NW Natural Mist Facility Gets New Pipe
Gas from NW Natural's underground storage facility began flowing
into the company's new Mist III Pipeline in Mist, OR. The
24-inch-diameter pipe allows the company to provide more gas to the
growing Washington County area. The $35 million pipeline runs
parallel to a 16-inch line built in the late 1980s to connect the
Mist gas storage field to the company's distribution system.
NW Natural has been developing gas storage in northwest Oregon
for 20 years. Construction on the Mist III pipeline began in June.
Current working capacity at Mist is 8.5 Bcf. NW Natural plans to
add another 2 Bcf of storage capacity in November 2000. Withdrawal
capacity currently is 210 MMcf/d.
"We were working on a very tight time frame to get the project
done in time for the 1999-2000 heating season," said Charlie
Stinson, NW Natural project manager. "At the same time, we needed
to take special precautions to comply with stringent environmental
regulations. The goal was to complete the project with only minimal
and temporary environmental impact, and to restore it afterwards to
its original use."
The pipeline crossed 42 streams and 50 wetlands. Workers used
directional drilling in many cases.
Now work begins on the future phases of the project: Mist Phase
IV and V. In early October, NW Natural filed a Notice of Intent
with the Energy Facility Siting Council (EFSC) to build a 52-mile
long, 24-inch diameter gas pipeline from the end of the Mist III
pipeline near North Plains, OR, to the Williams Gas Pipeline in
Molalla, OR. Mist IV would grow storage withdrawal capacity to 425
MMcf/d. Mist IV could be in service in 2002.
The filing starts a 2 ®-year process that begins with studies of
the proposed route. Next spring, NW Natural will begin a detailed
study of the half-mile wide corridor to identify a specific route
The Mist facility is operated only for customers of NW Natural,
which serves 488,000 residential, commercial and industrial
customers in western Oregon and southwestern Washington State.
Joe Fisher, Houston
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