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Columbia Planning Ohio Storage Expansion

Columbia Gas Transmission Corp. intends to expand its Ohio storage facilities by 6.7 Bcf of working capacity and enhance daily deliverability from its Weaver and Crawford storage fields by 100 MMcf/d under its Ohio Storage Expansion project, for which it filed with the FERC on Tuesday.

The expansion represents an approximately 2.5% increase in the company's working storage capacity in Ohio. It would meet growing demand for gas and transportation services in its Mid-Atlantic markets, said Columbia, a unit of Nisource Inc. Columbia is asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to issue a certificate authorizing the expansion by the end of this year. Construction would occur in 2009 with the facilities in service by Nov. 1, 2009, the company said. Columbia is seeking market-based pricing authority; as such, it is not required to disclose the expected cost of the project.

Washington Gas Light has signed up for 58% of the expansion capacity, Columbia said, under a precedent agreement for 60,000 Dth/d of deliverability and 4 million Dth of storage capacity.

Crawford Storage is about 45 miles south of Columbus, and Weaver Storage is about 50 miles northeast of Columbus. At Crawford Columbia proposes to drill up to 16 new storage wells, convert or perform other work on 27 existing wells and install about 13 miles of storage pipeline. At Weaver the company proposes to install 4.1 miles of storage pipeline, replace 1.7 miles of existing pipeline, install additional metering and regulation stations and perform enhancement and deliverability work on 21 existing storage wells.

Columbia spokesman Kelly Merritt told NGI that the storage expansion was not precipitated by the Rockies Express Pipeline (REX) and the volumes of Rockies gas it will be delivering to Ohio (see NGI, June 2). "However, the REX project certainly adds to the value of natural gas storage in southern Ohio, and if approved, this project will enable Columbia Transmission to expand its capacity and capture some of the increased demand," Merritt said.

Columbia is working on its Eastern Market Expansion, which was approved by FERC in 2007 (see NGI, Oct. 8, 2007). In February the company filed with FERC to construct its Appalachian Expansion, which would move incremental gas supplies from producing fields in southern West Virginia and eastern Kentucky (see NGI, March 17). The company's Millennium Pipeline is under construction and expected to flow gas later this year (see NGI, May 12).

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