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FERC Approves Opening of Millennium Pipeline Segment

FERC last week said Columbia Gas Transmission may begin service on an 18.5-mile segment of the Millennium Pipeline project in Steuben and Chemung counties in New York.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) granted Columbia's Nov. 5 request to open the 30-inch diameter pipeline within Spread 1 between the Corning compressor station at milepost 190.6 to mainline valve MLV1011 at milepost 209.1, saying it will provide continuity of service to Columbia's existing Line A-5 customers while the remainder of the 181-mile Millennium Pipeline project is constructed.

While Millennium constructed the Spread 1 facilities, Columbia will operate it until the entire project is completed and placed into service, the companies said.

Millennium Pipeline Co. LLC plans to complete construction of the entire 30-inch diameter Millennium pipeline across New York's Southern Tier and lower Hudson Valley by Dec. 1, and the pipeline could begin carrying gas as soon as that same day, a company spokesman said last month (see NGI, Nov. 3).

Millennium had previously scheduled completion in November (see NGI, June 2). Above-average rainfall last spring, combined with late delivery of some materials and construction delays at environmentally sensitive areas in the Catskill Mountains and in horizontal directional drilling at some rivers, led to the postponement, according to the company.

Construction on the pipeline was begun last year with the installation of 12 miles of pipeline, mostly in New York's Orange and Rockland counties (see NGI, June 25, 2007). While most of the mainline pipeline installation work is being completed this year, some land restoration and environmental monitoring work is expected to extend into 2009 and beyond, Millennium said.

Millennium, which will transport up to 525,400 Dth/d when it goes in service, is the centerpiece of a $1 billion investment in new energy infrastructure that includes new facilities by Empire State Pipeline, Algonquin Gas Transmission and Iroquois Gas Transmission. The pipeline is anchored by National Grid, Consolidated Edison of New York, Central Hudson Gas and Electric Corp. and Columbia. Millennium is owned by affiliates of NiSource Inc., National Grid and DTE Energy.

The bidirectional pipeline will directly or indirectly serve markets in New York, New Jersey and New England. Western New York gas storage and production can be accessed directly through Millennium, and Canadian gas can be delivered through interconnections with Empire State Pipeline and National Fuel Gas Supply.

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