Viw of pipeline construction tibu/iStock/Thinkstock
NO DIGGING YET: Construction of the Delmarva Pipeline may be at least several years off due to multiple regulatory processes.

190-mile natural gas pipeline planned for rural Delmarva

The proposed pipeline would cut south through the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

Last fall, the Delmarva Pipeline company announced plans for a 180- to 190-mile natural gas pipeline originating at Rising Sun, Md., and extending down the Eastern Shore to Accomack, Va. As proposed, it would go through substantial farmland.

H4 Capital Partners has reportedly spent the past four years planning its $1.3 billion subsidiary project. Now, they’re ready to file plans with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to make it happen. The plan is to get the pipeline built and in-service by late 2020 or early 2021.

The pipeline would hook to an existing natural gas pipeline in Cecil County, Md., then run south through Maryland. It would traverse eight of the Eastern Shore’s nine counties, paralleling Route 13 south of Salisbury, and bringing natural gas to the last three Maryland counties devoid of distribution lines: Kent, Queen Anne’s and Somerset.

THE ROUTE? The proposed pipeline would run from Rising Sun, Md., toward Denton then on past Salisbury to Accomack, Va.

The pipeline will enable North Carolina-based Spectrum Energy to build a natural gas power plant in Denton in Caroline County, Md. It would measure 24 inches across at the north end and gradually narrow to 8 inches near its terminus in Accomack County just south of the Perdue Farms plant, explains Jerry Sanders, one of the H4 partners.

Now comes the make-or-break part
Winning approval from a slew of state and federal regulators, landowners and interest groups within the project corridor won’t be easy, concedes Sanders. But Somerset County, Md., and Accomack County, Va., currently have no access to piped natural gas.

Absence of natural gas is hindering overall economic development in those counties, he contends. “[The pipeline] will result in less-expensive energy costs on the peninsula.”

“We have supported it from day one,” says Michael Mason, Accomack County’s administrator. The pipeline is expected to create jobs, he adds, “and then there’s the multiplier effect that would be happening.”

The project is likely to wind up in a lengthy permitting review in Maryland. Maps of the pipeline suggest it will have to cross several rivers that feed into the Chesapeake Bay, and it’ll encounter wetlands, according to Maryland Department of the Environment spokesman Jay Apperson.

Sanders says his company plans to tunnel beneath rivers and wetlands to avoid such conflicts to the greatest extent possible. Maryland records show that H4 first registered as a corporation last May. This is its first pipeline project.

While there was no mention of the natural gas source to feed this pipeline, there’s little doubt it’ll come from the Marcellus Shale region of Pennsylvania.

Source: Marcellus Drilling News

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