San Diego-based Sempra Energy's pipeline/storage business announced Tuesday it has begun service in Cavern 4 at its Bay Gas Storage facility in Alabama, adding 5 Bcf of working capacity that is fully subscribed, according to the operator. Construction of a fifth cavern at the salt dome natural gas storage facility is under way.

Early last year Sempra Pipeline & Storage offered up to 2.5 Bcf of firm storage service from a pipeline and facility expansion that would enable firm receipts and deliveries on the Gulfstream Natural Gas System at Coden, AL, using the Bay Storage facility to provide at least part of the capacity (see Daily GPI, March 19).

Sempra Pipeline & Storage CEO George Liparidis called the Bay Gas facility a "very productive" asset for providing services to the Florida market and broader markets throughout the Southeast. The latest moves expand Sempra's ability to serve those markets, said Liparidis, noting that his company's midstream asset development program is continuing to advance.

Sempra continues to stress the "strategically valuable location" of Bay Gas with what it calls "exceptional access" to some high-demand markets across Florida and the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions. The storage project's interconnections include Florida Gas Transmission, Gulf South and Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line.

Bay Gas expansion activity follows the successful startup in August of Mississippi Hub in Simpson County, MS (see Daily GPI, Aug. 30) as a high-deliverability salt dome natural gas storage facility owned and operated by the Sempra pipeline/storage unit.

Sempra said the ongoing construction of Cavern 5 at Bay Gas should lead to an in-service date in 2012, adding yet another 5 Bcf of working gas capacity. That will bring the facility's total capacity to 21.4 Bcf.

Sempra obtained Bay Storage as part of a $510 million purchase of EnergySouth last year (see Daily GPI, July 29, 2008). The salt dome underground storage facility is located 40 miles north of Mobile and operated as the easternmost storage facility in the Gulf region serving the growing Florida market.

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