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Bobcat, Columbia Storage Projects Receive Certificates

Bobcat Gas Storage and Columbia Gas Transmission were issued FERC certificates last Thursday to significantly expand their natural gas storage facilities in Louisiana and Ohio, respectively.

The Bobcat order calls for the construction of three additional storage caverns, increasing the facility's total capacity by 31.5 Bcf to 51.9 Bcf. The proposed three caverns would have a combined working capacity of 24 Bcf (see NGI, Nov. 17, 2008). Bobcat, located near Eunice, LA, currently has two certificated caverns, with total capacity of 20.4 Bcf, of which 15.6 Bcf is working capacity.

When the three additional caverns are leached, the developer said the facility would have an injection rate of 0.9 to 1.6 Bcf/d and maximum deliverability of 1.2 to 3 Bcf/d [CP09-19].

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in November gave Bobcat approval to place one of its previously certificated caverns in service . The company reported that it was leaching the second cavern and expected it to be ready for service by Nov. 1.

The high-deliverability project is sited near Eunice and the Henry Hub, two of the top trading centers in the Gulf Coast region. Bobcat is owned by Haddington Energy Partners III LLC, a private equity fund that provides capital to develop energy infrastructure with a focus on gas storage, gathering and processing.

Columbia Gas Transmission got the go-ahead to expand its Crawford and Weaver storage facilities by 6.7 Bcf of working capacity and enhance daily deliverability from the storage fields by 103 MMcf/d under its Ohio Storage Expansion project (see NGI, June 30, 2008). The Crawford Storage facility is about 45 miles south of Columbus, and Weaver Storage is about 50 miles northeast of Columbus.

The expansion represents an approximate 2.5% increase in the company's working storage capacity in Ohio. It would meet growing demand for gas and transportation services in its Mid-Atlantic markets, said Columbia, a unit of NiSource Inc.

Washington Gas Light has signed up for 58% of the expansion capacity under a precedent agreement for 60,000 Dth/d of deliverability and 4 Bcf of storage capacity [CP08-431]. Columbia also hopes to serve shippers seeking storage capacity for gas transported on the Rockies Express Pipeline, the FERC order said.

FERC granted Columbia's and Bobcat's requests for authorizations to charge market-based rates for storage-related services. Without it, Columbia told FERC it would not be able to proceed with the construction of the 2.9 Bcf of unsubscribed capacity.

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