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Viking Gas Expansion Gets Green Light

Viking Gas Expansion Gets Green Light

Viking Gas Transmission got some good news Wednesday as FERC approved a looping expansion of its system that will make it possible for existing customers between the northern Minnesota border and West-Central Wisconsin to receive up to 28,000 Dth/d of additional gas supplies by the end of the year.

Viking Gas plans to construct loops at five different segments-all in Minnesota-of its 497-mile system, which would result in a 5.5% increase in the pipeline's current capacity of 480 MMcf/d, said Viking President Gregory Palmer. "It's kind of a benchmark for us" because it will boost Viking's total system capability to over half a Bcf per day.

"It's another step forward in the growth of Viking and in providing service to our customers," he told NGI. He estimated that the $21.4 million planned expansion, which has a target in-service date of Nov. 1, was 100% subscribed for winter and 89% subscribed for summer.

Five shippers have signed 15-year agreements for the expansion capacity, including Cardinal FG; the City of Perham, MN; Northern States Power-Minnesota (Viking's parent); Northern States Power-Wisconsin; and UtiliCorp United.

For the expansion, FERC approved Viking's request of incremental monthly demand rates of $10.65/Dth for service from its Emerson interconnect (at the U.S.-Canadian international boundary) to any Zone 1 delivery point and $13.65/Dth for service from Emerson to any Zone 2 delivery point. It also approved initial commodity rates, subject to the outcome of Viking's pending general rate case.

The Commission did not impose an at-risk condition on the Viking project to shield non-expansion customers from costs associated with any underutilized capacity. However, it said, "if Viking later proposes in a section 4 rate case to roll in the expansion costs, it will bear the burden to justify the proposal and show that it would not adversely affect its other customers."

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