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Northwest Pipeline's Capacity Replacement Project Passes Final Environmental Test

FERC staff in a final environmental review recommended approval of an estimated $333 million project to replace natural gas delivery capacity on Williams' Northwest Pipeline in western Washington State.

Construction and operation of the so-called Capacity Replacement Project "would result in limited adverse environmental impacts," staff said of the Northwest Pipeline project in a final environmental impact statement [CP05-32].

The project involves the abandonment of 268 miles of 26-inch pipeline between Sumas and Washougal, WA, the construction of 79.5 miles of 36-inch diameter pipeline in four separate loops (referred to as the Sumas, Mount Vernon, Snohomish and Fort Lewis loops), and the modification of five existing compressor stations for a total of 10,700 net horsepower of new compression. The company has targeted in-service for November 2006 (see NGI, Dec. 6, 2004).

The new pipeline facilities and addition of compression horsepower will replace most of the capacity attributable to the existing 26-inch diameter pipeline.

The move was prompted by ruptures on the Northwest Pipeline system in May and December of 2003. There were no explosions or injuries. However, the federal Office of Pipeline Safety and the Pipeline Safety Division of the state Utilities and Transportation Commission ordered the company to test and repair defective segments of the pipeline, which was installed in 1956

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