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Local News

December 28, 2013

Pipeline planners say delay is possible

The completion date for the proposed Constitution Pipeline could be delayed as a result of environmental review timetable issued by federal regulators, a spokeswoman for the project developers acknowledged Friday.

Christopher Stockton, spokesman for Houston-based Williams Partners, the lead investor in the nearly $700-million project, said the in-service date for the natural gas transmission system could be delayed past the original March 2015 target date as a result of the review schedule of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

While the target for getting the pipeline turned on remains March 2015, the projected wrap-up date remains under evaluation, he said in response to questions posed by The Daily Star.

His statement, along with an announcement by another investor in the project, Cabot Oil and Gas Corp., were the first public acknowledgements by the pipeline developers that the March 2015 completion date may not be achieved.

In a Dec. 19 announcement, Cabot — which is heavily involved in hydraulic fracturing for shale gas in Pennsylvania — downplayed the impact on the company should the Constitution Pipeline be delayed.

“...Any delay in the timing of in-service will not affect Cabot’s anticipated production growth in 2015 due to our diversity of takeaway options and the ample amount of lead time we have to plan around any schedule changes,” Cabot said then.

The company added: “We will continue to evaluate all opportunities to add incremental takeaway capacity, regardless of whether the timing of Constitution Pipeline’s in-service date is altered.”

The proposed pipeline would cut a 124-mile swath across fields, farms and forests at it connects Pennsylvania drilling operations to existing pipelines in Schoharie County. The project has stirred up considerable opposition from landowners who have refused to allow the engineers to conduct land surveys. But many other owners have acquiesced to the request for land access, and some have signed contracts giving easement rights to the company.

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