PG&E GT-NW Plans Lateral Across Washington State

PG&E Gas Transmission-Northwest (GTN) said it received market requests for about three times the capacity on a proposed lateral that would cross Washington and compete with Northwest Pipeline for rapidly expanding power generation markets in the western half of the state along the I-5 highway corridor. GTN closed its open season for the Washington Lateral Project June 22. It was the third open season for a GTN pipeline expansion this year. Meanwhile Northwest Pipeline has four expansions of its own planned for the region.

"The level of customer interest we received demonstrates the increasing demand for gas in Washington State," said Peter Lund, vice president of the PG&E National Energy Group, which includes GTN. Lund said GTN envisions a pipeline capable of transporting 300,000 to 400,000 Dth/d of gas. GTN said it received expressions of interest from local distributors and power generators.

The lateral would begin at GTN south of Spokane and head west to the Mid-Columbia area in central Washington, across the Cascades to the I-5 corridor in western Washington, which is served currently by only Northwest Pipeline. The ultimate route for the project has not been determined, and exact delivery points will be determined as the pipeline works out agreements with customers, the company said. "I want you to know that Mount Rainier is in the middle of the route area we are looking at but we will not be going over Mount Rainier because it's a national park; there's no way we are going to do that," said a GTN spokeswoman. "We're basically going to go from east to west over the mountains to I-5."

The pipeline companies in the Pacific Northwest have worked themselves into an expansion frenzy with two large mainline expansions and this new state-crossing lateral planned by GTN and four large laterals, including a new line to Vancouver Island, planned by Williams' Northwest Pipeline (see NGI, June 25). The power crisis has been the primary driver. Up until the last few decades, the region has relied on hydroelectricity and wood for its power generation, but now it is turning to natural gas.

©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.