Madison Gas and Electric Extends ANR Contract
Placing another brick in the apparent Chinese wall against Wisconsin
pipeline challengers, ANR Pipeline Co. (ANR) executed agreements with the
state's Madison Gas and Electric Co. (MGE) to extend gas transportation
and storage services that were to expire over the next four years. The
agreements are subject to approval by the Public Service Commission of
"MGE has been a long-time, valued customer of ANR; and we're pleased
to continue our service relationship with them on a long-term basis into
the new millennium," said Jeffrey A. Connelly, CEO of ANR Pipeline.
"These agreements give MGE long-term price certainty at competitive
rates and will provide it with increased access to ANR's Joliet Hub.
"With the growing importance of Chicago as a major supply hub in
the natural gas industry, MGE is well positioned with these firm contract
extensions on ANR to secure and deliver the most economical natural gas
supplies to its distribution system."
The news comes following the death of one pipeline challenger to ANR
and the indefinite shelving of another (see NGI
Nov. 9, 1998). Biting the dust was the watered-down 1 Bcf/d Voyageur
Pipeline project, which was sponsored by TransCanada Pipelines and Nicor
Inc. "We just couldn't get enough contracts to make it financially
viable," said Carl Alston, a spokesman for Nicor, parent of Nicor
Likewise, the competing 650 MMcf/d Illinois-Wisconsin Express Project,
which was being financed by a coalition of companies, has been relegated
to a kind of limbo - put on hold - reportedly until an unnamed Wisconsin
utility can commit to the project that would target a region in the state,
which primarily is served by Wisconsin Gas and the gas operations of Wisconsin
Electric Power. Paula Delaney, spokeswoman for coalition member El Paso
Energy told NGI, "I imagine it will be resurrected again at some point,
but they just couldn't get enough shipper support."
Mark Maranger, CEO of Wisconsin Fuel and Light and past chairman of
the Wisconsin Distributor Group, said another pipeline besides ANR "would
be helpful in increasing the level of competition for interstate services."
Competing projects, once a hot topic for discussion among Wisconsin Distributor
Group members, are no longer on the discussion agenda. "The alternate
projects are not a group topic any longer, at least not until one becomes
viable.. There's nothing really out there to talk about."
Joe Fisher, Houston
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