El Paso, Gaz de France Units Plan Northeast Salt Cavern Storage

The Northeast may be getting another high deliverability salt cavern gas storage project. El Paso Corp. and GDF Energy Inc., a subsidiary of Gaz de France, are holding an open season for a proposed storage facility in Schuyler County, NY, where Energy East subsidiaries already have one bedded salt cavern facility operating and another planned.

The El Paso-GDF project is expected to initially provide 3 Bcf of working gas storage capacity, a 10-day withdrawal service and a 20-day injection service. Interconnects are proposed with Dominion Transmission and Tennessee Gas Pipeline. The project is expected to be in-service in October 2004 with the possibility of expansion to 10 Bcf of working capacity depending on market need.

"The facility will provide needed peaking service for new and existing gas-fired electric generation facilities in the New York area as well as highly flexible injection and withdrawal service for the growing needs of this strategic market," said Joe Averett, Jr., president of El Paso's Crystal Gas Storage. Crystal will hold El Paso's portion of the facility. The El Paso subsidiary currently manages Petal Gas Storage and Hattiesburg Gas Storage, two Gulf Coast region high deliverability storage projects.

Crystal and GDF started a non-binding open season last week for expressions of interest in the proposed capacity. Bids must be received by July 27. Customers interested in bidding on the available capacity should call Jeff Ballew at (318) 677-5512 or Russ Kovin at (832) 676-5659.

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