(Reuters) - U.S. energy regulators approved Canadian energy company Enbridge Inc's request to put part of its $2.6 billion NEXUS natural gas pipeline from Ohio to Michigan into service.
NEXUS is one of several gas pipelines designed to connect growing output in the Marcellus and Utica shale basins in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio with customers in other parts of the United States and Canada.
Enbridge said the facilities the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on Wednesday allowed the company to put into service will enable it to transport about 0.97 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd).
One billion cubic feet of gas is enough to fuel about 5 million homes for a day.
Once the 255-mile (410-km) NEXUS project is fully in service, it will be able to carry up to 1.5 bcfd of gas from the Marcellus and Utica shale fields to the U.S. Midwest and Gulf Coast and Ontario in Canada.
NEXUS is a partnership between Enbridge and Michigan energy company DTE Energy Inc .
Earlier this week, Enbridge said it put part of its $200 million Texas Eastern Appalachian Lease (TEAL) gas pipeline project into service.
TEAL is an expansion of Enbridge's Texas Eastern system designed to deliver 0.95 bcfd of gas to NEXUS.
When it started construction of the NEXUS pipe in late 2017, Enbridge estimated the TEAL and NEXUS projects would enter service in the third quarter of 2018.
Enbridge said it completed the NEXUS project in September when it asked FERC for permission to put part of pipeline into service.
New pipelines built to remove gas from the Marcellus andUtica basins have enabled shale drillers to boost output in theAppalachia region to a forecast record high of around 29.4 bcfdin October from 24.2 bcfd during the same month a year ago.
That represents about 36 percent of the nation's total drygas output of 81.1 bcfd expected on average in 2018. A decadeago, the Appalachia region produced just 1.6 bcfd, or 3 percentof the country's total production in 2008.
(Reporting by Scott DiSavino)