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Cheniere Energy Partners LP's Sabine Pass Liquefaction LC has signed up to be the anchor shipper on Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Co. LLC's (Transco) Gulf Trace expansion, a 1.2 million Dth/d project to serve the Sabine Pass Liquefaction project being developed in Cameron Parish, LA (see Daily GPIApril 17). The Sabine contract is sufficient to support the pipeline expansion, Transco said. A binding open season for additional capacity is to end May 8. The first phase of Sabine Pass is scheduled for completion as early as the fourth quarter of 2015. Gulf Trace will make Transco's production area mainline and southwest Louisiana lateral systems bidirectional from Station 65 in St. Helena Parish, LA, to Cameron Parish, LA. In addition to the pipeline reversal, a new, eight-mile 36-inch diameter lateral pipeline and two new compressor stations are planned. The cost of the project is estimated at $300 million; in-service is expected in early 2017.

When Energy Capital Partners subsidiary EquiPower announced last year that it planned to close the 1,492 MW Brayton Point Power Station in Somerset, MA, it was cheered on by the Sierra Club and others that said the 53-year-old facility -- which has three coal-fired units, one natural gas/oil-fired unit and four small diesel-fired units -- is a polluter. But in documents filed at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission related to ISO New England's Forward Capacity Auction Results (ER14-1409), Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen and others argue that the decision is already driving up customer costs. EquiPower withdrew the Brayton plant from the auction, "an act that appears to have contributed -- perhaps substantially -- to a shortage of capacity and triggered administrative pricing rules which more than doubled the overall costs of capacity obligations from the previous year throughout New England," Jepsen said in his filing. By closing Brayton, EquiPower is driving up profits at its other New England plants, Jepsen said. He asked FERC to investigate whether "an exercise of market power occurred and, if so, whether the rates resulting from the auction are unjust and unreasonable." EquiPower responded in its own filing that "based on what it believed to be reasonable operating and market assumptions and forecasts known at the time...operating the Brayton Point Generating Facility after May 31, 2017 would result in operating risks and losses..." 

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