Rainbow Connection, Part 2 - Columbia Gas/Gulf Expansions Boost Louisiana Gas Inflows

TC Energy’s Columbia Gas and Columbia Gulf natural gas transmission systems’ recent expansions out of the Northeast — the Mountaineer Xpress and Gulf Xpress projects, both completed in March — are responsible for a large portion of the uptick in Marcellus/Utica production in the last few months and they’ve added an incremental 860 MMcf/d of capacity for Appalachian gas supplies moving south to the Gulf Coast. The two projects join a number of other expansions in recent years that have inextricably tied Marcellus/Utica supply markets to attractive demand markets along the Texas and Louisiana coasts. Where is that latest surge of southbound supply ending up? Today, we look at the downstream impacts of the completed projects, namely on Louisiana gas flows and LNG feedgas deliveries.

We began in Part 1 with a recap of the recent pipeline expansions completed on TC Energy’s Columbia Gas and Columbia Gulf transmission systems — or TCO and CGT, respectively — to allow for southbound flows out of the Marcellus/Utica producing area to Louisiana. These are the latest (and among the last) of the big takeaway expansions of the Northeast to come online this decade. They’re also among the number of projects in recent years that have increased the interconnectivity between the Northeast and Gulf Coast markets, with implications for prices and flows on both ends of the transportation routes that connect them (see Here I Am, Baby and Look How Far We’ve Come). TC Energy in late 2017/early 2018 completed a pair of projects: Leach Xpress (LXP), which expanded TCO by 1.5 Bcf/d from Marshall County, WV, to southwest to an interconnect with CGT in Leach, KY, and Rayne Xpress (RXP), which enabled an incremental 1 Bcf/d to flow south CGT’s Mainline capacity from Leach, KY, to Rayne, LA.

Those two expansions were followed earlier this year with the completion of two more projects. One was Mountaineer Xpress (MXP), which expanded TCO’s supply receipt capacity by another 2.7 Bcf/d, including the ability to deliver another 860 MMcf/d into Leach; the other was Gulf Xpress (GXP), which expanded CGT’s southbound capacity by that same 860 MMcf/d from Leach to delivery locations in Mississippi, Louisiana and other Gulf Coast demand markets, including CGT’s mainline pool in Humphreys County, MS; CGT’s Rayne station in Acadia Parish, LA; Williams Transco Pipeline’s Evangeline station in Evangeline Parish, LA; Florida Natural Gas’s Lafayette Station in Lafayette Parish, LA; and Southern Natural Gas’s Shadyside station in St. Mary Parish, LA.

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