The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said Wednesday that it has conditionally granted ANR Pipeline Co.’s application requesting abandonment approval and certificate authorization for its proposed WestLeg Project Expansion. The Commission gave the project preliminary approval on non-environmental grounds last December (see Daily GPI, Dec. 19, 2002).

The El Paso subsidiary’s plan seeks to expand the capacity of its system by looping its existing Madison Lateral line, located in Wisconsin’s Walworth and Rock Counties and in Illinois’ McHenry County, with 26.3 miles of 30-inch diameter pipe, and by modifying its existing Beloit Lateral line in Rock County, WI, by abandoning and removing four- and six-inch diameter lines and replacing them with a 20-inch diameter, 6.5-mile line.

ANR estimated the cost of the project to be $42.1 million. It expects the project to be in service by November 2004.

In its order, the Commission said it found the proposed expansion to be in the public interest as it “will increase the potential flow of competitively priced natural gas to supply underserved markets.” FERC incorporated strict environmental requirements on the project in response to numerous challenges from Wisconsin and Illinois environmental protection groups. Portions of the proposed looping pipeline crosses protected wetlands in both states.

The Commission’s approval was conditioned on ANR doing the following:

ANR claims that the expansion and abandonment of facilities as proposed will provide an alternative to bring needed gas to end users in the areas of Janesville and Madison, WI. The company said it views the expansion as an economic means to enable ANR to access new sources of supply, react more quickly to customers’ needs, and improve its system’s reliability and flexibility.

The proposed WestLeg Project is intended to increase ANR’s capacity to supply gas to the Madison and Janesville market areas by 220 MDth/d, with 86.5 MDth/d of this capacity to be used to replace volumes currently transported for ANR by Northern Natural Gas Co.

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