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NW Natural Mist Facility Gets New Pipe

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 for construction.

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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