U.S. Deputy Secretary of Transportation John Porcari, Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administrator (PHMSA) Cynthia Quarterman credited NiSource Inc. for its long-term investments in modernization of its pipeline infrastructure to ensure the transportation of safe, reliable energy supplies across its 15,000-mile interstate pipeline footprint and at its local utilities, including Columbia Gas of Ohio. Porcari, Coleman and NiSource executives detailed pipeline modernization projects that will produce jobs, enhance safety and increase energy capacity during an event at North Bank Park in downtown Columbus.
"We've asked pipeline operators to step up and take action to replace aging pipelines to ensure the safety of local communities across the country," said Deputy Secretary Porcari. "NiSource is taking action, and their efforts will produce jobs in Columbus and throughout the entire state of Ohio. But just as important, this means safer and more reliable pipelines that will benefit communities for years to come." "NiSource has been serving the citizens of Ohio for more than 100 years and has a longstanding commitment to economic growth and job creation in the region," said Jimmy Staton, executive vice president and group CEO of NiSource's gas transmission and storage business. "We have and continue to make good on our promise to invest in and improve our pipeline infrastructure for safety, reliability and the rapid development and transportation needs of shale gas supply. We are proud to work with DOT to continue to do what it takes to safely transport our nation's gas supply."
NiSource companies, including Columbia Gas of Ohio and Columbia Gas Transmission invest hundreds of millions of dollars each year in energy infrastructure modernization programs. With the growing development and supply of shale gas, 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.
Deputy Secretary Porcari said the Department of Transportation is committed to supporting pipeline operators who take proactive steps to ensure safe and reliable delivery of natural gas to homes and businesses across the U.S. NiSource has been working closely with DOT in developing a roadmap to efficiently navigate the various federal, state and local regulations and permitting requirements involved in infrastructure modernization across its pipeline footprint.
NiSource's Commitment to Infrastructure Modernization
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 has launched 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.
In Ohio alone, NiSource estimates that it will replace 459 miles of bare steel and cast iron pipe, resulting in the creation of more than 1,000 direct jobs and up to five times as many indirect jobs. In Columbus, approximately 100 miles of pipe will be replaced in and around the area, with hundreds of direct jobs created. Overall, NiSource's approximately $4 billion, 15-year program will spur job creation and support economic opportunity in Ohio and areas across its footprint, including Kentucky, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. NiSource estimates that more than 7,000 direct jobs will be created as a result of the program.
In addition to the company's modernization initiatives, NiSource continues to invest in new energy infrastructure in Ohio to serve the growing needs of natural gas production companies. This includes an announcement made earlier this week where the company and a partner will invest $300 million over the next year to construct new gathering pipeline infrastructure and natural gas liquids (NGL) processing facilities to support natural gas production in the Utica Shale region of northeast Ohio and western Pennsylvania.