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Aitken Creek Storage Expansion Awaits Alliance Pipeline

Aitken Creek Storage Expansion Awaits Alliance Pipeline

Unocal Canada Limited received approval from the British Columbia Ministry of Energy and Mines to increase the maximum storage capacity of the Aitken Creek gas storage reservoir. Approval allows Unocal Canada to initially increase working gas capacity at Aitken by 20% to 48 Bcf as early as the second quarter. Ultimately, working gas capacity could increase to 80 Bcf, double the current capacity.

The expansion anticipates a connection with the planned Alliance Pipeline, which is expected to begin deliveries from western Canada to the U.S. Midwest in 2000. Aitken Creek is in northeast British Columbia and is connected to the Westcoast Transmission System. Gas from the facility currently serves markets in western Canada and the U.S. Pacific Northwest. Services offered include firm storage, parking, loaning, and other marketing services. Unocal Canada is operator and owns a 93.79% working interest in the facility. The remaining interest is owned by Amoco Canada Petroleum Co. Ltd.

According to Jim Avioli, Unocal Canada manager of natural gas marketing, current sustainable withdrawal capability is about 270 MMcf/d with peak capability of about 400 MMcf/d. Injection capability is about 270 MMcf/d. Post expansion, sustainable withdrawal capability will be about 320 to 325 MMcf/d with peak at 400 to 450 MMcf/d. Injection capability will remain about 270 MMcf/d Westcoast doesn't have available capacity to fill the additional storage, so Unocal Canada will most likely wait for Alliance to come on line; however, Avioli said the company is examining other options to bring the project on line before Alliance. "We haven't really put the hard sell out for the expansion. We've got the approval to do it."

Joe Fisher, Houston

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