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Frontier Energy Begins North Carolina Gas Flow

Frontier Energy Begins North Carolina Gas Flow

Frontier Energy, North Carolina's newest gas utility, began flowing gas in Surry, Wilkes and Yadkin counties. "With more than 50 miles of newly installed gas main pressurized, we're officially up and running," said Andrew Rea, chairman of Frontier Energy. "In just eight months, we were able to complete the first phase of our system and start serving customers."

Frontier Energy is a partnership between Sempra Energy Utility Ventures and Frontier Utilities of North Carolina, which is principally owned by ARB Inc. of Lake Forest, CA. Other partners include Industrial Gas Services Inc. of Wheat Ridge, CO, and Pipeline Solutions Inc., with headquarters in Glenwood Springs, CO. Ground was broken on the North Carolina system in April. The transmission portion of the system is expected to take two years to complete, with the majority of the distribution system being built-out over five years. Frontier Energy's first customer is Wayne Farms.

With certificates to deliver gas to seven counties Frontier Energy plans to hook up as many customers as possible before the end of the year. "To date, 80 miles of gas system pipeline has been installed," said Joe Rivera, vice president of operations for Sempra Energy Utility Ventures. "When completed, more than 170 miles of steel transmission pipe and 730 miles of plastic distribution pipe will be in operation. Our $55 million natural gas delivery system, which we believe to be the largest new start-up gas utility in the United States in the past 30 years, will eventually serve approximately 150,000 customers in the state."

In January Energy Pacific and Frontier Utilities formed Frontier Energy to build the system. The announcement followed one in October of a joint venture between Energy Pacific and Bangor Hydro to provide distribution service to greater Bangor, ME. Frontier Energy interconnects with the Transcontinental Gas Pipeline (Transco) near Salisbury, NC.

Joe Fisher, Houston

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