NiSource Gas Transmission & Storage (NGT&S) is holding a nonbinding open season to determine interest in expansion of its Crawford storage field south of Columbus, OH, to serve Ohio, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast markets.

NiSource could add as much as 15 Bcf of working capacity and additional firm, no-notice transportation capacity of up to 250,000 Dth/d. The additional pipeline capacity could be to markets of affiliate Columbia Gas Transmission west of the Lanham Compressor Station and to third-party interconnects with Texas Eastern Transmission (Zone M-2), Tennessee Gas Pipeline (Zone 4) and Dominion Transmission upstream of South Point. NGT&S said it would consider other delivery points upon request.

"Recognizing the diverse needs of the marketplace, NGT&S is offering customers the opportunity to tailor this storage service to their particular needs by allowing them to elect withdrawal service ranging between 30 and 120 days and daily peak deliverability in excess of 250 MDth/d," the company said.

The expansion could grow the Crawford field to 41 Bcf of working capacity from its current 26 Bcf. The field is about 30 miles southeast of Columbus in Fairfield and Hocking counties. It is the largest of Columbia's storage fields.

The expansion was being contemplated because of market demand and also additional gas supplies entering the region from the Rocky Mountains. The pipeline expansion would be accomplished with the addition of new infrastructure. The new facilities could be in service to allow for storage injections beginning 2Q2009 with associated firm transportation commencing 4Q2009. Market demand will dictate the final scope of the expansion. Capacity will be offered at market-based rates. Transportation will be offered under Columbia Gas Transmission's recourse tariff rates.

"With the influx of new gas supplies from the Rockies, Appalachia and the Gulf Coast, Columbia Gas' storage and pipeline assets in Ohio are perfectly positioned to match supply push projects with the needs of downstream markets," said Chief Commercial Officer Jimmy Thomas.

NiSource's Columbia Gas Transmission operates 37 storage storage fields with nearly 265 Bcf of working gas capacity, making it one of the country's largest operators of underground gas storage. The Crawford project is just the latest in a spate of activity by NiSource.

NiSource and partner Piedmont Natural Gas placed phase one of the $175 million Hardy Storage Project in service April 1 (see Daily GPI, April 3). Operated by Columbia Transmission and located in the Mid-Atlantic market area, the Hardy field will provide 12 Bcf of capacity and 176,000 Dth/d of deliverability.

The $175 million Eastern Market Expansion Project is an incremental expansion of two Columbia Gas Transmission storage fields and pipeline capacity. It was filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on May 2 (see Daily GPI, May 4). In 2009 the Eastern Market Expansion will provide an additional 6 Bcf of capacity and 97,000 Dth/d of deliverability. All available capacity has been contracted for 15-year terms, the company said.

The Millennium Pipeline Project has received the required permits and is on track for a 4Q2008 operations start date (see Daily GPI, Dec. 22, 2006). Developed with subsidiaries of KeySpan and DTE Energy, Millennium will provide 525,000 Dth/d of capacity to New York markets. The project is supported by long-term contracts.

For more information on the Crawford open season, call Brian Adams, (703) 227-3214; John McNamara, (713) 267-4737 or Mark Morris, (713) 267-4731. The deadline for submissions of interest is 4:30 p.m. EDT June 21.

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