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Factbox: No looking back for Williams CEO

Americas energy CEO series

By Harry Weber, Eric Brooks

After he survived a June 2016 attempted ouster from the company where he has worked for three decades, Williams CEO Alan Armstrong was determined that the pipeline operator would have a strong board that shared a commitment to a singular strategy.

Related article: Alan Armstrong, Williams CEO

The lessons of the past have helped shape Williams as it moves forward on its own, with natural gas as the key takeaway.

In a wide-ranging interview December 19 with S&P Global Platts reporters in Tulsa, Armstrong addressed the importance of Williams' Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line to its market opportunities, the future of the Constitution Pipeline project amid regulatory hurdles that it faces, and how the company has moved on since the failed combination with Energy Transfer Equity that led to a dramatic board exodus and overhaul. Excerpts from the interview follow.

Transco networking

"Transco continues to be such a great network that we wind up almost always picking up business because we have so much interconnectivity. Over the last five years, we've had 22 Bcf/d of somebody else paid for interconnectivity." "Our team has done a really good job giving some investment opportunity to the utility customer and balancing that without us losing competitive advantages that we have in some of these markets."

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Constitution future

"I think the question that we are all watching is what the state of New York will do relative to the federal courts." "I think what we really need to have for FERC to give us a notice to proceed is for the [US Army] Corps of Engineers to give us a 404 permit. The 401 certificate that the state issues is not really a permit. It's just a precursor to the 404. The Corps has the authority to issue the 404 without the 401 certificate. They previously, under the Obama administration, were unwilling to do that. If we can get the Corps of Engineers under the Trump administration to issue the 404, then we've got what we need and we can go to the FERC and ask them to issue the notice to proceed."

ETE revisited

"It might have seemed incredibly dramatic from the outside, but from the inside it was just everybody was just so tired of the differences of opinion about which direction to take the company that we needed to get it resolved and move on." "The impact that activists had on the company was probably much more negative than I expected, and I probably should have done much more homework on the defense side of that."

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