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Totem Plans to Be CO's 1st Independent Storage

Totem Plans to Be CO's 1st Independent Storage

Brandt Energy, a former partner in the Wild Goose Storage project in California, is planning the development of Colorado's first independent gas storage facility. The Totem Gas Storage Project is to be located about 12 miles east of the Denver Airport in a depleted gas field in the J Sand reservoir of the Denver Julesburg Basin. Brandt, Star Natural Gas, Renegade Oil & Gas and Fairchild, Ancell & Wells make up the development team for the project, which will target growing power generation load and marketers serving customers along the Front Range.

There's a dearth of storage in the state and what is there is either under contract or being used by the local utility, said Brandt Energy President Michael G. Wright.

Totem will be one of only six storage fields in the state and will have one of the highest deliverability rates of any of the existing facilities.

"We have pretty good permeability and porosity, and we're able to come up with a deliverability of over 200 MMcf/d," said Wright. "It will have to reach about half of the 9 Bcf of working gas capacity before deliverability starts falling off. One of the things we'll be able to do is to inject and withdraw gas on any day at any point in the year, which is different than the other reservoirs, which have active water drives. There's a requirement that they have to get their gas out every year otherwise they may lose it behind the water." He said Totem will have sufficient injection capability to provide a minimum of two cycles per year.

There will be a greater need for the flexibility Totem will provide as gas and electric competition heats up in the state, Wright noted. "Any marketer, gas supplier or trader that plans on supplying small commercial or residential loads is going to have to have swing and balancing capabilities.

"In addition to that, the power market is continuing to grow in Colorado," he noted. In response to a shortfall in power supply last summer and resulting brownouts, Public Service of Colorado issued a request for proposals for new generation capacity and a number of peaking gas-fired plants are being developed and are going to be in service in about a year.

Totem is expected to be in service in the second quarter of 2001 with connections to Colorado Interstate Gas and PSCo. Wright said Totem has filed an application with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission for approval to convert the field into a storage facility and will apply with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission for market-based rates. Totem currently is holding an informal open season. For details call Wright at (214) 954-1886, or email him at mgwrit1@aol.com.

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