Algonquin Gas Transmission Pipeline

From Global Energy Monitor
This article is part of the Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker, a project of Global Energy Monitor.

Algonquin Gas Transmission Pipeline is a natural gas pipeline operating in the northeastern United States.[1]


The pipeline runs from Lambertville, New York, to near Boston, Massachusetts.

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Project Details

  • Operator: Enbridge[2]
  • Owners: Spectra Energy Partners, LP (100% Class A membership interest and 40% Class B membership interest); Eversource Energy (40% Class B membership interest); National Grid plc (20% Class B membership interest)[2]
  • Capacity: 3.12 billion cubic feet per day[2]
  • Length: 1,131 miles (1,820 km)[2]
  • Diameter: 36 inches[3]
  • Status: Operating
  • Start Year: 1997


The Algonquin Gas Transmission Pipeline transports 3.12 billion cubic feet per day through 1,129 miles of pipeline. Algonquin connects to Texas Eastern Transmission (TETCO) Gas Pipeline and Maritimes & Northeast Gas Pipeline.[4] The pipeline system operates in the Northeastern states of Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey.[5] The pipeline generally receives gas that originated in the Gulf of Mexico, although it also receives gas from an LNG terminal in Massachusetts.[6] The Algonquin Gas Transmission Pipeline was owned and operated by Spectra Energy until the company was bought out by Enbridge in 2016.[7]

Expansion Projects

Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) Gas Pipeline

The pipeline runs from Rockland County, New York, to Westchester County, New York.

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The $972 million Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) Gas Pipeline was put into service in 2017, adding another 342 million cubic feet of gas per day to the region. A lateral line connects to Salem Harbor, a former coal plant converting to gas.[8] Most of the project entailed replacing 26-inch diameter pipelines with 42-inch diameter pipelines, allowing for expanded capacity.[9]

The Algonquin Incremental Market gas pipeline expansion project consisted of the construction, installation, operation, and maintenance of approximately 37.4 miles within the existing Algonquin pipeline system. The project would replace 20.1 miles of 26-inch-diameter pipeline with 42-inch-diameter pipeline in Putnam, Rockland, and Westchester Counties in New York, and Fairfield County, Connecticut; install approximately 2.0 miles of 36-inch-diameter pipeline looping in Middlesex and Hartford Counties, Connecticut; replace approximately 9.1 miles of 6-inch-diameter pipeline with 16-inch diameter pipeline on the E-1 System Lateral in New London County, Connecticut; install approximately 1.3 miles of 12-inch-diameter pipeline looping in New London County, Connecticut; and install approximately 4.1 miles of 16-inch-diameter pipeline and approximately 0.8 miles of 24-inch-diameter pipeline off its existing I-4 System Lateral in Norfolk and Suffolk Counties, Massachusetts.

  • Operator: Enbridge
  • Capacity: 342 million cubic feet per day[10][11]
  • Length: 17.3 new miles (27.8 km), 20.1 replacement miles (32.2 km)[12][11]
  • Diameter: 42 inches[11]
  • Status: Operating[8]
  • Start Year: 2017
  • Cost: $972 million[11]

Atlantic Bridge Gas Project

The Atlantic Bridge Gas Pipeline expansion of the Algonquin Gas Transmission Pipeline includes the Weymouth compressor station, additional pipeline, and reverses the Maritimes & Northeast Gas Pipeline to push gas north through Maine toward Canada.[9][13] The Phase I and Phase II of the project began operations in November, 2017 and January, 2021, respectively.[14][11]The pipeline runs from New Jersey to Maine, USA, ending in New Brunswick, Canada. The project primarily uses existing pipeline that is part of the Algonquin Gas Transmission Pipeline, with additional compressor station upgrades and minor length additions.[15] The project is designed to provide additional capacity on the Algonquin Gas Transmission Pipeline System and Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline Systems to move natural gas to New England, U.S. and to end-use markets in Canadian Maritime provinces.[16]

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Access Northeast Gas Pipeline

A third major expansion, the Access Northeast Gas Pipeline project, would have upgraded 125 miles of the Algonquin system's pipeline and was projected to cost $3.2 billion.[17] The pipeline runs through Connecticut and Massachusetts.[18]

