SNL Energy - The Spectra decade: Company transformed pipeline world in 10-year run

February 8, 2017 – SNL Energy

The Spectra decade: Company transformed pipeline world in 10-year run

By: Sean Sullivan

Spectra Energy Corp became an independent company in 2007 and will end its run not far into 2017 when it becomes part of Enbridge Inc. At the close of that period, just a little more than the time given to a two-term president, Spectra Energy has made an extensive case that companies leave legacies.

In the decade of operations since Spectra Energy spun off from Duke Energy Corp., the company has put in place about $19 billion in infrastructure, including major interstate pipeline and storage facilities that move natural gas, natural gas liquids and oil for customers in North America. The new infrastructure added to a core of assets strung between and through some of the best production zones and market centers in the country: the U.S. Northeast, the Marcellus Shale before it was the Marcellus Shale, Texas, eastern Canada and western Canada…

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…Partnerships have allowed Spectra Energy to bring projects together without straying far from deadlines set at the start of development. "That's quite a difference from what you see across the rest of the industry in the last 10 years," Ebel said.

Rick Smead, managing director for advisory services at RBN Energy LLC, backed up the idea that "excellence of project development" set Spectra Energy aside from other pipeline companies.

"It's been one of the most aggressive and successful growth pipelines in the country," Smead said. "Compared with its peers, Spectra is one of the best at managing the political and grassroots process of project development."

Long before any impact on the ground, Smead said, Spectra Energy has a program to reach out to communities and talk with stakeholders. The program was one of many improvements Spectra Energy made after a Southeast header project ran into cost overruns 10 years ago. "That caused Spectra to re-evaluate its whole project development process and to hire a vice president of project execution," Smead said. "What that has done is allow them to execute very successfully and very economically on projects, so that's been a real success story."

The ground game for developers of pipeline projects can be a fierce contest. In the Northeast, for example, businesses and energy consumer groups, construction unions, gas utilities and some electric utilities tend to support new gas pipeline infrastructure. Landowners along a proposed pipeline route, environmental groups, many power generators and LNG import terminal operators tend to oppose such projects. There are lawmakers on both sides.