Aitken Creek Storage Expansion Awaits Alliance Pipeline
Unocal Canada Limited received approval from the British
Columbia Ministry of Energy and Mines to increase the maximum
storage capacity of the Aitken Creek gas storage reservoir.
Approval allows Unocal Canada to initially increase working gas
capacity at Aitken by 20% to 48 Bcf as early as the second quarter.
Ultimately, working gas capacity could increase to 80 Bcf, double
the current capacity.
The expansion anticipates a connection with the planned Alliance
Pipeline, which is expected to begin deliveries from western Canada
to the U.S. Midwest in 2000. Aitken Creek is in northeast British
Columbia and is connected to the Westcoast Transmission System. Gas
from the facility currently serves markets in western Canada and
the U.S. Pacific Northwest. Services offered include firm storage,
parking, loaning, and other marketing services. Unocal Canada is
operator and owns a 93.79% working interest in the facility. The
remaining interest is owned by Amoco Canada Petroleum Co. Ltd.
According to Jim Avioli, Unocal Canada manager of natural gas
marketing, current sustainable withdrawal capability is about 270
MMcf/d with peak capability of about 400 MMcf/d. Injection
capability is about 270 MMcf/d. Post expansion, sustainable
withdrawal capability will be about 320 to 325 MMcf/d with peak at
400 to 450 MMcf/d. Injection capability will remain about 270
MMcf/d Westcoast doesn't have available capacity to fill the
additional storage, so Unocal Canada will most likely wait for
Alliance to come on line; however, Avioli said the company is
examining other options to bring the project on line before
Alliance. "We haven't really put the hard sell out for the
expansion. We've got the approval to do it."
Joe Fisher, Houston
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