FERC Okays Columbia Gulf Compression Upgrade
FERC last week gave the go-ahead for a mostly compression
upgrade that would add 315,218 Dth/d to Columbia Gulf Transmission,
restoring its system to its original certificated capacity level
and then some.
Columbia Gulf's Mainline '99 Project - the first mainline
expansion for the pipe in 30 years - was partly in response to a
1997 order approving a consent agreement that capped off a FERC
investigation into whether the pipeline lowered its system capacity
below its certificated level without Commission authorization. The
erosion in the pipeline's certificated capacity was attributed to
the deteriorated nature of its facilities.
Columbia Gulf sought, and FERC granted, authority to add 218,000
Dth/d to return its system to its original certificated capacity of
2.1 MMDth/d, plus another 96,555 Dth/d. This would elevate its
certificated capacity to a new level of about 2.2 MMDth/d. The
Commission approved the project over the objections of some
Columbia Gulf shippers, who argued the pipeline's application
raised issues related to the controversial consent agreement and
Columbia Gulf's restructuring proceeding.
The added capacity would be brought about by replacing
compressor units at Columbia Gulf's Corinth Compressor Station in
Alcorn County, MS; Iverness Compressor Station in Humphreys County,
MS; and Hampshire Compressor Station in Maury County, TN, with
larger units over the next two years. As a result, compression
horsepower at the Corinth station would rise to 49,982 hp from
44,750 hp; Iverness station, 45,832 hp from 38,100 hp; and the
Hampshire station, 43,100 hp from 40,050 hp. The compressor units
being replaced were installed in the 1960s, said Robert Kaiser, a
Columbia Gulf spokesman in Houston.
The pipeline said 18 shippers already have requested 270,334
Dth/d of the new firm transportation service beginning Dec. 1,
1999, and an additional 44,884 Dth/d of firm service starting Nov.
The cost of the compression expansion has been estimated at
$37.6 million. FERC granted Columbia Gulf permission to roll in the
construction costs into its existing rate base in its next Section
4 rate proceeding, "provided there is no significant change in the
circumstances underlying the Commission's decision in this
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