Williams, a natural gas company based in Tulsa, Okla., is in the pre-filing stages of a project it has named the Dalton Expansion. Branching off a natural gas pipeline running from the Gulf of Mexico to the Northeast, it would run from south of Atlanta into Murray County. The proposed extension’s length would be approximately 116 miles.
“It’s a natural gas pipeline, and it will start in Newnan at Coweta County and it will go up to Murray County,” said Williams Senior Communication Specialist Sara Delgado. “So it’s passing through this county and, really, it’s going to be about 25 miles or so in Bartow County that we’re proposing to build. Here we’ve invited landowners and the community to come out and ask questions.”
In addition to flyers and boards describing the application process Williams will have to go through with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission — which oversees interstate natural gas line construction and operation in the U.S — as well as the construction process. FERC representatives were on hand to answer questions, while Williams provided aerial images and electronic records to show landowners how the proposed line may affect their property.
“We’re really looking at about a 600-foot swatch of land. It’s a study corridor. ... Again, it’s proposed. We’re very, very early in the process, and so we’ll ... show people this is that study corridor and this would be the center line that’s proposed. Really the route, about 90 percent of the route is following existing utility corridors, so power lines or other natural gas pipelines,” said Delgado.
The pipeline, if built, would serve Atlanta Gas Light and Oglethorpe Power, which have expressed interest in purchasing natural gas from Williams. Company representatives said Williams does not add capacity without first having demand for that capacity. The project update outlines Bartow County’s section of the Dalton Expansion would be .44 miles of 24-inch pipe, which would narrow to 20-inch pipe for the remaining 24.3 miles of line in the county. A meter station would be built in Bartow County as well.
Monday night’s information open house was designed to both inform residents about the proposed line and its easements as well as hear feedback. Project managers, engineers and other Williams employees on hand answered questions and heard residents’ concerns, which focused on the precise areas the lines would be built, safety and if the line could be shifted off the proposed course. Williams employees emphasized the project was in the pre-planning stages.
“We’re getting ready to start our environmental surveys, and so we have folks here and they do biological, archeological [studies]. They’re looking at wetlands, waterbodies. They’re looking at the constructibility of certain areas and determining ... where the route should go, really,” Delgado said.
After the pre-filing, Williams will file an application with FERC and it will undergo a review period, where residents can make their views known. The entire process, from pre-filing to construction may take approximately three years, Delgado said.
“Well we would be filing our application with the FERC in February of 2015, so we’ll be studying and studying and looking at it for the next eight months. Then once we’ve done that ... if everything goes well ... our application is approved, then we would start construction in April of 2016 and we would expect this to be in service May of 2017,” she said.
According to a Williams update on the Dalton project, the company delivers 12 percent of the natural gas consumed in the U.S. and operates approximately 15,000 miles of gas pipeline. Of the company’s lines, approximately 10,200 miles makes up the Transco pipeline the Dalton project would be connected to.
For more information on the Dalton Expansion project, visit Williams’ website at www.williams.com/dalton. To follow the regulatory process and gain additional information from FERC on the project, visit www.ferc.gov. The agency’s elibrary, under the “Documents & Filings” tab, offers additional information on the proposed project. The Dalton Expansion’s docket number is PF14-10.