Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline LLC plans to expand its natural gas pipeline system to transport new natural gas supplies from EnCana Corp.’s proposed Deep Panuke project to markets in Atlantic Canada and the Northeastern United States.

The Deep Panuke project is located about 150 miles off the coast of Nova Scotia.

“These are undersea deposits in offshore Nova Scotia,” Maritimes spokesman Jim Mitchell said Wednesday. “In addition to the fields that currently exist there is a new field called Deep Panuke where there are significant reserves, and one of the Canadian energy companies is seeking to develop that field.”

The company unveiled its expansion plans at an open house at the Woodland Elementary School Wednesday night.

The proposed expansion, known as the Phase V Project, will continue Maritimes’ efforts to add incremental supplies from diverse sources to enhance supply reliability and security to the region, the company said in a news release.

Maritimes proposes installing additional compression and making modifications at its existing compressor stations in Baileyville and Richmond, and at its compressor stations expected to be put into service this year at Woodchopping Ridge in Hancock County, and in Brewer, Searsmont and Ellis.

A compression station is necessary to move natural gas through the pipeline. Located at strategic points along the system, compressor stations maintain the pressure and velocity of the natural gas as it travels long distances through the pipeline, according to the company’s fact sheet.

“The Phase V Project will increase the capacity of the Maritimes system in order to bring additional and much needed volumes of natural gas to Atlantic Canada and the Northeast United States,” the company said in its handout.

When the system was first designed, Mitchell said, it was expected there would be a need for expansion. “So the pipeline is sized in a manner so that it is very economical to increase the capacity on the facility through compression, rather than pipeline,” he said. “Pipeline is very expensive to construct, probably several million dollars per mile, so if you can add compression and double the capacity of the facility, it is much more economical not just for the company, but ultimately for the customers.”

In March, the company filed a request with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to initiate its pre-filing process. FERC granted that request.

During the process, the company is seeking views from landowners, government agencies and interested parties. The open house Wednesday night was part of that.

“It is important in the FERC process, who is the principal regulator for the interstate natural gas pipeline system, for them to hear the views of citizens so this gives [area residents] a chance to learn about the project and if they have concerns they can communicate those to the regulators,” Mitchell said.

In other changes, minor modifications are proposed at existing meter stations in Westbrook and Dracut, Mass.

In addition, the company proposes building and operating nearly four miles of a 36-inch-diameter pipeline loop in Richmond, generally adjacent to its existing pipeline, and to increase the operating pressure of its mainline facilities from Baileyville to Westbrook, as approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation in 2006.

Spectra Energy Corp., ExxonMobil Corp. and Emera Inc. own Maritimes. Spectra Energy Corp., through its subsidiary, M&N Management Co., is responsible for the overall development and operation of the Maritimes pipeline.