Pipeline Expansion Hits Highs Not Seen Since 1960's

Due to the increased natural gas demand in the country sparked by new gas-fired generation coming online, the United States is experiencing the largest wave of pipeline infrastructure expansion since the early 1960's , according to a recent advisory from Industrial Information Resources Inc. (IIR). The consultant group said it expects 25,000 miles of gas transmission pipeline will be constructed by 2010 and an additional 13,000 miles by 2015, with estimates ranging up to 275,000 miles or more of distribution pipelines.

Since 1997, IIR said the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has permitted 55 major on-and-offshore gas pipeline projects totaling over 7,800 miles of pipe, 1.8 million horsepower of compression and 21.5 Bcf of capacity representing more than $10 billion in investment. According to IIR, FERC currently has another 22 major onshore gas pipeline projects totaling more than 1,600 mile of pipe, 481,000 horsepower of compression and 6 Bcf of capacity representing $3.3 billion in investment still awaiting permits.

IIR said many forces are working in conjunction to promote this growth such as consumer demand, gas fired electrical generation, existing pipelines nearing capacity and an energy friendly White House.

"Available and affordable energy is key to the sustained economic growth in this country," said Ed Lewis, CEO of IIR. "Everybody is concerned with energy getting out of hand to a point where it is impacting growth, so there is a growing acceptance for at least the government supporting the policies necessary in order to move forward," he said in an interview recently aired as a part of CNN's Moneyline.

IIR is a Houston-based information provider that serves the marketing and sales information needs of companies that sell products and services into the industrial process, heavy manufacturing and energy-related market sectors. IIR provides industrial project leads, Plant Profiles®, market analysis and forecasts, database products and services and data solutions designed to streamline marketing & sales activities.

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