El Paso Corp. subsidiary, ANR Pipeline Co., launched a non-binding open season to determine customer interest in its Westleg expansion project, which would provide additional looping and compression along its existing gas pipeline system in South-Central Wisconsin. The announcement comes a month-and-a-half after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission gave the go-ahead to the rival 149-mile Guardian pipeline project (see NGI, March 19).

ANR said the Westleg expansion would provide additional capacity by November 2003 at a level to be later determined by market interest. The primary intention of the project is to serve incremental growth from a variety of customers, including local utilities, electric power developers and marketers. Proposed facility additions include the looping of ANR’s existing Janesville and Beloit laterals, as well as adding compression at its Janesville, WI compressor station.

“For this month-long open season we are going to test the waters and see what the market needs and when the capacity is needed, then we will take it from there,” said Joe Martucci, a spokesman for ANR Pipeline.

The company said the market growth is being fueled by more than 1,400 MW of natural gas-fired power development projects, in addition to growth in existing residential, commercial and industrial markets served through ANR’s pipeline system in Southern Wisconsin.

“Through its WestLeg expansion project, ANR can play a critical role in responding to growing energy demand in Wisconsin by incrementally increasing capacity along its existing pipeline system in a cost-effective manner,” said James J. Cleary, president of ANR Pipeline Co.

ANR’s open season will end June 1. For additional information or to obtain an open season package, interested parties may contact Lynn Cannon of ANR Pipeline at (313) 496-3789 or via e-mail at lynn.cannon@elpaso.com.

The approved Guardian project, which is expected to be in service in November 2002, will provide pipeline-on-pipeline competition to the Wisconsin market for the first time. The market has long been dominated by ANR Pipeline.

Speaking on the recently approved Guardian project, Martucci said “I don’t think it would be a competition thing because they are looking at different markets. Westleg is looking to serve growth markets, either power plants or just growth in traditional markets in the South-Central part of the state. Guardian as I understand it, is looking to serve load primarily in the Milwaukee area.”

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