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Williams Begins Open Season for Rockies Pipeline Expansion

Williams on Thursday began a nonbinding open season through March 31 to gauge market interest in an expansion of its Northwest Pipeline system, which would provide additional natural gas capacity from supply basins in the Rockies to western U.S. markets.

As currently proposed, the Basin Expansion Project would include expanded facilities between Muddy Creek, WY, and the Blanco Hub in New Mexico, laterals to attach additional gas supplies in the Piceance Basin, Uinta Basin or other regional basins and interconnecting facilities with gathering and transmission service providers.

"With the growth in Rockies gas production, there is a need for additional pipeline capacity to bring new supplies to the market," said Phil Wright, senior vice president of Williams' natural gas pipeline business. "Northwest Pipeline is well positioned to economically expand its transportation system to provide the capacity shippers need."

Northwest's expansion plans follow similar plans by most other major natural gas pipelines in the region. For example, Questar Pipeline last month announced two new open seasons to test producer and market interest in about 260,000 Dth/d of new pipeline capacity out of the Uinta and Ferron basins in eastern Utah and the Piceance Basin in western Colorado (see NGI, Feb. 28). TransColorado, Wyoming Interstate Co., Colorado Interstate Gas, Kinder Morgan and other pipelines also have expansion plans. Meanwhile, EnCana, a major Rocky Mountain region producer, is planning to put its greenfield 1.3 Bcf/d Entrega pipeline system into service by January.

Based on the level of interest, Williams said it will determine the cost, facilities, final capacity and rates for its expansion project. Subject to sufficient market support and approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the service could be available in November 2007.

For more information, contact Hank Henrie at (801) 584-6625.

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