TransCanada seeks U.S. approval to put Leach natgas pipe in service

(Reuters) - TransCanada Corp’s Columbia Gas Transmission unit asked U.S. regulators for permission to commence service on the company’s Leach XPress natural gas project in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia on Jan. 1, according to a filing on Thursday with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

** The $1.6 billion project includes a 160-mile (257-km) pipeline and compression facilities that will transport up to 1.5 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas from Appalachian shale basins to Ohio, West Virginia and other parts of the country.

** The Leach pipe will help supply gas toward the Southeast via the recently completed 0.6-bcfd Rayne XPress project in Kentucky. Rayne cost about $400 million.

Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by James Dalgleish