National Fuel Northern Access

National Fuel - Updated 4/12/2017

After the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Approval of National Fuel's Privately Funded $455 Million Dollar Northern Access Project (see below). New York State DEC has denied certificates to cross various waterways halting the project.
     NYSDEC Denial ; NFG Response  

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Approves National Fuel's $455 Million Northern Access Project

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Buffalo-based National Fuel Gas Supply Corporation ("Supply") and Empire Pipeline, Inc. ("Empire"), both wholly-owned subsidiaries of National Fuel Gas Company ("National Fuel") (NYSE:NFG), today received notice that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ("FERC") has approved their application to construct the Northern Access 2016 Project ("Northern Access Project" or "Project"). The Project, an expansion of the interstate natural gas pipeline infrastructure systems of Supply and Empire, will transport domestically-produced natural gas and provide a reliable, low-cost source of energy for residential and commercial customers throughout the North American pipeline system.

"As a Buffalo-based company that built, owns and operates nearly 10,000 miles of pipeline in New York state, FERC's approval of the Northern Access Project is an important next step in our ability to continue to invest in the essential pipeline infrastructure serving New York state and interconnected markets"

The Northern Access Project consists of approximately 97 miles of new pipeline to be constructed within McKean County, Pa., and the counties of Allegheny, Cattaraugus, Erie, N.Y., and approximately two miles of new pipeline to be constructed in Niagara County, N.Y. The Project also includes the addition of compression facilities at an existing compressor station in Erie County and construction of a new compressor station and a new dehydration facility, both in Niagara County. The pipeline will be integrated with the existing National Fuel pipeline network, providing for increased reliability to the Western New York natural gas markets.

Once completed, the Northern Access Project will provide in total 490,000 Ditch/day of incremental firm transportation capacity on Supply. Of the Project capacity, 140,000 Dth/day will be delivered to the Tennessee Gas Pipeline 200 Line, serving New York state and New England markets, and the remaining 350,000 Dth/day of incremental firm transportation capacity will be delivered to Empire's pipeline system, providing access to New York state, Canadian, Northeast and Midwest U.S. markets.

"We continue to make progress working through the various federal, state and local regulatory processes, and this authorization keeps us on track for our recently announced in-service date during the second quarter of our 2018 fiscal year. National Fuel will invest nearly a half billion dollars to construct the facilities necessary to transport this critical source of natural gas to the Northeast U.S. and eastern Canadian markets," said Ronald Kraemer, senior vice president at Supply and president at Empire. "As the northeast becomes increasingly more reliant on this nearby supply source, and in order to meet the growing demand from residential and commercial customers as well as from electric utilities that are replacing their coal-fired electric plants with natural gas-fired generation, the infrastructure required to provide these supplies must be built."

The Northern Access Project will have more than a $930 million economic impact, both direct and indirect, with approximately $735 million of the impact taking place in New York state. A private sector investment by National Fuel, it will be financed without government subsidies or economic incentives. Job totals will peak during the construction phase as the Project's workforce is estimated at 1,680 jobs, 75 percent of which will be in New York. The Buffalo, Niagara County and Southwestern Building, and Construction Trades Councils recently announced an agreement with the National Fuel subsidiaries on the use of local union labor within New York. Pipeline construction in Pennsylvania will also employ union labor. The Project also supports new and growing employment at National Fuel.

Locally, the Project is estimated to increase annual property taxes receipts for New York's four counties by approximately $11.8 million, with an additional one-time sales tax impact of approximately $6.6 million for those same four counties. Twelve local school districts within those New York counties will benefit from the annual incremental tax dollars that can be allocated towards capital or infrastructure projects, restoring or enhancing academic programs or staffing levels.

"As a Buffalo-based company that built, owns and operates nearly 10,000 miles of pipeline in New York state, FERC's approval of the Northern Access Project is an important next step in our ability to continue to invest in the essential pipeline infrastructure serving New York state and interconnected markets," said Ronald J. Tanski, president and chief executive officer of National Fuel Gas Company. "While the state and nation continue their transition to more renewable energy generation, natural gas will continue to be a critical component of America's energy supply, economic health and national security. Equally, it's integral to the New York state economy, as the use of natural gas and the pipeline infrastructure that brings gas from neighboring states not only delivers clean, homegrown, abundant and affordable energy, but also provides good-paying jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for communities. We have 740,000 utility customers that depend on us to keep them safe and warm each winter. We want to make sure we have the pipeline infrastructure available to meet their expectations"

During the more than 31 months of the FERC review process for this Project, community input relative to the pipeline route, noise, emissions, property values, lighting, security and environmental impacts were taken into consideration and incorporated into the design of the Northern Access Project facilities. Examples include pipeline route modifications based on landowner requests where possible and feasible, relocation of the proposed compressor station in Pendleton, N.Y., to an industrially-zoned area, relocation of the proposed dehydration facility to an existing industrial park, use of state-of-the-art sound and emissions reduction technologies at above ground facility sites, and the incorporation of an agricultural exterior design for the proposed Pendleton Compressor Station to enhance the aesthetics for the facility.

