September 3, 2019 / 5:31 PM / 12 days ago

Williams PA-NY Constitution natgas pipe could enter service in 2021

(Reuters) - Williams Cos Inc’s long-delayed Constitution natural gas pipeline from Pennsylvania to New York could enter service in a couple years after federal regulators found New York took too long to deny a needed water permit, analysts said on Tuesday.

“Barring any permit reversals or unfavorable court decisions, we believe the project could enter service in 2021,” analysts at Height Capital Markets in Washington said in a report.

Last week, the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) ordered that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) waived the water quality certification required under the federal Clean Water Act for the New York portion of the pipe.

FERC approved construction of Constitution in December 2014.

FERC concluded that by failing to act on Constitution’s application within the time limit of one year, New York waived the certification requirements.

New York state environmental conservation officials were not immediately available for comment.

Williams and the other companies developing the project said they were evaluating next steps to advance the project.

In addition to FERC, there may be another path to get Constitution built.

President Donald Trump’s administration, which wants more pipelines built to create jobs and boost economic growth, has warned the federal government could overturn state decisions that block projects, citing national security reasons.

When Williams proposed Constitution in 2013, it estimated the project would cost about $683 million and enter service in 2016. Delays, however, have boosted that estimate to as high as $875 million, according to local newspapers.

Constitution is owned by subsidiaries of Williams, Cabot Oil & Gas Corp, Duke Energy Corp and AltaGas Ltd.

Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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