Transco Launches VA-NC Expansion Open Season

More than four months after the project was first announced, Williams' Transco Pipeline is holding a binding open season through Sept. 7 for shippers interested in year-round firm transportation service on the company's proposed South Virginia Line (SVL) expansion project. The open season was launched Aug. 20 after the company gauged preliminary interest in April, and coincidentally three days after Gulf South Pipeline announced an open season for up to 1 Bcf/d of new service in the eastern Carolinas (see NGI, Aug. 20).

Williams said the project will be an expansion of the Transco pipeline system in Zone 5, beginning at Station 165 in Pittsylvania County, VA, and extending to Hertford County, NC. The SVL expansion project is designed to meet increasing natural gas demand in Virginia and North Carolina. The project is anticipated to be in service by May 1, 2004. To date, Transco has had the Carolinas market almost exclusively to itself.

The company said population growth and additional gas-fired power generation in the region sparked the expansion. "Williams is eager to expand to meet the rapid growth in eastern Virginia, and northern and eastern North Carolina, including areas that are not currently being served," said Gary Lauderdale, senior vice president and general manager of Williams' Transco pipeline. "The SVL project is designed to serve growth in current markets as well as support economic development in this region."

The maneuver comes as the latest in the race by companies to supply natural gas to the region. During the last week of July, Duke's East Tennessee Natural Gas applied to FERC for the go-ahead to build a phased 510 MMcf/d extension and expansion of its existing system to serve the expanding power generation and local distribution company (LDC) needs in the southeastern United States (see NGI, Aug. 13). The Patriot project calls for the construction of a 94-mile, 24-inch extension from central Virginia to North Carolina, enabling East Tennessee to provide service to portions of southwest Virginia for the first time and to introduce competitive supplies of natural gas to North Carolina from Appalachian and Gulf Coast producers.

In addition to the SVL and Patriot projects, Dominion Transmission has proposed a 200-mile, 600 MMcf/d Greenbrier Pipeline from its Cornwell Station near Charleston, WV, to a connection with Transco in Rockingham, NC (see NGI, Oct. 9, 2000) and Columbia Gas Transmission is assessing the response to an open season for its Homestead expansion in the Tidewater area of southeastern Virginia and Maryland and northeastern North Carolina (see NGI, Nov. 27, 2000).

Williams said it plans to file the SVL expansion project with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission during the first quarter of 2002. The level of market commitment will determine the final facilities, capacity and rates for the project. Additional information regarding the project may be obtained by contacting Helen Laughlin at (713) 215-3773 or Mark LeJune at (713) 215-2856.

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