Archived Story

Input sought on gas pipeline expansion

Published 5:53pm Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The company that owns and operates a natural gas pipeline that runs through Chilton County and surrounding areas has scheduled an “open house” to inform residents about a proposed expansion of the pipeline.

The public open house is scheduled for 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Jan. 13 at Billingsley School, located at 2446 Autauga County Road 77.

The information meeting is intended to allow interested people an opportunity to review maps, learn about the regulatory process and provide feedback before the company, Williams, files a formal application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for the project, according to Williams spokesman Chris Stockton.

“The comments gathered during this planning phase will shape the project scope,” Stockton said.

Project plan: This map provided by Williams Transco shows the portion of the Hillabee Expansion that would affect Chilton County.
Project plan: This map provided by Williams Transco shows the portion of the Hillabee Expansion that would affect Chilton County.

Williams’ Transco pipeline was commissioned in 1950 and provides natural gas produced at sources near the Gulf Coast to 12 states in the Southeast and Northeast. The 10,200-mile pipeline system stretches from South Texas to New York City.

About 20 miles of the in-ground pipe lies in Southern and Southeastern Chilton County. One of many compressor stations, where the gas is pressurized to travel along the pipeline, is located in Billingsley.

Plans call for portions of the local pipeline to be expanded from 2017 to 2021.

The project is part of the planned “Hillabee Expansion,” which will add enough capacity to serve more than 4 million American homes annually, according to information provided by Williams. The expansion will connect Transco to a proposed Sabal Trail Pipeline, which would supply natural gas to customers in Florida.

“In order to feed that new pipeline, you’ve got to add capacity to the existing Transco system—adding a lane to the freeway, so to speak,” Stockton said.

The Hillabee Expansion would include eight new pipe sections, or “loops,” a new compressor facility in Choctaw County and modifications to existing compressor stations and valve sites.

Part of three of the proposed loops—where new pipes would be installed parallel to, and about 25 feet away from, existing pipe—would be in Chilton County.

Phase I of the project, to be in-service by 2017, would include pipe leading up to the compressor station in Billingsley. Phase II, to be in-service by 2020, would include about 4 miles of pipe in the Verbena area. Phase III, to be in-service by 2021, would include about 7.5 miles of pipe (going back and forth between Autauga and Chilton counties, going east from the compressor station in Billingsley.

The project would result in about 40 miles of new pipe and come with a price tag of about $425 million, Stockton said.

One day last week, the Transco pipleline delivered about 11 billion cubic feet of natural gas, Stockton said, setting a new record as customers dealing with winter weather relied on the gas to heat their homes and workplaces.

The expansion would add about 1 billion cubic feet of capacity.

The Transco pipeline is 42 inches in diameter and usually delivers about 9.8 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day.

For more information about the pipeline and the proposed expansion, visit WilliamsHill-abeeExpansion.com.

Williams has also set up a toll-free hotline (1-866-455-9103) and email address (PipelineExpansion@Williams.com) for anyone with questions or concerns about the project.

Property owners whose land would be affected by the expansion should have already been contacted by a Williams agent, Stockton said.

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