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HOUSTON – A pipeline company has begun exploring the expansion of a major regional pipeline to bolster supplies of natural gas to New England from nearby shale formations, The Associated Press reported last week.
Houston-based Spectra Energy Corp. said the move could help lower heating and electricity costs here. The company told the AP it estimates that increasing pipeline capacity in southern New England by about 15 percent would save gas and electric customers up to $651 million a year.
According to the AP, the proposal would replace parts of the existing Algonquin Gas Transmission pipeline, which runs 1,120 miles through the Northeast to its terminus in Beverly, Mass.
Spectra said the project would cost about $500 million to build and $150 million a year to maintain and operate.
Jackie Barry, a spokeswoman for National Grid, told the AP the utility does “agree that the increasing demand for natural gas in New England would be well-served by additional pipeline capacity.’’ •