California to Get Yet Another Pipeline Expansion

The frenzied pace of pipeline expansion in the West clearly is not over yet. PG&E Gas Transmission Northwest (GTN) is planning another major expansion, potentially 500 MMcf/d, with a targeted in-service date of November 2003.

The pipeline company said it is starting an open season today to accommodate the large number of shippers who requested service in its last market test for additional capacity. In January, the company held an open season for a 200 MMcf/d expansion and receive requests for more than 2.1 Bcf/d (see NGI, Feb. 26).

"Based on the response to the open season we conducted earlier this year and the power plant construction that continues both along side and downstream of our system, we believe there is still an unmet need for new pipeline capacity in the states served by GTN," said Peter G. Lund, vice president of the PG&E National Energy Group, which includes the GTN system.

In January, GTN offered 200 MDth/d of firm transportation capacity for service in 2002. Two power generators, Newport Northwest LLC and Calpine, were awarded the space (see NGI, March 26) . 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. Calpine also announced its own major pipeline to California last week with partner Kinder Morgan (see related story this issue).

The 2002 expansion will bring the total capacity of the 612-mile GTN system to 2,900 MDth/day at its Kingsgate, BC, receipt point. NEG is requesting expedited approval of that 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, also is planning an expansion.

Lund said the size of this major expansion will depend on the customer response in the open season, but GTN anticipates adding 300 MMcf/d to 500 MMcf/d.

Besides PG&E GT-NW, there are at least six other major pipeline expansions planned to serve California. Kern River has several expansions in the works. Colorado Interstate Gas is now planning to extend its proposed Ruby Pipeline across northern Nevada all the way to Sacramento. Questar has its Southern Trails pipeline to Long Beach under construction and has plans to expand its existing system and add a new storage field. El Paso is planning a variety of projects to increase deliveries to California and enhance gas transfers within the state. Transwestern has an emergency expansion on file with FERC to add 150,000 Dth/d by next June and could propose a much larger expansion in the near future because it received requests for 1.3 Bcf/d of additional capacity in an open season last fall. And Kinder Morgan and Calpine announced plans to build a 1,160-mile pipeline to deliver 1.75-2.25 Bcf/d of gas to San Francisco by summer 2003.

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