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BC's Southern Crossing Re-Files With Two Shippers

BC's Southern Crossing Re-Files With Two Shippers

BC Gas said it thinks its Southern Crossing Pipeline is now a go since it reached agreement on terms with BC Hydro for firm capacity on the proposed pipeline and peak-shaving to be provided to BC Gas by BC Hydro. In April, the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) voted down the $350 million Southern Crossing Pipeline paralleling the existing BC Gas mainline in southern British Columbia between Yahk and Oliver (see NGI April 13, 1998). BC Gas re-filed Friday with the BCUC and announced another shipper in addition to BC Hydro.

"The commission in its decision felt that the projected growth in demand from residential and commercial customers alone on the BC Gas system were not sufficient to justify the large capital expenditure at this time," BC Gas said in an April statement.

The commission ordered BC Gas to explore synergies between the seasonal and peaking needs of its customers and the firm pipeline capacity requirements represented by new thermal generation plants. BC Hydro was looking at firming up gas transportation for increased power load. The idea is now for BC Gas to buy back some of BC Hydro's contracted capacity during peak gas demand periods.

"BC Gas believes that it has now met the conditions outlined in the BCUC order of April 3, 1998 to make the Southern Crossing Pipeline the lowest cost option for residential and commercial natural gas customers as well as serving the best interests of electricity customers," the company said in a statement this week. "If everything goes well we'll be in place Nov. 1, 2000," said BC Gas spokesman Cam Avery.

In the same area Northwest Pipeline has filed for its Columbia Gorge expansion. The project would increase capacity from Stanfield, OR, to Sumas, WA. Initial volumes of the expansion are expected to be 50 MMcf/d with in-service targeted for late 1999. The company hopes to add an additional 50 MMcf/d in 2002.

"We've actually bought some capacity on Northwest ourselves," BC Gas' Avery said. "We're trying to meet our own growth in peak load demand. This whole area is growing. We're only delivering into the lower mainland of British Columbia 105 MMcf/d. The rest of it's just looping into our existing system in the interior of British Columbia."

BC Gas is up against a proposal for an LNG plant that would provide peak shaving. That proposal has been put forth by Westcoast Energy. A Westcoast spokesman said the LNG plant is still on the table. "We are still going through the various parts of the process that are required for public hearings." At the time BC Gas last filed with the BCUC, a number of other LNG projects also were proposed by other parties. Joe Fisher, Houston

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