The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) on Thursday unanimously approved a 21 Bcf expansion of the Wild Goose Storage LLC independent underground natural gas storage facility in Northern California. As part of the decision, a major intrastate transmission pipeline connection with a nearby compressor station was also authorized.

Commissioner Timothy Alan Simon, the lead regulator for natural gas matters, praised the action as a "critical step forward" for the state's natural gas operations, expanding the ability for physical hedging of gas supplies.

Wild Goose, a subsidiary of Niska Gas Storage, currently operates with 29 Bcf of capacity, allowing injection of up to 450 MMcf/d and withdrawal of 700 MMcf/d. The expansion will increase the facility's capabilities to 50 Bcf of capacity, up to 650 MMcf/d of injection and 1.2 Bcf/d of withdrawal.

Regulators noted that the expansion will require Wild Goose to drill up to 11 wells. But it also will allow increased use of four existing storage reservoirs. An above-ground facility will get additional compression and dehydration equipment.

The expanded above-ground facilities will be interconnected with two Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) intrastate pipelines (Line 400/401) near the Delevan Compressor Station in Colusa County.

Known as the phase 3 expansion, the Wild Goose changes will permit the offering of both baseload and short-term storage services at market-based rates. The CPUC action requires PG&E to interconnect with the expanded facilities.

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