National Fuel reviewed and responded to hundreds of questions and comments submitted by residents and community groups throughout the lengthy FERC review process, all of which are well-documented and posted on the FERC eLibrary website,, and on the Northern Access Project website,

National Fuel is a diversified energy company headquartered in Western New York that operates an integrated collection of natural gas and oil assets across five business segments: Exploration and Production, Pipeline and Storage, Gathering, Utility, and Energy Marketing. Additional information about National Fuel is available at

Past Announcements

Environmental Impact Study National Fuel Northern Access 
  • I wanted to let the Town Board know that National Fuel filed its Air Permit application with the DEC yesterday for the Wheatfield Dehydration Facility. A copy is attached.

    I would like to point out that National Fuel was able to get a revised manufacturer guarantee on the thermal oxidizer of ≥ 99.9% (see page 3 of the attached), which further brings down the Potential to Emit (PTE) emissions for the facility. At the time of the Wheatfield public meeting, National Fuel had a manufacturer guarantee of 99%, which resulted in a request from the Planning Board to seek further solutions.

    Also note on page 3 that "although the manufacturer will only guarantee 99.9% or greater destruction efficiency for the proposed thermal oxidizer, independent emissions testing completed for a similar unit has demonstrated an actual destruction efficiency of 99.995%".

    Overall, the PTE levels for Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs) are very, very low (Total HAPs of 0.11 tons/year and Benzene emissions of < 0.01 tons/year). See page 29 and 30 for the tables. These PTE numbers are based off the facility operating continuously. These numbers are also significantly less than those that appeared in Resource Report (RR) 9 (attached for reference), as part of our initial FERC application (Total HAPs of 2.0 tons/year and Benzene of 1.3 tons/year), which were preliminary. I would remind the Town, as we described in our public meeting on January 13, 2016, based on last year's operating history we would expect the facility would have only been required to operate 2 days during the year - as the facility is designed to operate only when the moisture content of the gas is above 4 lbs./MMcf.

    This news further demonstrates National Fuel's commitment to work with communities it does business in and address concerns raised throughout the regulatory process and limit any impacts on the community.

    Patrick M. Kelly Jr.
    Government Affairs Representative
    National Fuel
    • National Fuel Gas Supply Corporation and Empire Pipeline, Inc. (collectively “National Fuel”) hereby submit for filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission their responses (16 MB PDF) to the “Staffs” environmental data request issued on February 10, 2016.
    • Answer's to Questions (PDF) from all public meetings Updated 2/11/16 
    • Map of pipeline (PDF) Updated 2/10/16
    • Project target in service date Updated 2/9/16
    • National Fuel will hold a public information forum to discuss the Company's proposed Dehydration Facility on Wednesday, Jan. 13th, from 6 - 9 p.m. at the Wheatfield Community Center. More


    •  Below are the questions from January 2016
    • Q.  Are there any different chemicals in natural gas derived from fracking as compared with gas from more traditional means?

      First, it bears mentioning that virtually all of the gas burned today throughout the entire National Fuel Gas Distribution system (including Wheatfield) is gas produced by hydraulic fracturing - in fact most of the supply for the US northeast (and increasing amounts of eastern Canada) is from the Marcellus or Utica shale's produced through hydraulic fracturing.

      Natural Gas is mostly methane and may have some minor amounts of other heavier hydrocarbons such as ethane, propane, butane, and pentane. The "chemicals" referred to in hydrofracking would be carried up the well bore, during natural gas production along with the water present in the natural formation, and in the water used to hydraulically fracture the formation. The chemicals would be extremely diluted and the free (liquid) water removed at the wellhead in a separator (Pennsylvania). The gas is then sent through a gathering pipeline system (Pennsylvania). 

      Q. How, where are the salts and chemicals used in fracking removed from the product which runs through the pipeline in Wheatfield?

      A.  Before that gas is delivered to the interstate pipeline system:

      -Heavy hydrocarbons are removed in a processing plant (if necessary - this gas in central PA does not need to be processed), 
      -Any remaining free liquid is removed in a separator, and 
      -The gas is sent through a glycol dehydrator. The dehydrator removes water vapor down to no more than 7 lbs./MMcfd - usually down to around 2 or 3 lbs./MMcfd. That gas is pipeline quality gas - as burned in household appliances. 

      The Wheatfield dehydrator is "belts and suspenders", required to assure that if the gas is routed to the TransCanada Pipeline we can meet their 4 lbs./MMcfd requirement. To the extent any heavy hydrocarbons or other chemicals remain in the gas stream, even after the extensive processes prior to going through the Wheatfield dehydrator, the boiled off water vapor from the dehydrator will pass through a thermal oxidizer where 99% of any such contaminants will be eliminated. 

      The gas passing through this pipeline is pipeline quality gas that is consumed in homes in Western NY and Wheatfield.

      Q.  I do not believe that you have given us a response to the question about using the alternate form of dehydrator, one which doesn't have a reboiler?

      The so called "no emissions" dehydration is for instrument and lower production flow applications. NFG presently utilizes this technology in these appropriate applications. Wheatfield is not an appropriate application.

    • More  questions & Answers. - 12/9/15

    • At the Monday December 7, 2015 Town Board Meeting additional questions were raised regarding the dehydration facility. This is a response to those specific questions.

    • Supervisor Cliffe sat down with Ronald Kraemer, President of Empire Pipeline, Inc. and Vice-President of National Fuel Gas Supply at the November 7th meeting  with his set of question's (PDF).
    • Meeting November 7, 2015 (PDF)
    • Response (PDF) to other questions raised

    More Project Updates