Northern Natural Gas has called on FERC to approve by the end of the month its application to increase the capacity at its Redfield storage field in Dallas County, IA.

Failure to issue a certificate by Feb. 29 would postpone the in-service dates of the proposed expansion, the MidAmerican Energy pipeline said. Northern Natural noted that its goal is to place part of the project in operation on June 1 and the remainder by Dec. 31.

Northern Natural is seeking to expand Redfield's 124 Bcf storage capacity by 8.551 Bcf. It said it has executed precedent agreements for a total of 8 Bcf of firm deferred delivery storage service, with the balance earmarked for potential base gas requirements [CP07-108]. The pipeline's application to increase storage capacity has been pending at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission since March 2007.

In order to meet its planned in-service schedule, Northern Natural said it must begin construction by March 1 and drilling by April 1. "A delay in the commencement of construction could cause a ripple effect in the construction schedule that could jeopardize the final in-service date of the new wells."

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued an environmental assessment for the Redfield storage expansion last August, and Northern Natural said it has responded to all data requests issued by the agency. FERC's Office of Energy Projects conducted a pre-certification site visit at Northern's Redfield compressor station in mid-November. The pipeline said it has provided all required and follow-up information.

"The only issue that Northern is aware of is the concern regarding increased noise from Northern's Redfield compressor station at the Short residence. Northern has previously committed, and does so again here, that the noise levels will not increase over the grandfathered levels currently existing at the nearest noise-sensitive areas and the new unit will not exceed the required...noise level."

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