Canadian approvals are expected to fall into place within thenext three months after the U.S. leg of the Alliance PipelineProject earned its environmental seal from FERC last week. “Thisputs us firmly on track,” Alliance spokesman Jay Godfrey said.FERC’s approval of the final environmental impact statement (FEIS)firmed up a schedule that – following a one-year delay due to aprolonged fight before Canada’s National Energy Board – calls forconstruction of the C$3.7-billion (US$2.6-billion), 1.3 Bcf/dpipeline to start next spring. That will be in time for completionand a start on deliveries in the fall of 2000, Godfrey said.
In Canada, the regulatory process is back to advancing at a pacein keeping with Alliance’s targets, following a spring resolutionof the feuds before the NEB. Canadian environmental approval isonly one step away. The project has received a draft Canadianenvironmental report which Godfrey said contained no surprises.
Final approval of the project’s Canadian leg is expected inOctober or November. Construction approval may include specialconditions requiring safety precautions as a result of engineeringdisputes over Alliance’s plans to ship a high-pressure blend ofliquids in vapor form for processing by a new plant to be builtnear Chicago.
Godfrey said the Alliance consortium, now dominated by Canadianand U.S. pipelines that bought out the founding producers, and theshippers remain as eager as ever to see the new project built. “Thedifferential is still there. The impetus to get to Chicago is stillthere.” He was referring to a wide gap between gas prices inwestern Canada and the Chicago market hub.
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