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Con Edison, KeySpan Sign on as Anchor Shippers on Millennium

Major Northeast utilities Consolidated Edison and KeySpan have signed up as anchor shippers on Phase I of the reconfigured Millennium Pipeline, the project's sponsors said in an amendment filed at FERC last Monday.

New York's Consolidated Edison, one of the nation's largest investor-owned energy companies, has opted to initially purchase 150,000 Dth/d of natural gas transportation on the proposed pipeline, increasing to 180,000 Dth/d after the first year, said Millennium Pipeline, which is jointly sponsored by units of NiSource Inc., KeySpan Corp. and DTE Energy.

KeySpan, the largest distributor of natural gas in the Northeast, has committed to initially purchase 150,000 Dth/d of gas transportation capacity on Millennium, increasing to 200,000 Dth/d by the third year, the pipeline said.

The pipeline project was originally granted a FERC certificate in 2002, but has not been constructed due to years of local opposition over its Hudson River crossing (now part of Phase II) in New York. In December 2003, the Commerce Department upheld New York State's objection to the pipeline project, which was designed initially to deliver Canadian gas to New York markets. On Monday, Millennium sought authorization from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to amend its existing certificate to construct the pipeline project in phases.

The first phase would be a 182-mile section of pipeline from Corning, NY, to Ramapo, NY. The project would stop short of the Hudson River. The amendment also calls for the addition of natural gas compression at the site of Columbia Gas Transmission's existing Corning Compressor Station in Steuben County, NY. Columbia Gas is a subsidiary of NiSource, a Millennium sponsor.

Other modifications to the previously certificated proposal include route variations in Chemung, Broome and Orange counties, NY, and a reduction in pipe diameter to 30 inches from 36 inches.

The Millennium Phase I project will have throughput capacity of 525,000 Dth/d, according to Millennium. Columbia Gas Transmission will hold 50,000 Dth/d of capacity on the line, a portion of which will be used to serve customers of the company's existing A-5 pipeline, which will be replaced by Millennium. Pending receipt of necessary approvals, Millennium said it expects to begin construction in mid-2006, and go into service on Nov. 1, 2007.

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