Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline is holding an open season June 8-Aug. 31 for the system's second major expansion, named Phase V, and it would appear that there is a wealth of potential supply that could take new capacity on the 882-mile (1,420-kilometer) pipeline in the 2010-2012 timeframe.

"Maritimes is ideally situated to capture emerging offshore, onshore and LNG [liquefied natural gas] supply sources," said Maritimes President Doug Bloom. "Our system delivers to some of the most dynamic natural gas markets in eastern Canada and the northeastern United States."

Potential customers will be asked to outline their energy needs, desired length of contract, receipt and delivery points, as well as the status of upstream gas supply commitments and regulatory permits required for facilities they plan to construct. "Expansion of our mainline, the backbone of the Maritimes system, allows us to add capacity in phases or through multiple discrete projects," said Bloom.

According to a Maritimes spokesman, potential sources of regasified LNG that could ship on an expanded Maritimes & Northeast include the currently mothballed Bear Head LNG (see Daily GPI, Feb. 13); Maple (formerly Keltic) LNG, a project that includes a petrochemical complex (see Daily GPI, Feb. 27); and the three LNG terminals proposed for Maine's Quoddy Bay: Downeast LNG (see Daily GPI, April 12); Quoddy Bay LNG (see Daily GPI, April 9); and Calais LNG (see Daily GPI, Dec. 20, 2005). The pipeline is slated to be connected to the Canaport LNG project (see Daily GPI, May 18) in New Brunswick and additional gas volumes from future expansion of Canaport could move on Maritimes.

As for traditional supplies, offshore the additional Maritimes capacity could serve EnCana Corp.'s Deep Panuke project, a currently dormant field off the Nova Scotian coast (see Daily GPI, May 10). A decision on whether EnCana may ramp up the project is expected this summer. Additionally, regulators have promised to create a friendlier environment for exploration and production off of Nova Scotia's coast (see Daily GPI, April 20).

Onshore production that could be served by the new Maritimes capacity could come from Corridor Resources Inc.'s McCully field in New Brunswick (see Daily GPI, Feb. 9, 2006). Coalbed methane development also shows potential in Eastern Canada but is not as mature as that in Western Canada.

Maritimes carries gas production from the Sable Island Offshore Energy Project. With the addition of a compression deck to the project a Maritimes spokesman told NGI Thursday that volumes from Sable Island "are looking pretty healthy."

As for potential shippers on the demand side, Maritimes spokesman Steve Ranking said power generators, as well as local gas distribution companies (LDC) in the Maritimes and New England are possibilities, noting that the LDC market is developing in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

As a result of the open season, Maritimes will be able to verify the timing and magnitude of demand for new capacity. This will determine the potential design of future expansions for which Maritimes may proceed with project development activities, possibly leading to regulatory filings in 2008.

Maritimes & Northeast is owned by affiliates of Spectra Energy (77.53%), Emera Inc. (12.92%) and ExxonMobil Corp. (9.55%). Maritimes is headquartered in Halifax, NS, with an additional office in Waltham, MA.

During a first-quarter earnings conference call in May, Spectra CEO Fred J. Fowler said the company would spend more than $1 billion on growth projects in 2007, including Maritimes. He said the projects include a doubling of capacity on the U.S. portion of Maritimes & Northeast pipeline to 830 MMcf/d and connection to the Canaport terminal at a cost of $320 million. This is the Maritimes Phase IV expansion. The LNG terminal should be on stream by November 2008. Spectra has a firm contract for 730 MMcf/d of the capacity (see Daily GPI, May 9).

For more information on the open season visit www.mnpp.com.

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