Northeast ConneXion To Expand Storage, Capacity

Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. began an open season on its new Northeast ConneXion Project last week, which is expected to expand both its storage and pipeline capacity for its northeast markets. The storage expansion of up to 5 Bcf could provide as much as 300,000 Dth/d of incremental deliverability and will serve as the base load for the pipeline expansion. The non-binding open season ends May 31.

The El Paso Corp. subsidiary's project has two primary components --- an expansion of Tennessee Gas' market area storage in Pennsylvania and an expansion of its downstream pipeline capacity from the Pennsylvania storage area to its New York City joint facilities. From the New York City facilities, gas would be sent to growing markets in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Tennessee Gas plans to use its existing corridor to link these areas with the Ellisburg-Leidy hub.

The Northeast market, said Tennessee Gas President Stephen Beasley, is expected to grow to 3 Bcf/d by the end of the decade, and hence, the reason for Northeast ConneXion. Unlike competing projects, which include Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line (see NGI, Dec. 18, 2000), Beasley said Northeast ConneXion would have "access to supply, access to storage, access to greenfield development and access to New York City." If there is enough interest, he said the project would be ready by 2003.

"A significant amount of growth is anticipated in the Northeast market," Beasley said, and because El Paso plans to integrate its existing pipeline system within the corridor, he does not anticipate any problems obtaining approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission once binding customer contracts are in place.

The project is expected to offer access to natural gas supplies from the Gulf Coast region, Western Canada and regional storage facilities, including the Stagecoach storage field now under construction. The final scope of the project will be determined once the open season ends and binding contracts are executed with potential customers. Customers are expected to include local distribution companies, power generators, marketers and industrial shippers.

"The Northeast ConneXion Project is our answer to the market's call for increased access to Gulf Coast natural gas supplies and additional storage service to meet the growing demand in the New York region," said Beasley. "The compelling combination of Tennessee's supply and market access with the additional storage and pipeline capacity offered in this open season clearly differentiates this project from the competition. Both new and existing shippers will benefit from it."

Interested shippers should contact Bob Bookstaber at (713) 420-3158 or Joe Wyzik at (713) 420-4258 for more information and the open season participation form.

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