City, FSEDI hope to tap into Atlantic pipeline

Published 9:40 am Wednesday, September 17, 2014

FRANKLIN—Hoping to provide natural gas to the community, the city and Franklin Southampton Economic Development Inc. are seeking to talk with Dominion Power representatives about tapping into the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which is proposed to come through Southampton County, said City Manager Randy Martin.

As discussions take place, Martin hopes to bring back good news to the Franklin City Council, particularly where they can bring natural gas into areas that can impact economic development opportunities.

Martin said that 92 percent of the flow from the pipeline is already accounted for by sources involved in financing the pipeline. However, that leaves 8 percent of what is coming down up for grabs for communities and organizations to make bids along the route.

“It would have to be on a grand scale, as this is a high-pressure line. For example, an industrial park park or things of that nature,” Martin said. “But we are told that there is an opportunity for us to get in on the pipeline.

“As I understand it, 8 percent of that line is going to be significant. Where that leaves us? I don’t know yet.”

He said that based on where it is crossing Route 258, it seems feasible that they could create a direct pipeline route to Pretlow Industrial Park, and then back into town.

Martin said he and other city and economic development officials would be at the Open House meeting on Thursday, Sept. 25, in the Regional Workforce Development Center at Paul D. Camp Community College. The session will be in two parts: from 5 to 6:30 p.m., landowners within the proposed study corridor; from 6:30 to 8 p.m., landowners and the public.

Dominion is not the only energy company involved in this pipeline, which would go from West Virginia down into North Carolina. It will also have a leg that travels through Southampton County on its way to Chesapeake.

Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas and AGL Resources are the other energy companies investing in this $4.5 billion to $5 billion proposed pipeline.

If everything goes as scheduled, construction would start in 2016 and the project would be completed in 2018.