Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Corp. (Transco) is holding an open season for up to 250,000 Dth/d of incremental year-round firm capacity on its mainline from the Station 85 pool near Butler in Choctaw County, AL, for delivery upstream of the North Carolina-Virginia border.

The nonbinding open season began last Tuesday and ends Oct. 31 for the Williams pipeline's proposed 85 North Expansion project. The proposed in-service date for the capacity is May 1, 2011.

"Transco will have access to more than 3 Bcf/d of new domestic and LNG [liquefied natural gas] gas supplies at Station 85 over the next few years," said Phil Wright, president of Williams' natural gas pipeline business. "This project will connect those supplies to growing markets in the Southeast."

The final project size, location of facilities and cost will be determined by the results of the open season. The firm transportation will be provided under Transco's Rate Schedule FT and Part 284(G) of Federal Energy Regulatory Commission regulations.

Last month Transco announced a binding open season through Sept. 7 for expansion of its system in Mississippi (see NGI, Aug. 13). The expansion is designed to connect Transco with the recently authorized 1.5 Bcf/d Gulf LNG Energy LLC import terminal project located near Pascagoula, MS (see NGI, Feb. 19). Known as the Pascagoula Expansion Project, the pipe extension will provide approximately 467,000 Dth/d of firm transportation service from the import terminal facilities to Transco's Station 85 pool. Frank Ferazzi, Williams vice president of commercial operations, told NGI the results of the Pascagoula open season are not yet available.

"There is more than 3 Bcf/d of upstream capacity proposed to connect to our Station 85 within the next several years, including Gulf South's Southeast Expansion [see NGI, Aug. 20, 2007], Kinder Morgan's MidContinent Express [see NGI, Dec. 18, 2006], and our own Pascagoula Lateral project [see NGI, Aug. 13]," Williams said. "This is an ideal spot from which to expand our system to serve growing demand from LDCs and power generators in the Southeast. The size is reflective of anticipated market demand but can be adjusted based on bids in the open season."

Ferazzi said Station 85 will benefit from growing supply diversity with regasified LNG as well as domestic supplies. There are no worries for the compatibility of regasified LNG coming in because it will be required to meet pipeline specifications, and there is plenty of domestic gas entering the system as well, Ferazzi said.

The expansion, which would be accomplished through pipeline looping and additional compression, has been under consideration for about six months, a spokeswoman said. Power generators, industrial consumers and local distribution companies are all expected to benefit from the additional capacity, she said.

Transco also said Tuesday it would be considering Wednesday and Thursday requests for firm backhaul transportation under Rate Schedule FT for up to 180,000 Dth/d on its mainline with a primary path from Station 210 in Zone 6 to Station 65 in Zone 3 for the period Oct. 1 through Oct. 31.

For information on the open season, contact Helen Laughlin at (713) 215-3773 or Toi Anderson at (713) 215-4540.

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