Newport, Calpine Grab 200 MDth/d on PG&E GTN

PG&E's National Energy Group (NEG) announced the winning bidders in a recent open season for expansion capacity on its Gas Transmission-Northwest (GTN) pipeline system. Two power generators, Newport Northwest LLC and Calpine, were awarded 200,000 Dth/d of firm transportation capacity that will be available in 2002. The pipeline also is proceeding with another capacity offering that will convert to new firm service in 2003.

Newport is developing a 1,300-MW generating plant near Wallula, WA, and two plants of similar size at other locations in the Pacific Northwest. Calpine has several generating projects in construction or development in the Pacific Northwest and California. The pipeline operator plans to apply to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in April for permission to construct the 2002 pipeline expansion, which will increase capacity on the GTN system to 2,900 MDth/day at its Kingsgate, BC, receipt point. NEG will request expedited approval of the expansion, so that partial service can begin as early as next winter, with full service available by summer 2002.

GTN's upstream gas transportation partner, TransCanada PipeLines, has indicated that it too might expand to support greater throughput to the Pacific Northwest and California. Upon receipt of signed contracts with its expansion shippers, TransCanada plans to seek regulatory approval to expand its Alberta and B.C. systems upstream to ensure a matching of downstream capacity at Kingsgate.

NEG conducted an open season earlier this year for the 2002 capacity (see NGI, Feb. 26). The company said it received qualifying bids from about 25 companies for capacity totaling 10 times the 200,000 Dth/day that NEG was offering for 2002 service. After the close of a rescission period, the NEG finalized awards based on the bids submitted by Newport and Calpine.

"The result of our open season indicated that the western energy market is seeking additional pipeline capacity to serve the increasing demand for natural gas," said Thomas B. King, president of NEG's West Region. "We want to play a role in helping to meet that need, so we will solicit customer interest in an additional expansion on the GTN system with an open season beginning in April for 2003 service." King said NEG would make a decision about the size of a 2003 expansion based on customer response to the open season.

The 2002 expansion will include adding 21 miles of new 42-inch diameter pipe to the GTN system north of Spokane, WA, as well as adding new compressor units at five stations. GTN has already ordered equipment and begun engineering for the expansion so that work can begin as soon as FERC approval is secured.

With current capacity of 2,700 MDth/d, the GTN system is the most direct link between western Canadian gas supplies and the growing gas markets in the Pacific Northwest and California. It includes 1,335 miles of pipeline along a 612-mile route that begins at the Idaho/British Columbia border, traversing northern Idaho, southeastern Washington and central Oregon, and terminates at the Oregon/California border, where it interconnects with the Pacific Gas and Electric California intrastate pipeline system.

The GTN system also interconnects with Tuscarora Pipeline and the Williams Company's Northwest Pipeline system, as well as several gas distribution companies and electric generators. The proposed expansion would add capacity to the entire length of the GTN system. Rocco Canonica


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