Faced with weather-related construction delays, the $600 million, 302-mile interstate Bison natural gas pipeline's start has been delayed until some time in January, TransCanada Corp. said. The 30-inch diameter pipeline bids to bring Powder River Basin supplies to the Midwest.

A TransCanada unit is postponing the in-service date for the interstate gas pipeline until mid-January. Bison originally was slated to be placed in service last month.

Initiated last year on a fast-track basis at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Bison obtained FERC's approval in less than a year's time last spring (see Daily GPI, April 13).

When opened next year, Bison and its related pipeline system facilities will extend northeastward from the Dead Horse Region near Gillette, WY, through southeastern Montana and southwestern North Dakota where it interconnects with Northern Border Pipeline Co.'s system near the existing pipeline's Compressor Station No. 6 in Morton County, ND.

Bison's design capacity is approximately 477 MMcf/d with potential expandability of up to approximately 1 Bcf/d, according to TransCanada.

Bison holds capacity commitments for 10 years each with four shippers: Anadarko Energy Services Co. (250 MMcf/d); Williams Gas Marketing Inc. (100 MMcf/d); Minnesota Energy Resources Corp. (51.706 MMcf/d); and MidAmerican Energy Co. (5 MMcf/d). Anadarko Energy is the project's foundation shipper (see Daily GPI, May 4, 2009).

Anadarko's commitment was made a year before TransCanada decided to merge Bison with its larger, longer Pathfinder Pipeline project. At the time the Bison project was designated as TransCanada's conduit for pursuing all of its eastbound Rockies development. The thought was that the Bison footprint was expandable to the 1 Bcf/d capacity.

Pathfinder was originally proposed by TransCanada as a 625-mile, 36- and 42-inch diameter interstate pipeline that would transport gas northeast from Meeker, CO, through Montana to the Northern Border system in North Dakota for delivery into the Iowa and Chicago-area markets. As with Bison, the anticipated in-service date was late 2010.

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