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Williams Seeks Transco Expansion to Serve Growing Northeast Demand

Looking to satiate continued demand growth in the northeastern United States, Williams late last week filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to construct a $121 million expansion of its Transco natural gas pipeline system to serve these markets.

The Leidy to Long Island expansion is designed to increase firm transportation capacity by 100,000 Dth/d (enough gas to serve about 440,000 homes per day), beginning in November 2007. KeySpan Corp., which operates regulated gas utilities in New York, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire that serve 2.6 million customers, has signed a contract for the expansion's entire capacity.

"The northeastern United States continues to experience significant natural gas demand growth. No one knows that better than KeySpan Corp., the largest natural gas distributor in this region," said Phil Wright, senior vice president of Williams' natural gas pipeline business. "We appreciate the confidence they have placed in us and we look forward to providing them with economic, reliable natural gas services for many years to come."

Under the expansion's proposal, certain facilities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania would have to be added to, including the addition of approximately 12 miles of 42-inch pipe, replacing about three miles of 42-inch pipe and adding a new compressor facility. Construction of the compressor station would begin in January 2007, while pipeline construction would begin in March 2007.

First announced in late November of 2004, Williams soon after initiated a pre-application environmental review of the project (see NGI, Nov. 29, 2004). Since then, Williams said it has solicited input from citizens, governmental entities and other interested parties to collect feedback and address questions about the project.

Williams' Transco system consists of 10,500 miles of pipeline extending from Texas to New York. The Transco pipeline is a major transporter of natural gas in the Northeast, delivering more than half of the natural gas consumed in New Jersey, and about one-third of the natural gas consumed in Pennsylvania and New York.

Williams said natural gas constraints experienced in the Northeast during the 2004-2005 winter proved that the region needs more supply. The company also pointed to Department of Energy stats that show natural gas consumption in the Mid-Atlantic states (New York, New Jersey & Pennsylvania) is expected to increase nearly 8% by 2009.

Additional information about the project can be found online at http://www.williams.com/northeastexpansion .

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