Sunbury Pipeline Project, Central Pennsylvania, United States of America

Sunbury Pipeline

Sunbury Pipeline is a 35mi (56km) long pipeline proposed by UGI Sunbury, a subsidiary of UGI Energy Services, to transport natural gas for domestic users and businesses in Central Pennsylvania.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) granted certificate of public convenience and necessity to UGI Sunbury for the construction of the pipeline in May 2016.

Construction on the proposed natural gas pipeline is expected to start in the second quarter of 2016 and will take approximately 11 months to complete. The new pipeline is scheduled to be commissioned in 2017.

The pipeline is intended to supply low-cost natural gas to meet the growing demands of natural gas markets in Central Pennsylvania. It will also supply natural gas to Hummel Station, a natural gas-fuelled power plant being constructed at the existing site of the coal-fired Sunbury Generation power plant.

The 20in diameter steel pipeline will be designed to deliver up to 200,000Dth (Decatherm) of natural gas per day.

Sunbury Pipeline route details

The proposed pipeline will originate in the eastern Lycoming County and will head southwards to Montour, Northumberland, and Union counties before ending at the Hummel Station near Shamokin Dam in the Snyder County.

It will also feature receipt point interconnections to feed natural gas into the UGI distribution system, including UGI Penn Natural Gas (UGI Penn) and UGI Central Penn Gas (UGI Central Penn), as well as interstate pipeline systems of Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company (Transco) and the MARC I Pipeline (MARC I), along the proposed route.

Sunbury Pipeline details

The proposed pipeline will be equipped with measurement and regulation, pig launching receiving equipment and ancillary facilities in Lycoming, Montor, Northumberland, Union and Snyder counties.

At the northern terminus point, the pipeline will be installed with an integrated receiving station with two receipt point interconnections with Transco and MARC I in Franklin Township, Lycoming County.

The project will also involve the construction of UGI Central Penn Delivery Station and a 6in diameter, 965ft lateral pipeline and UGI Penn Delivery Station and a mainline valve in Northumberland County.

The southern terminus of the pipeline in the Snyder County will contain a delivery station or receiver for Hummel Station.

The meter stations along the pipeline will have supply, discharge and emergency bypass lines, meter runs, pressure regulation and overpressure production equipment, gas heaters and control buildings.

Sunbury Pipeline construction

The work area to dig the pipeline's trench and installation will vary in width from 90ft to 125ft, depending on factors such as terrain, existing structures along the route, and waterways.

"The 20in diameter steel pipeline will be designed to deliver up to 200,000Dth (Decatherm) of natural gas per day."

The depth at which the pipeline will be installed will vary from 30in to 36in, while in areas of agriculture practices or other conditions it is expected to placed at a depth ranging between 48in and 60in underground.

The pipeline will also have above ground equipments such as meter stations, valves and compressors along the route, which will typically be installed in a small fenced area.

The construction will involve fitting of the pipe into the trenches by welding the pipe joints. Each weld will be checked by either visual inspection or ultra sound inspection.

Upon completion of the construction, the pipeline will be filled with water and pressurised to a higher level for approximately eight hours using a process known as hydrostatic testing.

The pipeline will be monitored 24/7 by UGI Energy Services, from a gas control centre, to check the transfer rate, operating pressures and temperature throughout the pipeline.

Benefits of the project

The pipeline is expected to generate hundreds of jobs during the construction phase. It will develop a new delivery link between low-cost natural gas producing areas in Pennsylvania and natural gas consuming areas across the region.

The project will also support the conversion of coal-fired Sunbury Generation facility into a natural gas-fired facility to generate electricity from clean burning natural gas, resulting in lesser NOx emissions, and no sulphur dioxide, mercury or particulate pollution.