A consortium of New Jersey and Pennsylvania utilities that wants to develop a 105-mile Marcellus Shale natural gas pipeline says it has received enough commitments from shippers to move ahead with the $1 billion project.
PennEast Pipeline Co. L.L.C. says it received binding bids for nearly one billion cubic feet a day of gas on the pipeline, which would start in Luzerne County and terminate in the Trenton area.
About half of the pipeline's capacity is committed to serve utilities associated with the four companies funding the project.
PennEast is a joint project of affiliates of UGI Corp., South Jersey Gas, New Jersey Natural Gas, and Elizabethtown Gas in New Jersey. UGI Energy Services of Wyomissing, Pa., would build and operate the pipeline.
The proposed route would touch northern Bucks County before crossing the Delaware River and cutting across Hunterdon County, ending in Mercer County.
The company says an existing power plant and several delivery points were being considered along the proposed route.
PennEast has not yet filed formal plans with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which would approve or deny the 30-inch-diameter pipeline. Patricia Kornick, a spokeswoman, said a minimum of four open-house meetings were in the works for November to explain details to the public.
Pipeline surveyors are scoping out a route, leaving fliers on the doors of property owners, and creating some alarm about the extent of the pipeline's need for easements. Construction would begin in 2017.
Pipeline opponents are already organizing resistance. The New Jersey Sierra Club and Delaware Riverkeeper Network have announced a Sept. 15 forum in Lambertville to educate landowners about their rights.
The pipeline is the latest effort to replumb the region's infrastructure in response to the dramatic shifts in national energy markets triggered by the shale-gas boom. Gas drilling has slowed in the Marcellus region as hundreds of completed wells wait for pipelines to be built to carry the product to market.
More information is on the company's website: www.penneastpipeline.com.