U.S. natural gas pipeline capacity investment slowed in 2012 after several years of robust growth. Limited capacity additions were concentrated in the northeast United States, mainly focused on removing bottlenecks for fast-growing Marcellus shale gas production. More than half of new pipeline projects that entered commercial service in 2012 were in the Northeast. Excluding gathering, storage, and distribution lines, project sponsors in the United States added 4.5 billion cubic feet per day of new pipeline capacity and 367 miles of pipe totaling $1.8 billion in capital expenditures in 2012.
Natural gas production in the Marcellus shale formation continues to drive northeast regional pipeline expansions. In 2012, project sponsors completed 245 miles of new pipeline in this region, representing the second highest annual additions since 1997, and 8% higher than in 2011. Miles of pipe added to the Northeast accounted for two-thirds of all new pipeline in the United States starting service in 2012. The two largest projects added to the Northeast in 2012, the Appalachian Gateway Project and the Sunrise Project, both move natural gas from Marcellus production fields to northeastern markets.