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It was first proposed by Spectra Energy Partners, which was later acquired by Enbridge for $28 billion.[19] The FERC permitting process was initiated in November 2015 with the hopes of commissioning it by the end of 2018.[19] The project would not have added additional pipeline, but would instead have upgraded 125 miles of the Algonquin pipeline system. Enbridge had partnered with Eversource Energy and National Grid to advance the project through Algonquin Gas Transmission, LLC.[20] The pipeline would have connected four different pipeline systems: Texas Eastern Transmission (TETCO) Gas Pipeline, Algonquin Gas Transmission Pipeline, Iroquois Gas Pipeline, and Maritimes & Northeast Gas Pipeline.[21]

Eversource backed out of construction for the Access Northeast pipeline after a Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling prevented it from charging electric ratepayers for its construction.[22] In October 2016, Connecticut's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection canceled its Request for Proposals for natural gas capacity, liquefied natural gas, and natural gas storage, which would have relied on the Access Northeast pipeline.[23] In October 2016, the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission issued an Order disallowing Eversource from passing on pipeline costs to captive ratepayers.[24] Eventually in June 2017, Enbridge along with project partners Eversource Energy and National Grid suspended the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) permitting process for the $3 billion Access Northeast Gas Pipeline.[25][26]

In October 2017, the Environmental Defense Fund published a study arguing that the natural gas utility subsidiaries of Avangrid and Eversource artificially constrained gas pipeline capacity in New England for years, driving up natural gas and electricity prices by $3.6 billion over three years.[27] A Utility Dive feature described the study's findings as follows:

A group of university researchers working with the Environmental Defense Fund found that local gas distribution utilities owned by the two holding companies regularly scheduled more gas than they needed on the Algonquin Pipeline in Connecticut and Massachusetts, only to cancel some of the orders later in the day — too late for the pipeline space to be resold. This practice, referred to as down-scheduling, “essentially locks up some pipeline capacity,” said Matthew Zaragoza-Watkins, an assistant professor at Vanderbilt University and co-author of the report. On the worst days, including during the Polar Vortex of 2013-2014, up to 7% of Algonquin’s capacity could be artificially constrained.

The study raised questions regarding the need for additional pipeline infrastructure in New England, such as Access Northeast, given existing natural gas pipelines were under-utilized due to the utilities' market practices.

  • Owner: Eversource Energy (40.00%), National Grid (30.00%), Enbridge (30.00%)[28][29]
  • Capacity: 925 million cubic feet per day[11][29]
  • Length: 123 replacement miles[11][29]
  • Cost: US$3.2 billion[28][11][29]
  • Status: Cancelled, June 2017[30][11]

Project Maple

  • Operator:
  • Owner: Enbridge[31]
  • Parent company: Enbridge
  • Capacity:
  • Length:
  • Diameter:
  • Status: Proposed[32]
  • Start year: 2029[32]
  • Cost:
  • Financing:
  • Associated infrastructure:

In September 2023, Enbridge reportedly proposed an expansion project that would include compressor station and underground pipe upgrades.[31] Details were vague, but Enbridge noted it would contribute to "stabilizing energy prices in the region and supporting New England's continued journey to Net Zero."[32]

The project was expected to be in service "as early as November 2029."[32]


The Algonquin Incremental Market expansion was the main focus of opposition. At the center of the controversy and opposition surrounding the pipeline expansion was the rapidly deteriorating Indian Point nuclear power plant on the Hudson river just 45 miles North of Manhattan. In addition to general health and environmental concerns, many residents feared that the expansion of the pipelines was recklessly posing an imminent danger to the entire northeastern seaboard due to its proximity to the nuclear power plant. The pipelines would be approximately 1500 feet away from the reactors and 105 feet from a power substation, which some said was far too risky given a potential accident resulting in an explosion.[33] If such a situation were to occur, the reactors of the facility might be endangered, causing a situation similar to the Fukushima disaster in Japan. Such risks caused community activists, environmentalists, and elected officials to either demand a permanent halt to the expansion project or to stop construction until more safety evaluations were conducted.[34]

