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Columbia Gulf Files First Expansion Since 1971

Columbia Gulf Files First Expansion Since 1971

Columbia Gulf Transmission filed a request with FERC last week for authorization to expand its mainline for the first time since 1971. The filing requests authorization to provide 315,000 Dth/d of firm capacity to 19 shippers, 14 of which will be new to the system. Most of the service requests would be provided with existing capacity. An expansion project would increase Columbia's current throughput capability by 100,000 Dth/d through the addition of new compression.

The expansion is necessary to meet the "demand pull" that's expected in Columbia Energy's market area in the Mid-Atlantic states and in the Northeast, said Catherine G. Abbott, president and CEO of Columbia Gas Transmission and Columbia Gulf Transmission, at the Process Gas Consumers' third annual conference in Baltimore, MD, last Thursday.

The company is projecting a demand hike of 4.2 Bcf/d in the Northeast by 2010, with more than half going to the electric sector. This would be on top of the 3 Bcf/d increase in gas usage in the Northeast during the last decade, Abbott told industrial gas customers.

An open season late last year for Columbia's Mainline '99 expansion yielded requests for 315,000 Dth/d. About 12,000 Dth/d that was turned back by existing shippers also will be used to serve the new requests. Columbia Gulf President Terrance L. McGill said 63% of the capacity was awarded to marketers, 27% was awarded to local distributors and 10% went to industrial customers.

Columbia said it plans to expand the 2,400-mile system through a two-phase installation. About 35,000 hp of compression will be added in 1999 and 15,000 hp in 2000 at existing compressor stations located at Inverness and Corinth, MS, and at Hampshire, TN.

Columbia Gulf's mainline system stretches from Rayne, in South Central Louisiana to the Kentucky-West Virginia border, south of Ashland, KY. It connects Gulf Coast supplies to markets in the South, as well as the Midwest, East and Northeast areas of the United States.

Rocco Canonica; Susan Parker, Baltimore, MD

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