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BC Gas Reviving Southern Crossing Project

BC Gas Reviving Southern Crossing Project

BC Gas said last week it will file another application with the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) for its previously denied Southern Crossing Project and said a recent open season garnered interest exceeding available capacity.

In April, the BCUC voted down the $350 million pipeline that would have paralleled the BC Gas mainline in southern British Columbia between Yahk and Oliver (See NGI April 13, 1998). The commission said "projected growth in demand from residential and commercial customers alone on the BC Gas system were not sufficient to justify the large capital expenditures at this time." However, BC Gas was ordered to look into marrying the seasonal and peaking needs of its customers with those of new thermal generation plants of BC Hydro.

BC Gas said it is pursuing possibilities for third-party revenue, including BC Hydro or others. Open season respondents could be suppliers of gas to BC Hydro, BC Gas and other purchasers in British Columbia. Once BC Gas contracts capacity to BC Hydro, it could purchase some of the capacity back during peak demand periods for gas.

Northwest Pipeline and Westcoast Energy each have projects in the works to compete with Southern Crossing and serve the Pacific Northwest. Northwest's Columbia River Gorge project could ultimately add 250,000 Dth/d from the Stanfield interconnect with Pacific Gas Transmission through the Columbia River Gorge to delivery points on Northwest between Stanfield and Sumas.

Westcoast is holding an open season for expansion of its system between producing fields of northeastern British Columbia, production areas in northern Alberta, and downstream markets in British Columbia.

And TransCanada subsidiary ANG Pipeline is proposing a 550 MMcf/d pipeline across southern British Columbia providing Alberta producers with direct access to growing markets in British Columbia and the U.S. Pacific Northwest. Scheduled for completion in November 2000, the Kootenay Pacific Pipeline will be a 348-mile, 20-inch line from the ANG system near Yahk to the BC Lower Mainland at Huntingdon/Sumas. If markets are sufficient, ANG plans to file an application with the National Energy Board in the third quarter for approval to begin construction in May. The estimated cost of the project is C$530 million.

Four liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage projects also have been proposed to meet peak-shaving demand in the region. Proposals have come from BC Gas, Pacific Gas Transmission, Westcoast Gas Services, and Williams International Pipeline. The BCUC has said it favors three of the alternatives for meeting the region's demand. It prefers the LNG options (considered collectively), Northwest's expansion, and the Southern Crossing project.

Joe Fisher, Houston

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