The Spire STL Pipeline received a new temporary emergency operating certificate from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on Dec. 3, 2021.
This new certificate ensures that the pipeline can continue to deliver reliable, affordable natural gas through this winter to more than 650,000 Missouri homes and businesses while the FERC reviews the pipeline’s long-term approval.
Thank you to our community for coming together to help keep this critical infrastructure operational through this winter heating season.
Spire will continue working to secure long-term operational approval for the pipeline and will keep the St. Louis community and customers up to date on new developments throughout the ongoing process.
The Spire STL Pipeline is a critical source of energy for more than 650,000 Missouri homes and businesses.
Without the state-of-the-art infrastructure and stable access to energy provided by the Spire STL Pipeline, up to 133,000 customers could have been without gas service during Winter Storm Uri.
The Spire STL Pipeline ensured that Missouri customers had access to affordable energy supply during Winter Storm Uri. Without the pipeline, overall Spire Missouri customers could have experienced additional gas costs of up to $300 million over the course of nine days.
View media coverage and more important updates about the Spire STL Pipeline
Myth: Because the STL Pipeline was not “needed,” Spire Missouri can return to the sources of natural gas supply for the St. Louis region utilized prior to STL Pipeline construction.
Fact: Since the STL Pipeline began service in November 2019, all market participants in the greater St. Louis region changed their pipeline supply arrangements.
Spire Missouri has made significant improvements to its supply, system, and operations. The STL Pipeline allowed Spire Missouri to:
- reduce its captivity on Enable MRT, its historical supplier, that depends on gas production from the same gas producing regions in Texas and Oklahoma that suffered major operational disruptions just earlier this year during Winter Storm Uri;
- retire aging and obsolete infrastructure that required costly upgrades and maintenance; and
- bolster its ability to provide service to the western-most areas of its St. Louis service territory without substantial cost (which costs are estimated to be $100 million) and disruption to traffic and the environment in the region.
Enable MRT re-sold the pipeline capacity that Spire Missouri gave up to other shippers on its pipeline.
Spire has been pursuing options to bring in additional gas supply to the St. Louis region. Due to increased gas demand and operational constraints, Spire Missouri’s ability to secure new firm supply contracts on other pipelines in the region is significantly constrained, making it difficult to replace STL Pipeline supplies for the foreseeable future.
While there is some capacity available on the MRT East Line, the capacity is less than half of what STL Pipeline provides and there are documented reliability issues.
Myth: The STL Pipeline was not necessary.
Fact: Spire Missouri previously identified a critical need to address resiliency and reliability for customers and began exploring a variety of new supply options to meet our customer needs in the Greater St. Louis region.
Prior to the STL Pipeline, customers in St. Louis were nearly 90% dependent on a single pipeline that ran through the New Madrid fault, an area with the potential for severe and unpredictable earthquakes, and that provided gas from Texas and Oklahoma.
The new, 65-mile STL Pipeline is critical energy infrastructure that connects the Spire Missouri distribution system to the Rockies Express Pipeline north of the New Madrid fault and enables Spire Missouri to tap into diverse, reliable natural gas supplies from both the Rocky Mountains and the Appalachian Basin.
Myth: The STL Pipeline has increased costs for Missouri customers.
Fact: The energy supply diversity created by STL Pipeline allows Spire Missouri to take advantage of some of the most competitively priced supplies of natural gas from multiple producing regions, ultimately delivering both lower costs and higher reliability to customers. This was proven in February 2021 during Winter Storm Uri when the St. Louis area did not suffer from gas outages or gas price spikes like other cities in the region.
Spire Missouri’s reliance on the STL Pipeline during Winter Storm Uri protected its customers from supply disruptions and saved its customers hundreds of millions of dollars in the aggregate. Without the supply diversity provided by the STL Pipeline, Spire Missouri would have had to purchase nearly all of its gas from Texas and Oklahoma during Winter Storm Uri, and it estimates that customers could have experienced additional gas costs of up to $300 million just during those nine days due to price spikes. And that’s based on the assumption that unreliable supplies would even be available and could have even been successfully delivered to the region. Spire Missouri’s ability to avoid that disastrous (and potentially life-threatening) outcome was a direct result of STL Pipeline’s access to more diverse supplies.
Myth: Construction of the STL Pipeline has damaged land along its right-of-way and resulted in lower crop yields for landowners.
Fact: During construction, STL Pipeline strived to work side by side with landowners to minimize the impact resulting from the construction and operation of the pipeline. For the nearly 70% of landowners who reached agreements with Spire and have replanted, their crops have come back faster than expected. In fact, two large landowners in Illinois recently acknowledged STL Pipeline’s ‘good will’ in a filing at FERC. STL Pipeline remains committed to continue monitoring restoration efforts and performing additional remediation, where necessary, along the entire 65-mile route.
Myth: Gas demand in the greater St. Louis region is flat and existing infrastructure prior to the STL Pipeline met this demand.
Fact: The STL Pipeline project was originally conceived to enhance reliability in the greater St. Louis region. STL Pipeline connects with the Rockies Express Pipeline, providing direct access to one of the largest supply basins in America - the Appalachian Basin - as well as the Rocky Mountains producing region. This supply diversity also allows Spire Missouri to take advantage of some of the most competitively priced supply of natural gas from multiple producing regions, ultimately delivering lower costs and higher reliability to customers.
Myth: My gas bill is going up because of the STL Pipeline.
Fact: Thanks to the energy supply diversity provided by STL Pipeline, Spire was able to access more competitively priced supplies of natural gas, ultimately delivering lower costs to customers on the eastern side of the state. Winter Storm Uri illustrates what natural gas supplies would have cost without the STL Pipeline. Spire Missouri did experience increased costs during Winter Storm Uri, but Spire Missouri’s customers could have experienced a combined increased gas cost of up to $300 million more as a result of Winter Storm Uri without the STL Pipeline.
However, even with the STL Pipeline and the work we did to minimize costs, current supply and demand issues nationwide and world-wide have ultimately affected the price of natural gas available to customers throughout the state of Missouri. In addition, Spire Missouri spent more on gas supply in February 2021 than it did for all of 2020, much of which has not yet been paid for by customers. We recognize any bill increase can be concerning. That’s why we have filed for a deferral of the Winter Storm Uri costs with the Missouri Public Service Commission, allowing us to spread any impact out over the course of three years.
Myth: Natural gas isn't reliable.
Fact: Natural gas outages are rare because natural gas has been the most reliable form of energy. This situation is different. The STL Pipeline is critical natural gas infrastructure that delivers energy to our region – and it’s suddenly in jeopardy due to an unprecedented court ruling.
Myth: Spire failed to adequately prepare for the winter heating season in light of the legal challenge to the STL Pipeline.
Fact: Following the June 2021 court ruling which took back the STL Pipeline’s permit to operate, Spire employees immediately undertook a review to understand the potential impact if the Pipeline was taken out of service.