FERC has approved Chestnut Ridge Storage LLC's request for an exemption from the certificate requirements of the Natural Gas Act (NGA) to drill two test wells and perform other activities to determine the feasibility of developing a natural gas storage project in a storage field in southwestern Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia.

The purpose of the test wells is to provide Omaha, NE-based Chestnut Ridge with data to optimize the design of its proposed Junction Natural Gas Storage facility in the West Summit Gas Field in Fayette County, PA, and Preston and Monongalia counties, WV. The field still is producing but is nearly depleted. If the test results are favorable, the company said it would then seek state permits and a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) certificate under Section 7 of the NGA.

"We find it in the public interest to exempt the proposed activities from the certificate requirements of NGA Section 7(c)," the FERC order said [CP07-439]. "The proposed activities are necessary in order for Chestnut Ridge to make an informed business and engineering decision regarding the feasibility of developing a storage facility, which would allow Chestnut Ridge to better serve the growing gas demand needs in the region."

Chestnut Ridge Storage is owned by Tenaska West Summit LLC, Houston's eCORP LLC and TPF West Summit LLC. In mid-September, Chestnut Ridge Storage LLC launched a nonbinding open season for up to 25 Bcf of new gas storage capacity at Junction. The open season closed on Oct. 10.

The company plans to convert Junction from a depleted gas reservoir into a multi-cycle, high-deliverability storage facility with 500,000 Dth/d of injection and withdrawal capability. Its target in-service date is the first quarter of 2009.

The storage facility would provide service to the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Upper Midwest markets, and it has the potential to be interconnected with the Columbia Gas Transmission, Dominion Transmission and Texas Eastern Transmission pipelines.

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