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FERC Approves Millennium Pipeline Contingency Plan

FERC has approved a contingency plan filed by Millennium Pipeline Co. LLC that would allow Millennium to begin operation this month even if the pipeline's East Branch horizontal directional drill (HDD) is not completed in time to meet Millennium's proposed Dec. 15 in-service date.

Millennium has incurred "significant delays" in attempting to complete the HDD at the East Branch of the Delaware River in Hancock, NY. The company has completed the drill at the East Branch but attempts to pull the pipe through the drill bore have been unsuccessful, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

Under the contingency plan approved by FERC on Friday, Millennium would:

The estimated cost of the contingency plan is $1.9 million.

In late November Millennium said its 182-mile, 30-inch diameter gas pipeline across New York's Southern Tier and lower Hudson Valley, which was proposed more than a decade ago, would be fully operational by Dec. 15 (see NGI, Dec. 1). Millennium said gas was flowing in portions of pipeline located in Rockland, Orange, and Sullivan counties on behalf of CGT under an arrangement necessitated by the "lift and lay" construction method used on the eastern segments of the pipeline.

FERC recently authorized CGT to begin service on portions of the Millennium Pipeline -- an 18.5-mile segment in Steuben and Chemung counties, between the Corning Compressor Station at milepost 190.6 and the mainline valve MLV 1011 at milepost 209.1 (see NGI, Nov. 24); and a 76.6-mile segment between mileposts 209.1 and 285.7 in Chemung, Tioga, Broome and Delaware counties.

Millennium, which will transport up to 525,400 Dth/d when it goes into 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.

Empire Connector -- one of five projects that make up the Northeast Project, or the reconfigured Millennium Pipeline project -- is scheduled to begin service to customers in New York and New England this month. FERC last week gave National Fuel Gas Co.'s Empire State Pipeline the green light to begin service on the 77-mile, 24-inch diameter connector that extends from near the terminus of Empire's exiting 157-mile pipeline outside Rochester, NY, and runs south to Corning, NY, where it ties in with Millennium Pipeline.

The $144 million Empire Connector project will transport 250,000 Dth/d and provide customers with access to supplies at the Dawn Hub in Ontario through Empire State Pipeline's connection with TransCanada PipeLine's system at the Chippawa Channel of the Niagara River.

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