Otay Mesa Asks to Import Gas for San Diego Plant

To solve the question of where gas supplies will come from for its new generating plant in San Diego, the Otay Mesa Generating Co. has asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for authorization to build gas import facilities at the California-Mexico border to import up to 110 MMcf/d to fuel a 510 MWh station to be sited near San Diego (see NGI, Oct. 16, 2000).

Under Otay Mesa's proposal, the import plant would be located about 15 miles southeast of downtown San Diego and 1.5 miles north of the border. In its application, the company noted that "there has not been a power plant sited in San Diego in almost 30 years. San Diego is a transmission-constrained area and has a desperate need for new generation."

Otay Mesa's facilities would interconnect with both the facilities of Mexico's Transportation de Gas Natural de Baja California (TGN) and San Diego Gas & Electric Co. (SDG&E). The gas transported on TGN would come from the San Juan and Permian basins and would be distributed through pipeline facilities of North Baja Pipeline LLC (NBP) and Gasducto Bajanorte, S. de R.L. de C.V. (GBN), which would carry the gas from Arizona into Mexico and then west. GBN then would transport the gas through the TGN system and deliver the gas to Otay Mesa in the United States. A 12-to-16-inch pipeline would extend approximately 340 feet from the U.S./Mexico border near a SGD&E metering station located in the United States.

"NBP and GBN, respectively, are constructing the U.S. and Mexican segments of a new gas pipeline extending from an interconnect with El Paso Natural Gas Co. near Ehrenberg, AZ, and the TGN system near Tijuana, Mexico," according to the application.

NBP applied to FERC for a certificate of public convenience and necessity to construct the U.S. portion of the pipe. GBN received its permit to construct and operate the Mexican portion from the Comision Reguladora de Energia on Dec. 15, 2000 [Docket No. S27-G-624-0].

Otay Mesa said its application "is significant not only because San Diego desperately needs a new power plant, as this summer's events in San Diego have made clear," but also because the company's proposed power plant would be the first in the United States to use mobile offsets to comply with federal and California Clean Air Act mandates.

"One of the key challenges facing all gas-fired plants in Southern California is that there needs to be additional natural gas pipeline capacity added to serve all plants" in the region, said Otay Mesa in its filing. "The proposed facilities will provide a supply route alternative that may alleviate the need to place additional stress on existing natural gas pipelines in Southern California."

Because Otay Mesa does not currently own or operate any gas pipeline facilities, it said that the proposed facilities would not impair its ability to offer U.S. transportation. It also said that because the facilities would be used only for "private transportation service," the service is exempt from the provisions of the Natural Gas Act under sections 1(b) and/or 1(c).

©Copyright 2001 Intelligence Press Inc. All rights reserved. The preceding news report may not be republished or redistributed, in whole or in part, in any form, without prior written consent of Intelligence Press, Inc.