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Tetco Proposes Independence Project Substitute

Tetco Proposes Independence Project Substitute

The battle over who will get to build new pipeline capacity to the prized Northeast gas market has reached a feverish pitch, with sponsors dreaming up ways to knock out their competitors' projects. ANR Pipeline and National Fuel Gas Supply Corp., sponsors of the proposed Independence Pipeline, recently proposed a plan that could wipe out a large part of Columbia Gas Transmission's Millennium Pipeline project. And Texas Eastern Transmission (Tetco) has joined the ranks, devising a proposal that could obviate the need for Independence altogether and part of an associated project.

Tetco claims it has enough existing and projected turned-back capacity on its system so that, when combined with "certain additional construction," would satisfy the customer needs of Independence and a portion of the MarketLink project. It offered the proposal earlier this month, saying it was overlooked by FERC staff as a possible alternative to Independence in the draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) on the pipeline project. Tetco was evaluated as a possible substitute for the MarketLink project in the DEIS, the pipeline said, but the availability of its turned-back capacity was not factored into the equation. The Commission staff subsequently asked Tetco to provide it with "supplemental comments" on the alternative, which it did this week.

Tetco said it could satisfy market demand of 663,000 Dth/d from an interconnection with ANR Pipeline at Muncie, IN, to Linden, NJ - a demand level that is "commensurate" with the existing subscriptions for MarketLink (663,000 Dth/d) and 34,000 Dth/d more than the current subscribed level for Independence (629,000 Dth/d). It contends it can do this by using existing and projected turned-back capacity, combined with construction of about 75 miles of pipeline looping, a replacement line and some additional compression.

All told, Tetco said its alternative would entail 193 miles of pipeline and 43,900 horsepower of compression at a cost of $194 million. This compares to 624 miles of new pipeline and 137,400 horsepower of compression for the $678 million Independence project, which when combined with ANR's associated SupplyLink line would extend from Joliet, IL, to the hub near Leidy, PA.

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