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Northwest Expansion Approved

Northwest Expansion Approved

In a draft order the FERC approved Northwest Pipeline's mainline expansion plans in the Columbia River Gorge area of Washington State. The expansion will add 10,870 horsepower of compression at three existing stations, increasing mainline capacity by 50,000 Dth/d between the Stanfield, OR, meter station, where Northwest interconnects with PG&E Gas Transmission-Northwest, and Northwest's interconnect with Sumas International Pipeline (SIPI) near Sumas, WA. (Dockets CP98-554-000 and CP98-554-001)

Northwest said it needs to expand to accommodate a request by Duke Energy Trading and Marketing for 50,000 Dth/d of additional capacity through its Columbia Gorge pipeline. Duke plans to deliver gas from Alberta to BC Gas Utility, which is affiliated with SIPI, under a seasonal delivery contract approved by the British Columbia Utilities Commission.

The project cost is estimated at $18.57 million, including a lump-sum reimbursement to PG&E Gas Transmission Northwest for modifications it will need to make to meter equipment. Duke will compensate Northwest for the incremental cost-of-service attributable to the additional facilities through a facilities charge that adjusts annually to recover each year's cost of service. The Commission said in Northwest's next general NGA Section 4 proceeding it will address the use of facility charges in the context of existing and new customers' rates, the use of both rolled-in and incremental-plus rate designs for system expansions on the same system, and Northwest's potential market power to command prices exceeding cost-based rates as the result of the pipeline's existing postage stamp rate design.

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