Responding to producers' calls for increased pipeline capacity tapping Appalachian gas, Columbia Gas Transmission Corp. (TCO) is conducting a nonbinding open season and reverse open season through 4:30 p.m. ET July 6 for added compression to push more gas out of Kentucky and West Virginia into the market area.

"The area is highly constricted and we're trying to get more gas out," said Columbia spokesman Kelly Merritt. The project will be tapping new supplies in existing fields rather than greenfield areas." Merritt said the amount of compression will depend on the interest in the open season. Transportation customers will also have the option of turning back capacity in the reverse portion of the open season.

The project would increase transportation from Market Area 19 upstream of TCO's Lanham Compressor Station. This capacity would enable shippers to move natural gas from receipt points on some or all of the following pipelines:

Line PM-3 in its entirety in Letcher, Perry, Knott, Floyd, and Pike counties, KY; Line PM-17 in its entirety in Pike County, KY; Line PM-30 in its entirety in Floyd and Pike counties, KY; Line PM-83 in its entirety in Floyd and Pike counties, KY; Line P in its entirety in Wayne County, WV, and Floyd, Johnson,and Lawrence counties, KY; Line KA in its entirety in Pike County, KY and Mingo, Wyoming, Raleigh, Mercer, Summers, Monroe, and Greenbrier counties, WV; Line SM-116 in its entirety in Mingo, Logan, Lincoln, and Cabell counties, WV; Line BM-74 in its entirety in Cabell and Wayne counties, WV; Line S in Cabell, Lincoln, and Putnam counties, WV; and Line SM-123 in its entirety in Mingo and Wyoming counties, WV.

In addition to these pipelines, in the open season TCO will also consider receipt point requests on lateral pipelines connected to the pipelines.

TCO anticipates there will be two separate recourse rates for the proposed service; one rate would apply to service utilizing receipt point(s) on the low-pressure pipelines of the Appalachian system and another rate would apply to receipt point(s) on the high-pressure Appalachian pipelines. In addition, the pipeline will consider negotiated rate alternatives to the recourse rates for this project.

In its open season notice Friday TCO said it is looking for 15-year contracts under its recourse rates or will consider five-year terms or greater under negotiated rates. Depending on the response to the open season TCO will determine the extent of the added compression and the flow at various receipt points, allocating capacity pro rata if necessary.

The projected in-service date of the expansion facilities could be as early as November 2009, subject to the receipt of all necessary regulatory, environmental, and right-of-way authorizations.

Those interested in receiving an open season and/or credit form or exploring the possibility of a negotiated rate may contact either Tom Brasselle, (304) 357-3276, tbrasselle@nisource.com; or Bud Yeager, (304) 357-2880, jyeager@nisource.com.

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