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Columbia Gas Tests Waters for Expansion of System in Kentucky, West Virginia

March 7, 2005
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NiSource Inc. subsidiary Columbia Gas Transmission Corp. last Thursday said it is testing the waters to determine the interest of Appalachian producers in a potential expansion of its existing natural gas pipeline system that would permit delivery of additional supplies to markets in the Upper Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions.

Under an open season that began last Wednesday and will run through March 15, potential shippers can express interest in incremental firm capacity from various points on Columbia Gas Transmission's Appalachian pipeline system in eastern Kentucky and southern West Virginia to a proposed interconnection with a Dominion subsidiary near Dominion's Oscar Nelson Compressor Station in southern West Virginia.

The expansion project would consist of additional pipeline looping facilities and/or compression to Columbia Transmission's existing system in eastern Kentucky and southern West Virginia. The actual system facilities and the amount of firm transportation to be added will be determined at the close of the open season based on market participation, according to Merrillville, IN-based NiSource.

Columbia spokesman Kelly Merritt said it would be more than a year before the pipeline submits an application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The pipeline noted that the projected in-service date for the expansion facilities is June 2008, subject to the receipt of all necessary regulatory, environmental and right-of-way approvals.

Prospective shippers seeking more information concerning the open season are advised to call Michael J. Strauss at (703) 227-3364 or e-mail him at mjstrauss@nisource.com.

Columbia Gas Transmission transports more than 3 Bcf/d of natural gas through its 12,750-mile pipeline network that covers midwestern, northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states for local distribution companies and industrial and commercial customers.

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