Williams Proceeds with MarketLink Project
Williams' Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line (Transco) bought $119 million
worth of pipe and compressor facilities for the MarketLink expansion Wednesday
despite the project's lack of final approval from FERC. Construction is
scheduled to begin when MarketLink clears all its regulatory hurdles in
the late spring or early summer of next year.
Final environmental approval from FERC is not expected until September,
Transco spokesperson Amy Kaiser said. When asked if Transco was being premature
about buying pipe for a project that hasn't received final FERC approval,
Kaiser said "We are that confident. The draft recommendation was very
positive and we want to get going as soon as the final passes are given."
The order for 42- and 36-inch diameter pipeline was made with Napa Pipe
Corp. and Berg Steel Pipe Corp., while the compressor units were ordered
from Solar Turbines and Dresser-Rand. Pipeline and compressor design work
is ongoing with engineering contractors Gulf Interstate Engineering Company
and Paragon Engineering Services Inc.
"Commitments to contractors and suppliers are being made to ensure
that we have all the materials in place, ready to go once the regulatory
process concludes," said Cuba Wadlington Jr., senior vice president
and general manager, Williams' Transco pipeline system.
Walter Ferguson, chief advisor for FERC Commissioner Curt Hebert Jr.,
said the purchases were not premature. "As a general rule, many companies
make major purchases before final approval. Does this mean the project
is certain to be approved? Only the five commissioners know that. The landscape
is changing in accordance with all the environmental groups getting involved
with major projects like this MarketLink. But history tells us that once
a pipeline project demonstrates suitable need, which MarketLink has, the
environmental side can be mitigated."
The MarketLink project, along with the associated Independence project,
received a positive draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) from FERC
last month (See NGI, April 26). Some of the
reasons for the FERC staff recommendation included 67% of the proposed
pipeline routes would be adjacent to or overlap existing pipeline and powerline
rights-of-way and both Independence and MarketLink have agreed to use mitigation
procedures to reduce soil and water-related impact.
"We are encouraged by the recent progress the project has made,
especially in light of the DEIS prepared by the FERC," Wadlington
said. "The DEIS confirmed our position that we have chosen an appropriate
route for the project, which is particularly critical to serving the increasing
natural gas demand throughout the eastern seaboard."
Transco expects the $528 million expansion, which will transport gas
from the Leidy Hub in western Pennsylvania to New York City, to be in service
Nov. 1, 2000.
©Copyright 1999 Intelligence Press, Inc. All rights reserved.
The preceding news report may not be republished or redistributed in whole
or in part without prior written consent of Intelligence Press, Inc.