The Kinder Morgan natural gas pipeline project is dead — a victim of low energy prices and a lack of interest by natural gas shippers and buyers.
“As a result of inadequate capacity commitments from prospective customers, Kinder Morgan and its subsidiary, Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, have suspended further work and expenditures on the Northeast Energy Direct (NED) project,” according to company spokesman Richard Wheatley.
The project, first proposed in July 2015, encountered stiff opposition in Massachusetts and New Hampshire where homeowners along the pipeline route mounted protests and refused to allow surveyors on their property.
Business interests in New Hampshire have been lobbying for new pipeline construction, largely through the statewide Business and Industry Association and its Energize New Hampshire campaign.
Wheatley said the Kinder Morgan board initially approved the pipeline based on the anticipation of sufficient shipping contracts to justify the project.
“Unfortunately, despite working for more than two years and expending substantial shareholder resources, we did not receive the additional commitments expected,” Wheatley said. “As a result, there are currently neither sufficient volumes, nor a reasonable expectation of securing them, to proceed with the project as it is currently configured.”
He said the lack of interest could be attributed to several factors, including what Wheatley called the “low-price environment.”
“While good for consumers, it has made it difficult for producers to make new long-term commitments,” he said. “Given these market conditions, continuing to develop the project is not an acceptable use of shareholder funds.”
The 30-inch pipeline would have spanned 80 miles across southern New Hampshire, according to Kinder Morgan filings with the Federal Energy Regulation Commission. Of that route, 72.21 miles would run in existing Public Service of New Hampshire rights-of-way, following the path of power transmission lines.