Nominations for the trip to Chicago on Northern Border reached
490 MMcf/d by the middle of last week, which shows the line has
been ramping up gradually since beginning service on Dec. 22. But
it still is about 175 MMcf/d short of being full. The 665 MMcf/d
extension did not begin service near full capacity as pipeline
officials had predicted for a number of reasons, a spokeswoman
said. "The California market has been particularly strong the last
few weeks. The delivery point at Sumas, WA, has been very
price-positive for the Canadians so there's been a huge amount of
gas going in that direction," noted Northern Border's Beth Jensen.
There also was a set-back caused by water left in the line
following hydrostatic testing. "They did have some delivery points
that froze so we had to work those things out." Unfortunately there
was a four-day period without gas flow just prior to bidweek, which
created market uncertainty entering the month and probably impacted
nominations. "The kinks in the system are being worked out," she
said. "Now nominations at Manhattan, IL, [into Peoples] are 340
MMcf/d and at Minooka [into NiGas] are 150 MMcf/d. "Frankly I don't
think the market in Chicago to this point has jelled. I think it's
on its way to working out. But right now the market off of Ventura,
IA, [into Northern Natural to Minnesota and western Wisconsin]
seems to be as strong as anything. It's been very cold up there."
Northern Border's expansion/extension project increased take-away
capacity at Ventura by 260 MMcf/d.
Portland Natural Gas Transmission System isn't going to make its
second start-up deadline at the end of January, but officials are
promising to be in service in early February. The pipeline
originally expected 152 MMcf/d of Canadian gas would begin flowing
to New England markets last November. "It's almost done. We're
looking at welding the pipeline to TQM sometime during the first
week in February," said a spokesman. The pipeline still requires
about 100 tie-ins in northern New Hampshire about 10 miles south of
the border. "Everything is done except tie-ins and testing the
pipe. TQM already has gas in part of their pipe going to Waterloo
in Quebec," said PNGTS Spokesman Richard Anderson. "The other place
we're working on the pipe is just north of Westbrook, ME. And we
have one more horizontal directional drill under the Great Works
River." Pipeline construction was held up by heavy rains, a lot of
difficult stream crossings, environmental concerns and clean-up
work. "We were able to resolve all the issues with FERC," said
Anderson. The 292-mile pipeline system will extend to a connection
with Tennessee Gas Pipeline in northern Massachusetts from a
connection with an extension of the Trans Quebec & Maritimes
Pipeline near East Hereford, PQ. Gas volumes are expected to reach
210 MMcf/d by November.
The Natural Gas Supply Association (NGSA) and the Canadian
Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) will sponsor a major
conference later this month to review the status of North American
gas supply and demand. The conference, which will be held Jan. 28th
at the Canadian Embassy in Washington D.C., specifically will take
a look at industry forecasts for a 30 Tcf gas market by 2010 and
projected demand levels. The keynote speaker will be Ralph E.
Goodale, Canada's Minister of Natural Resources. His U.S.
counterpart, Energy Secretary Bill Richardson, also has been
invited to attend. Other speakers include Rep. Ron Packard (R-CA),
chairman of the subcommittee on energy and water development, and
Jay Hakes, administrator of the Energy Information Administration.
FERC Chairman James J. Hoecker has been invited.
Texas Utilities subsidiary TU Integrated Solutions formed a
strategic venture with ServiceMaster to own and operate a
nationwide energy management business. The new venture has acquired
all the assets of ServiceMaster Energy Management (SEM), currently
a division of ServiceMaster, and will be owned 85% by Texas
Utilities and 15% by ServiceMaster. Texas Utilities will invest $46
million for its share of the venture. Since its inception in 1976,
SEM has developed a package of services that assists customers in
achieving energy cost savings for large, complex energy projects.
SEM has access to ServiceMaster's established customer base and has
been providing a range of services, including initial energy
audits, feasibility studies, engineering, construction, training
and performance monitoring. The company has posted annual earnings
growth of approximately 16% since 1992. "There is a growing desire
in the business community to outsource non-core functions," said
Kenneth R. Breeden, president of TU Integrated Solutions. "We are
capitalizing on these outsourcing trends and needs to help
customers increase efficiencies and productivity."
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