Long-term investments ensure energy supplies; generate jobs and economic growth

June 2012, Vol. 67 No. 6

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl recently recognized NiSource Inc. for its pipeline infrastructure modernization and replacement investment.

NiSource companies, including Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania Inc. and Columbia Gas Transmission LLC, invest hundreds of millions of dollars each year in energy infrastructure modernization programs. Over the course of the next decade, NiSource expects to invest even more in such programs, helping ensure continued reliable and efficient energy delivery, and providing a foundation for job creation and economic growth across its service territory.

During a news conference held in Pittsburgh, Secretary LaHood said the Department of Transportation has committed to coordinating with other government entities to identify opportunities to remove overlaps and expedite the regulatory and approval processes without sacrificing safety or lowering industry standards. This comes in accordance with President Obama’s Executive Order to Improve Performance of Federal Permitting and Review of Infrastructure Projects.

“A year ago, I asked pipeline operators to take a hard look at their infrastructure and identify those sections of pipeline that need to be repaired, rehabilitated or replaced to ensure safer and more reliable delivery of energy resources,” said Secretary LaHood. “And we are happy to help NiSource speed up construction and replace some of the oldest pipelines in the nation, ensuring good jobs and increased safety for people in Pittsburgh, as well as throughout Pennsylvania and the other states that will benefit from this project.”

Over the past several years, NiSource companies have been committed to modernizing the nation's local utility infrastructure, including replacing more than 1,000 miles of bare steel and cast iron pipelines at its local utilities with more modern, corrosion-resistant materials.

Similar to the modernization programs at its local utilities, NiSource’s Columbia Gas Transmission subsidiary is in the process of launching a program to upgrade its 12,000-mile interstate pipeline system, which serves markets in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions of the U.S. The program will focus on rebuilding NiSource’s critical pipeline infrastructure, thereby improving the safety and reliability of its system. The program may also provide enhanced access to emerging domestic natural gas supplies, such as those in the Marcellus and Utica shale regions. In addition to replacing more than 1,000 miles of interstate pipeline, the company plans to invest in modernizing its compressor fleet and other related assets and systems.