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Millennium Pipeline Receives NYPSC Support on Phase 1

A recent endorsement of Millennium Pipeline by the New York Public Service Commission (NYPSC) is another indicator of growing momentum for new energy infrastructure to benefit upstate and downstate regions of New York, as well as other Northeast markets, according to pipeline President Dick Leehr. Millennium is still awaiting FERC approval of its amended project application.

In an intervention filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in January, the NYPSC pointed to tight supplies and growing demand for natural gas in support of its endorsement of Phase 1 of the Millennium Pipeline Project, a partnership of Columbia Gas Transmission, KeySpan Corp. and DTE Energy Corp.

"The increased availability of affordable and reliable supplies of natural gas and enhanced infrastructure are important to the state's economic development and growth," the NYPSC wrote. "Millennium Phase 1 will provide such benefit."

Leehr said the Millennium project team is continuing to move forward, adding that the group recently held a successful open house meeting in Binghamton, NY. Reaching contractual agreements with both Con Ed and KeySpan as anchor shippers has boosted the prospects of moving forward as well, he said (see Daily GPI, Aug. 3, 2005).

Leehr noted that the NYPSC has been consistent in advocating the need for infrastructure to meet New York's growing energy needs. "We are pleased to receive the commission's support for this important project."

The PSC's filing pointed out that moderate load growth in New York is expected over the next several years in the core gas load of residential and commercial markets. The greatest growth -- up to 5% annually -- is expected on Long Island. Millennium also will serve the state's southern tier markets and would replace an older pipeline (Columbia Gas Transmission's Line A-5 system) with new facilities.

The NYPSC also found that the Millennium project offers storage benefits as well. "Access to additional storage will provide increased flexibility and reliability to the gas system that can access these facilities through the Millennium Pipeline," the NYPSC said.

FERC granted a certificate to Millennium in September 2002. Millennium, which has been stalled for years, asked FERC in August 2005 to amend its 2002 certificate so it can build its pipeline in two sections. The amended application is still pending before FERC.

Phase 1 would transport up to 500,000 Dth/d of gas 186 miles from Corning, NY, to Ramapo, NY, and would run along an existing right-of-way and replace and upgrade a Columbia Gas Transmission pipeline. Upstream supply would come from a several sources, including a 250,000 Dth/d expansion of National Fuel Gas' Empire State Pipeline system that includes an 83-mile extension from Rochester, NY, to Corning.

The second phase of the project would extend the proposed Millennium line from Ramapo to New York City, and would include a controversial Hudson River crossing (see Daily GPI, May 10, 2002).

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