Groups opposing the expansion, such as SAPE(Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion) and ResistAIM, found the risk analysis by the NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission) and FERC flawed because it lacked the proper pipeline expertise and failed to consider the risks with installing new pipelines; they also neglected the fact that a significant number of gas pipelines have failed in New York in the last two decades. Data from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) shows that 12 significant incidents have occurred on gas transmission pipelines in New York State since 2000, resulting in at $4.4 million in total costs. Spectra Energy pipelines were involved in 38 incidents in the U.S. from 1986 to 2012, according to ProPublica. The PHMSA cited Spectra for at least four violations from 2013 to 2015. It was also stated by SAPE that the NRC used incorrect data, false assumptions, and prohibited modeling. SAPE also included that even if the nuclear plant were closed, they believe the threat of a catastrophe would remain severe due to the amount of toxic waste at the site.[35][36]

Activists and legislators were also deeply concerned because FERC and the NRC were basing their assessments on Spectra and Entergy's own calculations. SAPE also stated that Spectra Energy's (now Enbridge) division of the expansion into three separate projects avoided a comprehensive study of their cumulative effects on the environment and health. Activists stated it should never have been permitted in the first place.[35][37]

Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten E. Gillibrand of New York demanded an independent safety study of the project, while Governor Cuomo urged FERC to halt the construction of the project until an independent risk assessment of the pipeline's proximity to the nuclear plant was conducted.[38]he Westchester Board of Legislators and U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey continued to ask for an independent safety study[39]

However, despite Governor Cuomo's and other New York legislator's concerns, FERC upheld its approval of the project. 21 plaintiffs eventually filed a brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia seeking to overturn the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s March 2015 approval of Spectra Energy’s Algonquin Incremental Market, despite construction having been ongoing for over a year. The brief alleged that the company hired to do the Environmental Impact Statement worked for Spectra, thus representing a conflict of interest. The brief also alleged that FERC improperly segmented the expansion into three separate projects to avoid a more comprehensive environmental impact assessment.[40]

After all other channels of stopping AIM's construction were ignored by FERC, protesters launched blockades to halt the construction of the pipeline in May 2016. Peekskill residents and activists escalated the campaign to stop this pipeline's construction by installing a fully sustainable shipping container at the entrance of Spectra's work yard—complete with two activists living inside.[41] In October of 2016, fifteen people were arrested at a rally outside the Manhattan office of New York Sen. Charles Schumer, where they had maintained a presence for over 60 days. At the time of the protest, the AIM project was scheduled to go online November 1, 2016. The protesters were urging Senator Schumer to take action before the project went online[36] The project was ultimately completed despite intensive opposition.

The Access Northeast was opposed in a number of local communities along its route, resulting in following protests:

  • Dozens of residents quietly protested the pipeline at the Board of Selectman's meeting in February 2017 in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts.[42]
  • There was "concerted opposition" in Attleboro and Rehoboth, where a compressor station would be located.[43]
  • Anti-Spectra protests were held in Weymouth, the New Bedford area, and around Greater Boston.[43]

