Westcoast Awards 250 MMcf/d in Open Season

Vancouver-based Westcoast Energy Inc. reported last week that its recent open season on its Southern Mainline was a complete success. In addition to fully subscribing the 200 MMcf/d open season for additional transportation capacity on its Southern Mainline, the company announced that it awarded 50 MMcf/d of additional transportation capacity on its Westcoast Alberta line.

The company said that the proposed expansions will link growing natural gas markets in the B.C. Lower Mainland and U.S. Pacific Northwest with additional natural gas supplies from British Columbia, Alberta and the Northwest Territories.

The open season that spanned the month of May was first announced in late April (see NGI, April 23). The Southern Mainline expansion would increase the capacity from compressor station 2 to the Huntingdon delivery area (Zone 4) by about 200 MMcf/d, and its Westcoast Alberta line from Nova/Gordondale to ABC/Gordondale, westbound by about 100 MMcf/d.

Westcoast said it is preparing to award the 200 MMcf/d of its Southern Mainline expansion capacity to 10 parties who made valid and binding service requests. The average term was 27 years. The company said it is also preparing to award the 50 MMcf/d Westcoast Alberta expansion capacity to four parties who made valid and binding service requests. The average term was 30 years. Both expansions, which are expected to be in-service by Nov. 1, 2003, are subject to regulatory and other approvals.

"The total volume bid in the open season is consistent with our original view of the additional pipeline capacity required to meet the near-term natural gas demand in the B.C. Lower Mainland and the U.S. Pacific Northwest markets," said Doug Haughey, president, Westcoast Energy Pipeline and Field Services Divisions. "We will consider building additional capacity as market demand warrants."

Westcoast's Southern Mainline project complements Northwest Pipeline's recently announced facilities' expansion, Westcoast said. The Northwest Pipeline expansion will also add approximately 200 MMcf/d of new gas transportation capacity from its connection with the Westcoast pipeline at the international border between British Columbia and Washington State. The expected in-service date of the Northwest Pipeline expansion facilities is June 1, 2003.

"While the results of this open season serve to confirm both the extent of demand for natural gas from these markets, as well as the pipeline capacity additions required to meet this demand, Westcoast will continue to closely monitor the market. Since 1957, the Westcoast system has been continuously expanded to meet growing natural gas demand in the B.C. Lower Mainland and the U.S. Pacific Northwest, and we will look at further facility additions to our system as they are required to meet future market growth," said Haughey.

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