EQT eyes pipeline, storage network

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EQT Corp. has begun gauging interest from companies in using a network of Marcellus Shale gas pipelines and storage facilities that the company hopes to acquire as part of a massive transaction of assets and infrastructure with the Peoples Natural Gas Company LLC.

Right now, the storage and transportation network is owned by the North Shore-based Peoples and used to deliver natural gas to various suppliers and distributors.

The system, called the Allegheny Valley Connector, would be transferred to an EQT subsidiary called Equitrans if a deal announced by the two companies last year is approved by state and federal regulators. The connector includes some 200 miles of pipeline and touches six Western Pennsylvania counties, including Allegheny.

Last December, Downtown-based EQT announced that it wanted to sell its Equitable Gas utility arm to Peoples for $720 million in a move that would allow Peoples to gain some 275,000 customers and narrow EQT's focus to gas drilling in local shale formations.

The companies expect a decision from regulators by the end of the year.

If the deal is approved, EQT would acquire some of Peoples' gas lines and incorporate those into its existing pipeline highway.

The announcement Wednesday signals an initial move toward that integration, and EQT said it was seeking input from potential customers on any additional capacity or system modifications they may request.

The company will solicit feedback until March 13.

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Erich Schwartzel: eschwartzel@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1455.


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