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Transco Hits New Three-Day Throughput Record on Eastern Cold Snap

Williams said its Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line (Transco) system, the largest gas pipeline in the United States by transportation capacity, set new throughput records on the three days from Jan. 17 through Jan. 19. The pipeline's throughput volume averaged 8.3 million Dth/d (or about 8.058 Bcf/d).

The previous record for a three-day average was 7.78 million Dth/d set Jan. 22-24, 2003. The new three-day mark follows on the heels of a new single-day peak of 8.73 million Dth/d (8.45 Bcf/d) that was established on Dec. 20, 2004. The new single day total actually exceeded what the pipeline company normally refers to as its maximum throughput capacity of 8.1 Bcf/d. The pipeline was able to exceed its capacity "basically through backhaul transactions," said spokesman Kelly Swan.

"A combination of foresight, experience and extensive preparation made these milestones possible," said Phil Wright, senior vice president of Williams' gas pipeline unit. "These recent record levels of throughput speak to the reliability and the flexibility of Transco's system in its ability to meet the increasing needs of our customers."

The pipeline has under gone a series of expansions in recent years, most of them along the southeastern portion of the system. However, the significant demand this month occurred mainly in its Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern market areas, where temperatures averaged 10-12 degrees below normal. "In this particular [event, the demand] was mainly from Georgia north all up along the eastern seaboard. It was quite a cold snap."

The 10,500-mile system extends from Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and offshore Gulf of Mexico through Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey to the New York City metro area.

Williams said the operational record for three-day throughput on Transco is not expected to have a significant impact on gas pipeline revenue in the first quarter because of the pipeline's regulated rate structure.

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