Gas-less Eastern NC to Get 72 MMcf/d Pipe

Following years of planning, Eastern North Carolina Natural Gas Co. (ENCNG), a non-profit partnership between the Albemarle Pamlico Economic Development Corporation (APEC) and Raleigh, NC-based Progress Energy, reported that their long-awaited gas supply project to residential, commercial and industrial consumers across a 14-county section of eastern North Carolina is under way.

Designing, surveying and environmental permitting have started on the 72 MMcf/d pipeline system, which will give the counties their first access to gas. The initial phase of the project includes six northeastern counties and consists of about 140 miles of transmission (six-inch to 12-inch-diameter) pipeline and about 75 miles of distribution (two-inch to six-inch-diameter) pipe.

"For many years, residents and businesses in eastern North Carolina have wanted to have the option of selecting natural gas for their energy needs," said Don Davis, executive vice president of Energy Services for Progress Energy. "We are pleased to be helping to make the natural gas option a reality." Progress is investing $12 million in the project with the remainder coming from North Carolina bond funds.

ENCNG said construction of transmission and distribution pipelines will occur simultaneously with the first phase scheduled to begin in late 2001 and be completed by mid-summer 2002. The entire project should be complete by late 2004.

"We represent a significant area of eastern North Carolina which does not have natural gas service," said Jimmie Dixon, chairman of the APEC board of directors. "APEC has spent 10 years working to improve the region's quality of life, and we believe the new ENCNG pipeline will be a key to those efforts."

Formed in April 2000, ENCNG will own the transmission and distribution system and will operate as a public utility regulated by the North Carolina Utilities Commission.

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