Energy East Plans New Salt Cavern Storage in Northeast
Building on its success developing the first salt cavern storage
facility in the Northeast, Energy East announced plans to develop
another high-deliverability gas storage facility in the same area
of southwestern New York about five miles north of Watkins Glen.
The proposed plant will be designed by Energy East subsidiary
Seneca Lake Storage in two caverns owned by U.S. Salt and will be
connected to Columbia Gas Transmission via a proposed 3.2-mile
pipeline. It is expected to be in service in November 2001 with
750,000 Dth of working gas capacity and 75,000 Dth of daily
"This new facility will provide much needed storage able to
respond to the growing demand for natural gas in the Northeast and
Mid-Atlantic regions," said George E. Bonner, president of Energy
Unlike its existing Seneca Lake salt cavern, which is operated
by subsidiary New York State Electric and Gas (NYSEG) for its own
in-state needs, the new facility will be FERC regulated and
connected to the interstate pipeline grid to serve Energy East's
growing list of distribution subsidiaries. Energy East currently
has three acquisitions (valued at a collective $2.4 billion in cash
and debt) in the works, one with CMP Group, parent of Maine's
largest electric utility Central Maine Power, another with CTG
Resources, Inc., parent of Connecticut Natural Gas (CNG), and a
third with Connecticut Energy, parent of Southern Connecticut Gas.
Following the completion of all three, which is expected by next
summer, Energy East will have 1.3 million electric customers and
about 542,000 gas customers, excluding any added through CMP
Natural Gas, its new Maine gas distribution partnership with CMP.
"We're looking to go into a different realm. Energy East is a
very different company now than when it first started construction
on the original storage facility," noted spokesman Dan Farley.
Energy East CEO Wes Von Schack said the company intends to build a
"super-regional" energy distribution company. In a region with the
most rapid gas-fired power generation growth, high-deliverability
storage will play an increasingly important role and so far Energy
East is the only regional operator with local access to salt
storage. NYSEG's existing salt cavern has 1.45 Bcf of working gas
capacity and 145 MMcf/d of peak deliverability.
Seneca Lake said it intends to file an application with FERC
soon with a request for market-based rates.
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