Independence Delays Service Until November 2000

The number of proposed major pipeline projects on schedule for service in winter 1999 continues to dwindle, with Independence Pipeline telling FERC last week it plans to delay service by a year until November 2000. The pipeline's sponsors said the $678 million project will be delayed because of the lengthy construction time required. FERC still has not approved the project.

Markets for the 400-mile pipeline system also have been slow to develop, but sponsors said they recently executed an additional precedent agreement with Eastern Energy Marketing for 99,000 Dth/d of firm transportation capacity, bringing subscriptions to nearly 70% of the pipeline's 916 MMcf/d capacity.

The partners in Independence - Coastal Corp's ANR Pipeline, Williams' Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line and National Fuel Gas - said the downstream market line, called MarketLink, which is being built by Transco, also would be delayed by a year. Transco expects to file an application for the project this month.

The upstream line, SupplyLink, which is being built by ANR to provide access to new and existing Canadian supply entering the U.S. marketplace, should be in service on schedule in November 1999 because required facilities are less extensive, ANR said.

Independence's delay follows similar announcements by sponsors of the 2.3 Bcf/d Alliance Pipeline and the 60 MMcf/d Phase I portion of Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline. Last month, Alliance announced it probably would not be in service until winter 2000 because of the regulatory battle at Canada's National Energy Board. And Maritimes told FERC its only subscriber, an affiliated marketer, on the Phase I project decided to defer its transportation agreement by a year because it had no markets to serve.

Rocco Canonica

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