pipeline spanning from Linden to Manhattan, new meter and regulating stations and modifications to existing facilities, all of which can supply customers up to 800 million cubic feet perday of natural gas, enough to heat 2 million homes per day.
“We saw a real need to develop another conduit into Northern New Jersey and New York City because, as one example, when it would get cold, the price of gas would go up markedly,” says Bill Yardley, president, US transmission and storage for Spectra Energy. “That is an indication that there is a bottleneck somewhere and we wanted to help relieve some of that.”
The $1.2-billion, privately funded expansion is not only bringing natural gas to homes and businesses throughout the northeast region, but it has created thousands of jobs and will deliver multiple environmental and economic benefits.
The project created approximately 1,300 construction jobs during the 18 months it took to install. And, according to Yardley, the expansion is projected to help save customers in New Jersey and New York an estimated $700 million annually in wholesale energy prices, with approximately “half ($350 million) of the savings benefitting New Jersey alone.”
Additionally, the pipeline will generate millions of dollars in tax revenue and will “help eliminate 6 million tons of carbon dioxide per year, the equivalent of removing 1 million cars from the road.” Spectra used nine Horizontal Directional Drills (HDDs), which allow the pipe to be installed and routed under roads and rivers. According to Yardley, the drilling at the crossing of the Kill Van Kull holds an industry record for the longest 30-inch HDD in North America – at 8,100 feet.
“Installing the pipeline in New Jersey and New York – under the Kill Van Kull and the Hudson River, for example – is much different than installing it in an empty field in Iowa. Here, we used the HDD technology for approximately 20 percent of the project,” Yardley says.
Overall, Yardley concludes, “The benefits of the pipeline are going to be huge. When you look at business, industry and even home customers, the savings they are going to see is going to be significant and welcome in a region that has one of the highest energy prices in the country. The more natural gas that gets into the region, the lower the prices are going to be. And, that is going to translate into a more competitive area for business and industry to operate.”