Williams representatives were on hand at Triton Hose Company in Tunkhannock on Wednesday, providing information on the next phase of the Atlantic Sunrise natural gas pipeline project.
Williams spokesman Michael Atchie informed local elected officials and community leaders that the primary installation work is scheduled to begin very soon on the laying of a 185-mile pipeline starting around Lenox in Susquehanna County and crossing through Nicholson, Clinton, Overfield, Falls, Eaton, Northmoreland and Monroe townships in Wyoming County, and running south to Lancaster County.
Atchie reported that the $3 billion projected is expected to generate economic benefits for the affected areas, with workers eating in local restaurants, staying in motels, and using other facilities. In Wyoming County, it is anticipated the project will bring in approximately $23 million, and $27 million to Luzerne County.
Once completed, the extension will allow natural gas to be transported to a major pipeline, which will in turn transport it as far south as Alabama, Atchie explained.
Construction will occur in several steps, with stringent guidelines required through all phases of the project.
Pre-construction surveys are already being conducted along construction areas to mark utility lines and agricultural drainages. All crews are required to take safety classes before they are permitted to work at a site, he said. Any person on the site can issue a stop work order if they determine there is a problem. Every single weld will be x-rayed, and then a coating applied to the weld.
“Williams is building the line to last several decades,” he explained.
The work will be done in seven spreads, with a different construction company working simultaneously on each spread. This allows the extension to be completed more quickly, he said.
There will be 45 to 50 inspectors at each spread - and the territory in Susquehanna and Wyoming counties is a single spread - keeping watch on such areas as utility, ditching, welding, and coatings. Each section of pipe will undergo a hydrostatic test, in which water will be injected with at least one-and-a-half times the pressure of natural gas.
Williams is also working to insure the project will have a minimal environmental impact, Atchie said.
Atchie informed those in attendance that elected officials will probably be contacted by affected land owners with questions about the project.
He recommended that property owners be encouraged to work closely with their land agents. Should the land owners not receive satisfactory information, they can contact Williams’ representatives directly to discuss their concerns.
“They can talk to us, and we’ll talk to them,” Atchie explained. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to develop a good working relationship.”
For,er state trooper Bradley Shatinsky, a supervisor for Global Security, which is overseeing the project’s security, said that while there’s been little evidence of opposition to Atlantic Sunrise in the north, Williams has had to deal with protestors in the southern section of the state.
In those circumstances, Global employees work with the state police and other law enforcement agencies to deal with whatever situation may arise, Shatinsky said.
One question raised is when is the project expected to be completed in Wyoming County. Atchie said it will take about a year, with the installation completed by June 2018, followed by land restoration.
He noted that work will be going on simultaneously in separate spreads.
At the end of the presentation, Bill desRosiers, External Affairs Coordinator for Cabot Oil and Gas, said that the company is currently producing natural gas at maximum available pipeline capacity.
Once the Atlantic Sunrise project is open, Cabot anticipates being able to take advantage of new and underdeveloped markets.
“There will be a drive to increase production, and Cabot will work to meet market demands,” he said.
When the project was originally announced in 2014, Williams noted it had contracts in place to move about 1.7 million cubic feet of Marcellus gas, once the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline is functional.
Half of that capacity would be provided by Cabot and a quarter of it was to be provided by Chief.