Articles and resources


  1. Algonquin Gas Transmission Pipeline , Wikipedia, accessed September 2017
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Enbridge’s Energy Infrastructure Assets Enbrdige, July 22, 2020
  3. "Algonquin Gas, US". Offshore Technology. 20 October, 2021. Retrieved 21 August, 2023. {{cite web}}: Check date values in: |access-date= and |date= (help)CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. Algonquin Gas Transmission, Enbridge, accessed December, 2017
  5. Operator Information, U.S. Department of Transportation, accessed December 2017
  6. Algonquin Gas Transmission Pipeline, Revolvy, accessed December 2017
  7. Bye Bye, Spectra Energy - It Was Good To Know Ya; Hello Enbridge!, Seeking Alpha, February 26, 2017
  8. 8.0 8.1 Enbridge suspends Access Northeast natural gas pipeline plan, Mass Live, June 29, 2017
  9. 9.0 9.1 FERC Authorizes Algonquin To Put Most Of Its Pipeline Into Service, WAMC, November 1, 2016
  10. Enbridge suspends Access Northeast natural gas pipeline plan, Mass Live, June 29, 2017
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 11.6 11.7 11.8 "Natural Gas Data - U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)". Retrieved 2023-08-21.
  12. Algonquin Gas Transmission, LLC Docket No. CP14-96-000, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, March 3, 2015
  13. Enbridge's Energy Infrastructure Projects, Aug. 4, 2021, accessed Aug. 17, 2021.
  14. Enbridge working on natural gas pipelines to New England, Kallanish Energy, Feb. 1, 2018
  15. William Opalka, Atlantic Bridge Project Approved by FERC, RTO Insider, Jan. 29, 2017, accessed Aug. 17, 2021.
  16. "Resilient Reliable Responsible: Enbridge 2019 Sustainability Report". Enbridge. 2019. Retrieved 16 August, 2023. {{cite web}}: Check date values in: |access-date= (help)CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  17. Mary C. Serreze,Access Northeast pipeline plan suspended, Boston Business Journal, June 30, 2017
  18. Brooks, David (10/08/2016). "Regulators reject Eversource's funding proposal for natural gas". Concord Monitor. Retrieved 17 August, 2023. {{cite web}}: Check date values in: |access-date= and |date= (help)CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  19. 19.0 19.1 Enbridge suspends Access Northeast natural gas pipeline plan, Mass Live, 29 Jun. 2017
  20. Enbridge suspends Access Northeast natural gas pipeline plan, Mass Live, 29 Jun. 2017
  21. NH Regulators Veto Access Northeast Pipeline Contract, Marcellus Drilling News, 11 Oct. 2016
  22. [Eversource, Avangrid artificially constrained gas pipeline capacity for years, report argues,] Utility Dive, 11 Oct. 2017
  23. Connecticut Becomes Most Recent State to Back Away from Spectra's Access Northeast Pipeline Project, Desmog, 27 Oct. 2016
  24. NH Regulators Veto Access Northeast Pipeline Contract, Marcellus Drilling News, 11 Oct. 2016
  25. Enbridge suspends Access Northeast natural gas pipeline plan, Mass Live, 29 Jun. 2017
  26. Bruce Mohl, Access Northeast pipeline put on indefinite hold Commonwealth Magazine, June 29, 2017
  27. [Eversource, Avangrid artificially constrained gas pipeline capacity for years, report argues,] Utility Dive, 11 Oct. 2017
  28. 28.0 28.1 Asset Data, IJGlobal, accessed Aug. 27, 2020
  29. 29.0 29.1 29.2 29.3 "Access Northeast Project, New England". Hydrocarbons Technology. Retrieved 21 August, 2023. {{cite web}}: Check date values in: |access-date= (help)CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  30. Bruce Mohl, Access Northeast pipeline put on indefinite hold Commonwealth Magazine, June 29, 2017
  31. 31.0 31.1 "". {{cite web}}: External link in |title= (help)CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 32.3 "". {{cite web}}: External link in |title= (help)CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  33. Stop The Algonquin Pipeline Expansion Project in Connecticut,, accessed December 2017
  34. Lisa W. Foderaro, Plan to Expand a Pipeline at Indian Point Raises Concern, New York Times, February 28, 2016
  35. 35.0 35.1 Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion, SAPE, accessed December, 2017
  36. 36.0 36.1 15 Arrested Protesting Spectra Pipeline Scheduled to Go Online Nov. 1, Eco Watch, October 26, 2016
  37. ResistAIM Confronts FERC Commissioners for ignoring Governor Cuomo’s request to halt construction on Spectra’s AIM Pipeline, Beyond Extreme Energy, March 17, 2016
  38. Cuomo: Halt Algonquin pipeline; gov. cites Indian Point, Record Searchlight, February 29, 2016
  39. Elizabeth Ganga, NRC says Algonquin Pipeline no risk to Indian Point, lohud, November 18, 2014
  40. Coalition Seeks To Overturn FERC's Approval Of AIM Pipeline, WAMC, August 15, 2016
  41. Protesters Blockade Planned Pipeline Site Near Nuclear Plant Outside NYC, Eco Watch, May 2016
  42. Shrewsbury residents quietly protest proposed pipeline, Telegram, 28 Feb. 2017
  43. 43.0 43.1 Pipeline advocates gird for battle, The Sun Chronicle, 20 Feb. 2017

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